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Professors Faraj and Vaast's Insight Grant Ranked First by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Published: 27 Sep 2013

Desautels Professors Samer Faraj and Emmanuelle Vaast’s Insight Grant to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), entitled: "Complex Collaboration in Communities of Innovation," was ranked 1st out of 90 applications in Committee 435-3C and was awarded $189,409 in the competition year 2012-2013.  

With the overall objective of gaining a deeper understanding of open innovation, Profs Faraj and Vaast’s research focuses on how online communities focused on innovation create, share, and evolve knowledge artifacts. Specifically, the grant will explore the development, evolution, and knowledge dynamics in a Community of Innovation centered on an open-source Electronic Medical Record (EMR) named OSCAR. This community is primarily Canadian, has been in existence for a decade, and has developed an EMR that is rapidly diffusing (currently used by over 1500 Canadian doctors to follow over a million patients). The OSCAR EMR is a freely available open-source software and is gaining market share against commercial products typically costing $25,000 per year per user. Given the complexity of such software, the mission-critical nature of patient records for solving Canadian and world health issues, and the fact that the vast majority of users (family doctors) are not computer savvy, this success is unusual and significant. The research contributes theoretically by exploring the knowledge exchanges and innovation dynamics in these Communities of Innovation that involve very different groups of participants (e.g., doctors, programmers, nurses, administrators, private firms). For practitioners, this study will shed light on an important class of innovation communities, ones where Canada is a leader and where the innovation outcomes are helping computerize healthcare in Canada.

SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports postsecondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. The SSHRC Insight program aims to support and foster excellence in social sciences and humanities research intended to deepen, widen and increase our collective understanding of individuals and societies, as well as to inform the search for solutions to societal challenges. Committee 435-3C covers grant applications in Canada on the topics of business, management and related fields.  

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