OTTAWA, ON, July 20, 2011, Ottawa — The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, a collaborative research project of seven Ottawa-based organizations, announced today that it has been selected as one of only 11 projects worldwide to receive an IBM Centennial Grant. The study was also the only Canadian project selected out of the nearly 100 projects that applied for funding under this international competition designed to celebrate IBM’s 100th anniversary and to align with their smarter planet agenda. The grant includes $75,000 in funding as well as in-kind support of IT equipment. Throughout the coming year, a team of approximately 75 IBM employees will also volunteer their knowledge and skills to the project.

The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study, one of the world’s most comprehensive databases of its kind, provides a wide-ranging and detailed map of the health and well-being of Ottawa residents and the neighbourhoods in which they live. This clear and comprehensive information about the needs of Ottawa and its residents enables policymakers, governments, service providers and other community organizations to make informed decisions about how to best serve the community. With the IBM Centennial Grant funding and support, the research team will expand and update data sources, further analyze the information, and more widely share the results through an enhanced and interactive website.

Elizabeth Kristjansson, Associate Professor, Psychology and Michael Sawada, Associate Professor, Geography at the University of Ottawa are the study’s research leaders. “We are thrilled that the study earned this prestigious award, cementing our already strong partnership with IBM,” said Professor Kristjansson. “It will enable our team to expand the study’s database of key neighbourhood indicators of health and social progress and to take this research to the next level. Our goal is to transform this rich resource of information into intelligence that our partner organizations can use in their work.”

The partners in the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study are United Way Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health, the University of Ottawa, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, and the City of Ottawa. The partners contribute resources and expertise toward the ongoing development of the study’s comprehensive neighbourhood profiles. In addition, as of today’s announcement, IBM will be represented on the project’s steering committee.

United Way Ottawa submitted the successful application on behalf of the partners and will manage the financial and licensing agreements with IBM. “Today’s announcement speaks to the changing dynamics we are seeing in the way community development work is accomplished,” said Michael Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Ottawa. “By bringing these partners together from academia, social services, government and business, we are leveraging each sector’s expertise to ensure we have the greatest impact and enable positive change in Ottawa’s many neighbourhoods.”

“The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study is an indispensable tool for supporting social services, healthcare and many other key services for our community,” said Alex Munter, Chief Executive Officer, Champlain Local Health Integration Network. “The information will be pivotal to our work in bringing communities and service providers together.”

“The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study has already enhanced the way City Departments like Ottawa Public Health and Planning work with communities to better understand their needs,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This funding announcement will also create greater insight for City staff and community leaders to improve access to programs and services, respond to demographic changes and develop innovative partnerships.”

The IBM Centennial Grants are part of the company’s worldwide initiative to build a smarter planet. IBM provided a total of $12 million in grants, including funding and in-kind contributions. Of the 98 organizations that submitted applications, four were by Canadian organizations. Recipients of these grants are from Austria, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, India, Singapore, Turkey and the United States.

For more information, please contact:

United Way Ottawa
Barry Keegan, Manager, Media Relations
Phone: 613-228-6709; Mobile: 613-294-8128
E-mail: Website:

Carrie Bendzsa, Manager, External Communications
Phone:613-356-5917 Mobile: 613-796-3880 E-mail: Website:

University of Ottawa
Maria Scopelliti, Media Relations Officer
Phone: 613-562-5800 ext. 2529; Mobile: 613-793-7361 Email: Website: