Memorial is missing a mobilizer

The last time we ran into David Yetman he was Manager of Knowledge Mobilization for the Harris Centre which provides KMb services to Memorial and its local communities.  We blogged about him last October as Memorial and York demonstrated KMb leadership at SSHRC’s KIS/Clusters meeting.  David and the Harris Centre are known nationally for yaffle which has also graced this blog. Yaffle is a tool that has profiles and projects of Memorial faculty and local community and seeks to broker relationships between the two… kind of like Lava Life for research (thank you Kathleen Bloom).

Now David has moved to Toronto to become the Director, Programs and Knowledge Transfer for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. CIFAR “incubates ideas that revolutionize the international research community and change the lives of people all over the world. Through its research programs, CIFAR provides leading scholars with the time, direction, freedom and inspiration to pursue fundamental questions concerning society, technology, and the very nature of humanity and the universe.” Watch their video here.  Last year CIFAR started thinking about developing a KMb strategy and recruited David Yetman to be the inaugural Director for this strategy.

While exploring their second home town, David and his wife Corina met with ResearchImpact York’s David Phipps (the other David from the KIS/Cluster meeting) took them out for brunch.  Their visit included the Jersey Boys, The Leafs, the Royal York, St. Lawrence Market and a whole lot of Toronto.

Q. What do you like most about Toronto?
Corina (quoted with permission): “I loves a lots a shoppin'”
David: the entertainment, the quality of shows and sports

Q. What’s the one thing you wish you knew about Toronto
Corina: where the safest places in Toronto are (Corina grew up in a Newfoundland town of 250 people)
David: where are the good neighbourhoods (to live, to visit)

Q. What concerns you most about this change in your life?
Corina: missing David
David: understanding the new culture (of CIFAR); leaving an established track record (at Memorial)

Q. What looking forward to most about this change in your life?
Corina: visiting Toronto and doing some traveling
David: professionally this is a tremendous opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the world; personally there is access to so much of great quality in Toronto

In David’s absence, The Harris Centre and Memorial continue to be a valued part of ResearchImpact and we welcome Jennifer Adams Warburton (Operations Manager at The Harris Centre) to the national network of ResearchImpact knowledge brokers.  Jennifer, welcome to ResearchImpact.  David, welcome to Toronto.  And CIFAR… let’s talk about ResearchImpact.

‘What Works’ in Homelessness Program Evaluation? Ask York and UVic Researchers!

In the summer of 2009, as part of the initial grant for KM pilot projects at York University and University of Victoria, the two institutions developed a competitive, adjudicated process for Faculty Incentive Grants for teams of researchers and their partners to address research issues with relevant public policy and/or professional practice implications. Here is a summary of one of these projects:

Drs. Stephen Gaetz (York) and Bernie Pauly (UVic) were Principal Investigators on a project designed to establish a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of programs that address ways of ending homelessness.  Their project activity included research and development of an evaluative framework, which resulted in a one-day workshop held on September 24, 2009 at York.  The workshop focused on reviewing the project findings, as well as discussing next steps.

The project team identified the following outcomes:

  • Completion of two literature reviews
  • Building research relationships between the two institutions
  • Strengthened links between academic researchers and community partners
  • Creation of new knowledge (evaluation, best-practices, KM framework)
  • Future KM planning in homelessness program evaluation
  • Completion of an application to the Homeless Partnering Strategy for October 2009
  • Supporting local program evaluation efforts through information sharing from literature reviews

Despite the tight timelines, the deliverables along with strengthened and (in some cases) expanded relationships have made this project a success.  In the words of the PI’s,

“We were successful in creating a functioning research team and creating the knowledge of program evaluation and best practices.”

“The two literature reviews were useful not only as a process for learning, but a key outcome are the summaries of this important work.  York is preparing a final report summarizing evaluation practices and UVic is developing a report highlighting best practices in ending homelessness and evaluation in the homelessness sector”.

Youth and Mental Health: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination through Community-Informed Curriculum

In the summer of 2009, as part of the initial grant for KM pilot projects at York University and University of Victoria, the two institutions developed a competitive, adjudicated process for Faculty Incentive Grants for teams of researchers and their partners to address research issues with relevant public policy and/or professional practice implications. Here is a summary of one of these projects:

Drs. Megan Davies (York) and Anne Marshall (UVic) were Principal Investigators on a project to provide tools and processes to help young people address the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health concerns and treatment. Building a new partnership with the Greater Victoria School District #61, the research team engaged in consultations to help conceptualize the project deliverables and support curriculum lesson plan development.

The project team also have chosen to integrate their deliverables into a new web site ( to support broader access to the curriculum modules that were developed.

The outcomes of this project are:
• Four cross curricular teaching units with activities and resources aimed at Grades 7 to 12
• Development of
• New and strengthened relationships between the research team and amongst educators and mental health treatment and consumer groups

In identifying lessons learned, there were the clear challenges of working across geography and disciplines and with several partners… However, there was one additional outcome the project team articulated,

“An unanticipated, but positive outcome was the inclusion of the original artwork created by a sixteen year-old secondary school student. William Willis’ drawings do much to make this site visually appealing, and seem entirely appropriate for a youth-centred project such as this”.

The project team continues its development, as they are engaged in dissemination of research finding, pursuing additional funding to further resource development and expand the program internationally. They are also pursuing the integration of these materials into other provincial curricula and international web sites.

ResearchImpact (York) awarded over $50,000 to work with York Region

KM at York’s strong 2009 finish bodes well for 2010

On December 23, 2009, the KM Unit at York University was awarded two CIHR grants in their Meetings, Planning, and Dissemination Grant competition. One grant partners York University’s Lamarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution with Kinark Child and Family Services and the York Region Children’s Aid Society. David Phipps from ResearchImpact (York University) and Sandra Cunning (Clinical Director, Research & Evaluation, Kinark Child and Family Services), along with researchers from the Lamarsh Centre were co-investigators on the application. We were awarded $39,950 for a grant titled “Using social networking to enable KT collaboration and dissemination”.

The grant will use the Kinark/Lamarsh/CAS partnership project on teen pregnancy and teen mothers in York Region to pilot social media tools provided by O3 (see our blog on October 13) as a tool for collaboration and dissemination. Based on learnings in this pilot initiative, York’s KM Unit will roll out these social media support services to other large-scale research and KM projects. The grant was ranked first in Canada in this competition. One reviewer commented, “Rationale very strong for need to share knowledge regarding available tools, particularly given the IT interests of the next generation.”

We are looking forward to working with our partners in York Region to use these tools to increase the sharing of research information to help our partners make informed decisions.

David Phipps and Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way of York Region, were also awarded $14,979 for an events grant titled, “Mobilizing the Best Practices of Institutional KT Services for Health and Society.” Through this grant, ResearchImpact partner universities and their local United Ways in St. John’s, Montreal, Saskatoon, and Victoria will meet with York and the United Way of York Region to learn from each others’ best practices in KM. “It is important that community agencies are working from the best knowledge available so that they can make well-informed decisions,” says Daniele. “York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit provides an avenue for community organizations to tap into the research expertise available in the University. It makes research, as well as researchers and graduate students, accessible to non-academic decision-makers.”

Thanks to all of our supporters, collaborators and KM stakeholders for a great 2009 and we look forward to working with you in 2010.

From Local to National to International – KM is in the News!

ResearchImpact universities were in the news as we ended 2009 and started 2010.

On December 23, 2009 York’s work on Green Economic Transformation with partners in South Simcoe was featured in the Bradford West Gwillimbury Topic and received wider readership in Metroland. You can read the whole article here. ResearchImpact (York) brokered relationships between a researcher (Gerde Wekerle, FES), 2 graduate students and Nottawasaga Futures which is hosting the graduate students who are funded through the MITACS Accelerate program. According to one of the students, Susan Swail, “The plan is to develop a summary of best practices or benchmarks to work toward in creating sustainable communities by focusing on economic development that considers the triple bottom line” (economic, social, environmental impacts). These best practices will inform green decisions made by local businesses and local governments. Taking a lesson from ResearchImpact (Memorial), this is ResearchImpact (York)’s first move into regional economic development which is the domain of the Harris Centre at Memorial. We will seek to build on this success with Nottawasaga Futures and partners in the South Simcoe Economic Alliance.

And speaking of ResearchImpact (Memorial and York)… our two KM operations were featured in an article by the Globe and Mail’s Elizabeth Church on how York University and Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador are making research and researchers accessible through on line formats. We have previously blogged about York’s Research Snapshots and Memorial’s yaffle and now these tools made it into the national media with an article released on January 2, 2010. You can read the whole article “Web tools aim to open the gates to the ivory tower” and also join the readers who are commenting on the article.

Both of these stories were reported in Y File on January 5 and January 6.

And finally, ResearchImpact (Memorial) and yaffle were also featured in a story by the Washington DC based Chronicle of Higher Education on January 6, 2010. Part of the Chronicle’s Wired Campus series, the article was titled “Canadian University Creates Matchmaking Tool for Research”.

Such local, national and international press helps to grow the impact of ResearchImpact.

2009 – A lysande year for KM at York!

Certain milestones simply invite reflection; anniversaries, birthdays and the arrival of a new year are most obvious.  Never one to shy away from opportunities to reflect, I am pleased to share with you a retrospective look back at 2009 for the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University.  On behalf of the entire team, here at the KM Unit we are proud of the level of service and commitment we have provided to the research community here at York and to our project partners and collaborators outside of York.

While our data reflects growth and success over the past year (and stay tuned to Mobilize This! for more on this in 2010… but a teaser for you, we have had 1 million web hits from 2007- May 2009 and almost 1 million hits since!), our work is so more than the quantitative metrics of opportunities brokered, revenue generated from collaborative research and numbers of students engaged.  We are proud of the stories we have shared on Mobilize This! but we acknowledge they are not always our stories.  I would like to share with your two brief examples of our work in 2009, which is intended to shine a little light on us, but shine a very bright light on the work of York researchers and our non-academic collaborators, for it is these people who provide the energy needed to support this process of collaboration.

  • A York Knowledge Mobilization Peer to Peer Network – Did you know that at York University there are over 25 people who self-identify professional interests and responsibilities in KM?  As singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel said, you can blow out a candle but you cannot blow out a fire, to which, KM is generating incredible momentum across Canada and York is a recognized leader.  Working collectively, we have developed an action agenda here at York to share knowledge and build capacity – individually and collectively – around KM.
  • Student Interns (4 interns of the 19 graduate students engaged by KM), Community-Based Research Projects (26 of 48 collaborations in 2009 were community-driven), Major Collaborative Research Initiatives/Community-University Research Alliance projects (KM has supported three successful large-scale grants in 2009 worth $6 mil) – so what do these three all have in common (aside from the obvious)?  As evident by the data above, the KM Unit has helped support success for all three.  It is important to clarify our role; we are not the reason for the success, we are simply the brokers, matching the right people and providing the right information. As our KM Colleague, David Yetman at Memorial says, “KM is like the Ed Sullivan Show.  We set the stage but we have none of the talent”. It is a great feeling to support people who have the vision ad the talent to collaborate and utilize York expertise to help meet real world solutions.

In closing, if imitation is the greatest form of flattery then we are all blushing here in KM. Not only are colleagues from other Canadian universities seeking our input to inform their decisions about investing in KM support services, a delegation from Sweden visited the KM unit at York in October.  Some from that delegation are now considering developing services for KM which they call Kunskapsmobilisering.  Well, I think that is just lysande!

Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday and a healthy and prosperous 2010!

York Undergraduates are Mobilizing Knowledge for Regional Economic Development through Experiential Education

On December 10, six students in a fourth year Regional Economic Development course at York University presented their research findings to representatives from their community partner, the South Simcoe Economic Alliance. The opportunity to apply their skills to a real world problem came through one of the KM Unit’s sister offices on campus, the Experiential Education (EE) unit. York’s KM Unit has been pleased to collaborate with students from the EE program on previous projects and it was a pleasure to attend the  students’ final presentation.

The South Simcoe Economic Alliance (SSEA) is a dynamic partnership of three municipalities and Nottawasaga Futures: Township of Adjala-Tosorontio, Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, and Town of Innisfil (the South Simcoe region also includes New Tecumseh and Essa). This region is home to two multinational industries, Honda (automotive) and Baxter (pharmaceuticals) yet the lives of it citizens are also shaped through agriculture and many small and medium sized businesses. To realize the South Simcoe brand as “The Best of All Worlds”, SSEA was seeking:

  • guidance on attracting and retaining investment monies that will drive business growth and enhance the quality of life for the community
  • analysis on the recommendations and results of strategic/core activities arising from two background reports – ECAP and Competitive Analysis 2004
  • analysis of the SSEA website and benchmark it against other Canadian regional economic alliances

The students made a presentation and provided a written report and executive summary to SSEA. Valerie Ryan of Nottawasaga Futures said she “appreciated depth and clarity of recommendations from students. They were all very earnest and displayed a high level of integrity.” Valerie was joined by her Nottawasaga colleague Margo Cooney and Adjala-Tosorontio counselor Mary Brett.

They heard from the students that SSEA communities need to view economic development as an investment and expand budget allocation to support economic growth activities. It was recommended that South Simcoe take a leadership role in promoting the region to the Greater Toronto Area (with specific recommendations on transforming the SSEA website into a successful marketing tool) and that local economic developers could establish a partnership fund to leverage joint marketing initiatives. According to the students, SSEA could integrate programs and services to retain and attract business investment and accelerate job creation by developing employment parks that are serviced, readily available, and prominent to possible developers.

On of the students, Christina Kroner said that the EE experience “was a fantastic educational experience that brought our learning to life! The discussion that followed the presentation was very stimulating”.

Thanks to Geoff Webb and his team in the EE Office for remaining an excellent partner for York’s knowledge mobilization activities. York’s KM Unit has added to our growing relationship with SSEA by placing two KM Interns funded by the MITACS Accelerate program to assist in the development of the Nottawasaga Futures Green Transformation Program – stay tuned to Mobilize This! for more on that collaboration.

(l to r) Prof Frank Miele, Daniel Hernandez, Byung Mark Yoo, Tri Ngo, Xiaomin Liang, Ali Waris, Mary Brett, Christina Kroner, Margo Cooney Valerie Ryan

About Experiential Education: Experiential Education is a form of engaged learning that blends theory and coursework with practical, hands on experience. As part of their academic studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies students apply key course concepts to a wide variety of case studies and projects involving both profit and not-for-profit organizations. Faculty members serve as guides in the background, facilitating student engagement with EE opportunities that lend concrete credence to LA&PS’s innovative blend of liberal and professionally-relevant programs.  For more information please contact Geoff Webb, Manager of Experiential Education at

♫Let it Grow, Let it Grow, Let it Grow♫

ResearchImpact announces growth in research summaries, community access, outreach and new web tools.

Three recent stories speak to the continued development of KM services at York:

Research Summaries and Community Collaboration Stations

As reported in YFile on December 4, 2009, York announced the release of 40 additional ResearchSnapshot research summaries. This effectively doubles the number of research summaries available to inform decisions by York’s current and prospective research collaborators. See for a searchable database of ResearchSnapshots. YFile also reported on the opening of 2 Community Collaboration Stations. The KM Unit on the 2nd floor of the York Research Tower opened 2 work stations including York computers linked into the York Libraries. These two work stations will allow York research collaborators access to York research infrastructure. To reserve time on one of York’s Community Collaboration Station, please email .

Social Media tools for Knowledge Mobilization

ResearchImpact previously wrote about its involvement in the launch of ORION’s social media platform, O3. On December 1, 2009 ORION’s newsletter featured an interview with ResearchImpact’s David Phipps discussing the role social media can play to enhance KM services.

New Web Stories: KM in Action

We have also made some changes to the ResearchImpact web site. New content has been added throughout the site but we have launched a new section called KM in Action. This sections features stories of successful KM outcomes or research and research use that was enabled by KM services at ResearchImpact institutions including stories on KM interns (Free the Children, Toronto Wildlife Centre), York’s KM Expo and UVic’s CUExpo in 2008 plus others. Stay tuned for more videos and stories of KM in Action to come.

KM at Queen’s University

The Queen’s University Office of Research Services hosted David Phipps to speak about the road to an institutional KM Unit. David was joined by Yolande Chan, Monieson Centre, Queen’s School of Business, who is a holder of a Knowledge Impact and Society grant and has established a KM capacity focused on economic development in Eastern Ontario. David and Yolande jointly presented on their respective KM activities and began the start of a conversation to explore inter-institutional KM collaboration. Look for Yolande and her team on twitter @RuralKnowledge.

ResearchSnapshots, Community Collaboration Stations, increased utilization of social media, KM outreach and stories of KM in Action are testament to our commitment to excellence in knowledge mobilization by our faculty, graduate students and their research collaborators.

Watch us grow, Watch us grow, Watch us grow

ResearchImpact pleased to help Canadian Policy Research Networks provide an update on Social Innovation in Canada


In 2004 the Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) released their first review of Canadian social innovation titled “Social Innovation in Canada – how the non profit sector services Canadians and how it can serve them better”. On October 9, 2009 CPRN released its update called “Social Innovation in Canada – an update ” (no marks for snappy title!). Funded by SSHRC and authored by Mark Goldenberg (who authored the 2004 report) and colleagues with an introduction by CPRN President Sharon Manson Singer, the report presents a snapshot of Canadian social innovation through literature review, key informant interviews and provide recommendation for enhancing social innovation in Canada. York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation Stan Shapson and ResearchImpact’s David Phipps were pleased to be among the Canadian leaders engaged in social innovation to be interviewed by CPRN. York’s KM Unit and our ResearchImpact partners University of Victoria and Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador got a shout out from Mark Goldenberg and his team.

Sharon Manson Singer

Sharon Manson Singer

Key findings include:

  • The role of the non-profit sector in social innovation remains critical.
  • There is increasing acceptance of social innovation and a broadening of our understanding of the concept.
  • New forms of collaboration, both within and across sectors, new ways of working, and new models are emerging in the social innovation field.
  • Canada is lagging behind other countries on some fronts.
  • Further research, study, and work with respect to social innovation will be important in order to increase our understanding of it, including how to encourage it.
Stan Shapson

Stan Shapson

In addition to these key findings the report identifies that the for-profit sector has moved into the social innovation space in a way that was not seen in 2004. No surprises but the report identifies there is a lack of agreement on the definition of social innovation (read our previous blog post on this topic ). The report also offers 13 pages of references on social innovation providing a valuable resource for any reader. For ResearchImpact, key amongst these findings is the observation about new forms of collaboration. Since KM brokers relationships between researchers and their non-academic research stakeholders KM is itself a means of enabling those new forms of collaboration. We would add to CPRN’s report an examination of social media as an emerging infrastructure to increase transparency and thus enhance collaboration between social innovators (read the paper by Christian Dalsgaard and Morten Flate Paulsen on the use of social media in learning environments ).

David Phipps

David Phipps

“Social Innovation in Canada – an update” concludes by making six recommendations for governments, funders, universities, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and the social innovators who work towards a better world. The last of these recommendations is “Knowledge transfer strategies and their adoption by social innovators need to be profiled and shared. This would help build capacity for social innovation”. For ResearchImpact this final recommendation is critical. Social innovators are natural knowledge mobilizers brokering relationships between social need and innovation capacity. We need to get our stories out and heard so that our KM practices can be themselves evidence based. Thank you Sharon, Mark and the rest of your team for keeping the conversation on social innovation going….what’s next?

Read the full report here.

Still an overall outstanding opportunity – now everyone knows it

orionAs we previously wrote on July 21 O3, Ontario’s new social networking platform from ORION, is a great tool for developing and sustaining research based relationships and collaborations. On October 6, ORION hosted a launch of O3 at the Royal Ontario Museum (see ORION’s press release here). The group included academic colleagues from OCAD, Centennial College, UOIT and CAMH but York’s close relationship with Ontario’s broadband network was highlighted by attendance from Bob Gagne (CIO), Janet Murphy (ABEL), Allan Anderson (CONCERT) and Kay Li (Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies) who is working with the Sagittarius Project which is digitizing literary resources for Canadian students.

Mobilizing MindsAlso featured was Mobilizing Minds, the York co-lead project that links academic research to young adults for mental health.

But it was ResearchImpact that took the stage with ORION. David Phipps was invited to speak about how York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit is using O3 to enhance the connection of York’s research with partners from community, government and industrial organizations. As these collaborations produce research and knowledge mobilization outputs the collaborations will disseminate these outputs using ResearchImpact’s O3 site allowing the site to become a publicly accessible repository of knowledge mobilization products and tools. As reported by President Shoukri in the recent Research edition of York U magazine, “Knowledge mobilization is the intersection between researchers and research stakeholders; it’s where research and evidence help inform decisions about public policy, social programming and professional practice.” Essentially knowledge mobilization is a research dating service. Since 1/8 couple married in the US last year met using social media (watch a video about the social media revolution here), social media such as O3 can also support research based partnerships.

O3York’s KM Unit has been using O3 since its soft launch in May 2009 – visit for our O3 site. Mobilizing Minds is the first community engaged project to adopt O3. York also has created a research sub-community on O3 to support. If you are interested in exploring the features of O3 please contact Omar Mohammed, Manager of Research Computing ( or Krista Jensen ( if you are associated with ResearchImpact and/or knowledge mobilization. If you are interested in starting your own O3 community please contact Gary Hilson (

After the reception we got a tour of the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity and saw some of the interactive broadband communication tools used in this multi-media installation. We used this technology to speak to a paleontologist about digging up dinosaur bones and the extinction of dinosaurs. Dinosaurs evolved and died out over 165 million years. Social media has evolved in the span of only a few years but it is here to stay. For an idea of the speed of evolution of social media take 4 minutes and 22 seconds to watch the YouTube video above. THAT’s why you should care about social media.

O3 launch at ROM Oct 5

Gary Hilson demonstrating O3

After 12 years… I’m back!

Evidence & PolicyYou’re used to reading about York’s KM Unit and ResearchImpact in this blog as well as on Twitter @researchimpact. Occasionally we get some press that we don’t have to write like the article on KM in Canada done by University Affairs (April 7, 2008). Now we’ve passed peer review. In the August 2009 edition of Evidence & Policy, David Phipps and Stan Shapson published “Knowledge mobilisation builds local research collaborations for social innovation”. Read the abstract here. The paper positions York’s KM Unit amongst other initiatives to link research to practice including the ubiquitous technology transfer office but also offices such as the University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership Program (shout out to Angie Hart for her wonderful work). We ground our work in Lavis’ KTE methods of producer push, user pull and knowledge exchange [J. Health Serv. Res. Policy (2003) 8(3):165] and we extend those to include the co-production of knowledge.

From the paper, key lessons learned (ok, learning) include:

  • Angie HartmanDeveloping an institutional capacity to support KT (as institutions support technology commercialization) results in benefits to the institution, researchers, graduate students and research users
  • It takes time to break down community–university barriers and develop trust. Care must be taken to manage expectations on both sides.
  • The use of broadband technology to connect stakeholders over distance and over time can facilitate research utilization over a large geographical area
  • Community/government partners are earlier adopters of the services of the KT unit than faculty
  • Decision-maker partners must be engaged throughout the planning, funding, delivery and evaluation of the KT Unit

We are delighted that Evidence & Policy agreed to receive our article and that its peer reviewers recommended it for publication. Evidence & Policy is an important journal for KM. Kathleen Bloom“Evidence & Policy is the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to comprehensive and critical assessment of the relationship between research evidence and the concerns of policy makers and practitioners, as well as researchers” (Read more here). We are delighted because our work is hitting a wider audience. We’re delighted because of the validation this provides to our work. And I am delighted because this is my first peer reviewed publication in 12 years but I remain grounded because I recognize that recognition of peers is nice but the continued validation provided by partners is more valuable. As Kathleen Bloom wisely points out, “impact is determined by the user” not by academic peers.

York’s Special Research Edition of YorkU Magazine Looks Back on KM as We Look Forward to More

Stan ShapsonSam SchwartzLast week York published its special Research Edition of York U, the magazine of York University. This edition of YorkU features many stories of only a few of the great researchers we have at York but KM was up front and personal. KM was featured in the welcome from VP Research & Innovation, Stan Shapson and the introduction from Sam Schwartz, Chair of the Board Academic Resources Committee. President Shoukri linked KM right back to York’s mission statement illustrating the foundational role KM plays between the university and its non-academic research stakeholders, “Knowledge is of no benefit to anyone if it sits on a shelf. The greatest responsibility of the university is to mobilize that knowledge – to share it with the community and the world to help solve the problems we face, to improve competitiveness, to increase prosperity.”

KM at York started in 2005 with a CIHR/SSHRC Intellectual Property Mobilization grant to York and our KM partner University of Victoria. Working from two other SSHRC grants we have also received support from York’s Division of Vice-President Research & Innovation as well as important financial support from our partners, York Region District School Board and Regional Municipality of York. Money is nice but partnership is essential. United Way of York RegionOver the last 4 years we have worked with over 100 different community and government agencies who have worked with York faculty and graduate students. Some of our strong supporters have helped out on our Joint Advisory Committee and the United Way of York Region permeates our existence in a mutually supportive fashion.

President ShoukriYork’s KM Unit has brokered a number of relationships that continue to grow. President Shoukri mentioned some of these including a few we have previously written about such as Mobilizing Minds and a partnership between Stephen Gaetz’ Homeless Hub and Bernie Pauly of UVic. These are but two of the 155 partnerships we have brokered since 2005. That’s good but not good enough. We continue to work with local organizations seeking to engage with York research. We have a great relationship with the MITACS ACCELERATE Program to fund graduate interns working with decision maker organizations. ResearchSnapshotWe are piloting social networking tools for research and knowledge mobilization. We are poised to double our library of ResearchSnapshot research summaries and we are seeking to add other universities and communities to ResearchImpact, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network.

That’s what we’ve done but let us know how we’re doing. Tell us how wonderful we are or how we can do better using the comment feature above. To help us grow and meet your needs better we shall soon be sending you and all our KM community a survey about our web based services. Thanks for helping us grow.

Read the YorkU Magazine articles here. And to read the whole Special Research Edition 2010 of YorkU, click here.

New Grad Course at UVic “goes social” with Local NGO Content

The UVic KM Unit is excited to announce that UVic Graduate Studies will be offering a new Interdisciplinary Research Practicum course for graduate students that will give students an opportunity to work with NGO’s in Victoria, BC on research questions identified by front-line social service providers.

Modeled after the very successful GS 500 Interdisciplinary Graduate Courses that have been offered in collaboration with various BC Government Ministries and Health Authorities, this course will be themed around “Social Services”, and aims to provide graduate students with practical experience working on applied research in a non-profit setting. The Knowledge Mobilization Unit and Office of Community Based Research is in the process of consulting with several Victoria NGO’s in the development of the course content and research questions. This proves to be an exciting partnership between UVic and the non-profit community, and the Office of Community Based Research and Knowledge Mobilization Unit is thrilled to be working in a brokering role in the facilitation for this innovative initiative.

The course is set to begin in January 2010. The KM Unit anticipates interest from students in various disciplines who may be interested in applying their skills and expertise to research identified by an NGO.

For more information about this course, please contact

ResearchImpact Evaluation Survey

The KM Units which are leading the ResearchImpact network (York University and the University of Victoria) are undergoing an evaluation, and we would like your feedback!  We are asking you to complete a survey regarding your experiences with the Knowledge Mobilization Unit. The purpose of the survey is to gather information  on how a specific research partnership may have influences you, your organization, and/or your community. The survey should take approximately 15 minutes of your time and will be greatly beneficial in the improvement of the KM Unit. Please access the survey by clicking this link.

Items of Interest to Ontario Community Groups and Especially those in York Region – Help with Social Media and Access to Infrastructure $$$

York Region covers 1,776 sq km and encompasses nine municipalities north of Toronto, Canada and had a total population of 983,100 in 2007. With a five year growth rate of 22% (2001-6) and with new Canadians making up 43% of the population (almost twice that of Ontario), York Region is one of Canada’s fastest growing and most diverse communities. It has elements of inner city (i.e. downtown Markham), high wealth creation (i.e. Vaughn), an Aboriginal reserve (in Georgina), rural agriculture (i.e. East Gwillimbury) and environmentally protected areas such as the Oakridges Moraine.  This diverse region has diverse opportunities for collaboration with university researchers to co-produce and mobilize knowledge for social innovation.

Brent MacKinnonFacilitating this co-production and knowledge mobilization, York’s KM Unit is pleased to work closely with partners in York Region such as illustrated in our recent publication with the United Way of York Region (read it here).  One strong supporter of community development in York Region is Brent MacKinnon.  York’s KM Unit first met Brent when we brokered a relationship between him (then at Street Kids International) and Uzo Anucha (School of Social Work, York University).  You can see them talk about their collaboration here.  Brent recently launched his consulting company, Social Media Tools for Work and Learning. Brent provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations interested in harnessing the power of the social web to meet their Vision, Mission and Values. Brent’s focus is to support staff in developing their social media strategy and using the right tools to engage supporters and stakeholders. His first issue of his newsletter, MacKinnon’s Cloud was launched this week and features services as well as stories from York Region including a story on the York Region data symposium, which was also featured on Mobilize This! (read it here).

Social Media Tools logoBrent will also be featured at a workshop on social media for knowledge transfer and exchange downtown Toronto on October 5 “What’s the point of 2.0”. Kudos to Brent for being a leader in social media for York Region community organizations and a champion for knowledge mobilization.  You can contact Brent at and follow him on Twitter @brentmack.

One more item for all York Region not for profits is the non profit stream of the federal government’s stimulus package “Creating Jobs, Building Communities”.  Released by Infrastructure Canada, this program will fund infrastructure projects in the following areas: temporary housing shelters; community centres; community services and cultural institutions.  “Projects must be for the substantial renovation or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure or new capital infrastructure”.  Applications are due August 18, 2009.