Merry Mobilizing from the KMb Unit at York

Photos of staff from the KMb Unit at York

Merry Mobilizing from the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University!

Back row left to right:

Paula Elias, Research Translation Assistant

Jane Wedlock, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at the United Way York Region

Christina Ransom, Data and Communications Assistant

Krista Jensen, Knowledge Mobilization Officer

Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization

Front row left to right:

Sabah Haque, Research Translation Assistant

David Phipps, Executive Director – Research & Innovation Services

Congratulations to David Phipps!

Today York’s YFile released a story about Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal winners at York. We are pleased to let you know that David Phipps (RIR-York) was among the recipients!

David Phipps at the Diamond Jubilee ceremony

The medals, which are awarded to individuals in tribute to their achievements and significant contributions to Canada, are part of a global celebration of the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. David received his medal in connection to Mitacs, a national research organization offering research and training programs to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Canada. He received his medal at a special ceremony held late last month in Ottawa, Ontario.

As the executive director of Research & Innovation Services at York University, David manages all research grants and contracts including knowledge and technology transfer.  He was recognized with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in knowledge mobilization. In 2011, he was named the most influential knowledge mobilizer in Canada and in 2012 York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit was awarded a best practice award from the European-based Knowledge Economy Network.

David leads York’s award-winning Knowledge Mobilization Unit that provides services to researchers, community organizations and government agencies that wish to use research to inform public policy and professional practice. He also leads ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network, which includes Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, York University, University of Guelph, University of Saskatchewan and University of Victoria.

The full YFile story can be read here.

ResearchImpact Wants to Grow / Le RéseauImpactRecherche veut grandir

Deadline: January 25, 2013

Founded in 2006 by York University and the University of Victoria, ResearchImpact is Canada’s knowledge mobilization network.

In 2010-2011, ResearchImpact expanded to include Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan. Responding to local opportunities and constraints has resulted in different models of institutional knowledge mobilization services; however, all six universities have invested in an institutional capacity to support knowledge mobilization among faculty, students and partner organizations.

Now maturing as an interactive working network and having completed an initial period of definition and goal setting, ResearchImpact would like to solicit interest from the academic community to join us in building knowledge mobilization expertise and sharing best practices.

Please see the attached document, RIR Call for New Members, regarding the call for new university partners.

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Date limite: le 25 janvier 2013

Fondé en 2006 par l’Université York et l’Université de Victoria, RéseauImpactRecherche est un réseau pancanadien de mobilisation des connaissances.

En 2010-2011, RéseauImpactRecherche s’est étendu à l’Université Memorial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, à l’Université de Guelph et à l’Université de la Saskatchewan. En réagissant aux ouvertures et aux contraintes propres à leurs milieux, les membres ont produit différents modèles de services de mobilisation des connaissances dans leurs établissements; toutefois, les six universités ont en commun d’avoir investi dans leur capacité à favoriser la mobilisation des connaissances pour leurs professeurs, leurs étudiants et leurs divers partenaires.

Après le déroulement d’une phase initiale où il s’est défini et a établi ses objectifs, le RéseauImpactRecherche a atteint la maturité en tant que regroupement fonctionnel et interactif. Il s’agit désormais de susciter dans le milieu universitaire l’intérêt à se joindre au réseau, dans le but de construire une expertise commune en mobilisation des connaissances et de veiller à la diffusion des pratiques exemplaires.

Veuillez trouver le document, Appel à de nouveaux partenaires par le RIR, en annexe.

A Milestone for Mobilize This! / Un nouveau jalon pour Mobilize This!

By David Phipps, RIR-York

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) has been publishing on the knowledge mobilization blog, Mobilize This! since May 30, 2008. This week we hit 100,000 views. In this post we look back on some highlights. Thanks to Krista Jensen for compiling the stats.

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) a publié sur Mobilize This!, le blogue dédié à la mobilisation des connaissances, depuis le 30 mai 2008. Cette semaine, nous avons atteint les 100 000 visites. Dans ce billet, nous jetons un regard sur certains faits saillants. Merci à Krista Jensen d’avoir compilé les statistiques.

Our first blog on May 30, 2008 only had 161 words. I guess we didn’t have much to say then! And it was English only. We hadn’t started posting bilingual titles and summaries until UQAM joined the RIR network. Our first French post wasn’t until January 26, 2011.

Our busiest day was February 23, 2012 with 281 views. On average we get between 80-100 views every weekday, fewer on the weekends.

Amazingly, people from 143 countries have visited the blog.  143 countries! This blog has a truly international audience.

The top ten countries since February 25, 2012 are:

  1. Canada 11,722 views
  2. USA 2,349 views
  3. UK 1,287 views
  4. India 544 views
  5. Australia 356 views
  6. Philippines 271 views
  7. Spain 143 views
  8. France 139 views
  9. Indonesia 139 views
  10. Netherlands 131 views

People find us through different ways:

  1. Search Engines (Google Image Search is the top one, followed by Google Search) 14,932 views
  2. researchimpact.ca 4,923 views
  3. twitter 2,102 views
  4. facebook 339 views
  5. yorku.ca 253 views
  6. Our monthly email newsletter  250 views
  7. Google reader  248 views
  8. mail.live.com (people who have subscribed to get new post alerts in their email inbox) 225 views
  9. Guardian.co.uk (from Guardian Higher Education Network blog) 158 views
  10. wordpress.com 152 views

We get lots of ping backs and some comments. We have had 373 total comments, with an average of 5 comments per month. Our most commented on blog with 18 comments is Knowledge Dissemination: blogging vs peer review from January 11, 2011.

Top 5 posts of all time:

  1. Knowledge Dissemination: blogging vs peer review  1,005 views
  2. Mama always told me, “share your toys” / Ma mère m’a toujours dit : « partage des jouets! »  860 views
  3. ACCELERATE Ontario – Ontario’s Graduate Research Internship Program 859 views
  4. Postcards from Congress – Day 7: Thanks to WLU and UW 804 views
  5. Knowledge Mobilization for Climate Change – Internship Programme Competition 792 views

We have loaded 306 tags and created 20 categories.

And in the world of “huh?” the top five terms people search for in a search engine that led them to the blog are:

  1. Neil Armstrong
  2. Elmer Fudd
  3. twitter logo
  4. busy
  5. Dalton McGuinty

Elmer Fudd??? We mentioned him once on September 28, 2009. And he drives traffic to our blog? Imagine the traffic we would get if we mentioned Justin Beiber. Or Lady Gaga. Or Prince William. Oh wait… we just did!

Thanks to everyone who reads, comments and writes for Mobilize This! Merci à tous et  a toutes.

Une journée collaborative sur la mobilisation des connaissances en novembre à l’UQAM / A Collaborative Knowledge Mobilization Event at UQAM

Jérôme Elissalde et Luc Dancause, RIR-UQAM

Le Service de la recherche et de la création, avec l’appui du bureau du vice-recteur à la Recherche et à la création, a invité tous les acteurs de l’UQAM intéressés par la mobilisation des connaissances – professeurs, étudiants, coordonnateurs, personnel de soutien – ainsi que leurs partenaires, à une journée de travail collaborative, le 23 novembre prochain.*

The Research Office, supported by the VP of Research, is inviting people at UQAM who are interested in KMb, faculty members, students, coordinators, support staff, as well as their partners, to a collaborative event that will take place on November  23rd.

De nombreuses pratiques relatives à la circulation des connaissances entre l’université et d’autres milieux coexistent à l’UQAM. «Ces pratiques sont souvent méconnues, parfois même à l’intérieur des murs de l’institution, parce qu’elles ne franchissent que très peu les barrières disciplinaires. Pourtant, elles répondent parfois à des préoccupations ou à des besoins très similaires que l’on peut trouver ailleurs», note Dominique Robitaille, directrice du Service de la recherche et de la création. «Cette journée se situe dans la continuité des rapports sur la mobilisation des connaissances produits par l’UQAM et de l’annonce d’une politique institutionnelle sur cet enjeu» ajoute Yves Mauffette, vice-recteur à la Recherche et à la création.

C’est en misant sur des techniques d’animation alternatives, mais éprouvées, telles que le World Café et le forum ouvert que les organisateurs de cet événement espèrent créer une dynamique permettant de faire émerger une vue d’ensemble de ce que représente la mobilisation des connaissances à l’UQAM. On veut aussi esquisser des avenues pour mieux la soutenir institutionnellement. «Cette journée offrira l’occasion aux personnes intéressées de se rencontrer sans égard à leur appartenance disciplinaire ou à leur occupation, poursuit Dominique Robitaille. L’idée est de favoriser un échange sur les processus de circulation des connaissances plutôt que sur des domaines de recherche précis.».

Le design et le déroulement de cet événement font l’objet d’une recherche-action menée par Isabelle Mahy, professeure au Département de communication sociale et publique, spécialiste des pratiques novatrices d’accompagnement du changement dans des contextes organisationnels.

«Nous invitons les gens à formuler avec nous les thèmes qui seront discutés et ainsi participer à la création de l’ordre du jour», ajoute  Dominique Robitaille. Quelques exemples d’enjeux qui pourraient faire l’objet de discussions : la planification de la mobilisation des connaissances, la gouvernance des projets, la communication, l’évaluation des stratégies et le financement.

Le Service des partenariats et du soutien à l’innovation de l’UQAM est également partenaire de cet événement qui s’annonce très stimulant.

*Ce billet est une version adaptée d’un article publié dans le Journal de l’UQAM le 31 octobre 2012 et dont l’auteur est  Pierre-Étienne Caza.

Knowledge Mobilization Documents Best Practices for Clear Language Research Summaries

The following was originally posted in YFile, York University’s Daily News, on October 23, 2012 and is reposted here with permission.

When it comes to conveying the important research to the broader community, clear language summaries are the best choice, this according to a new article published in the peer-reviewed journal, Scholarly & Research Communications.

Led by David Phipps, executive director of research & innovation services, and colleagues from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit (KMb), the group put pen to paper to highlight their experiences in summarizing academic research according to clear language writing and design principles over the past four years and how that practice has made research more accessible to the community.

The article titled, “A Field Note Describing the Development and Dissemination of Clear Language Research Summaries for University-Based Knowledge Mobilization”, highlights best practices for the development, evaluation and dissemination of clear language research summaries as tools for research outreach, research communication and knowledge mobilization.  It is co-authored by Michael Johnny, manager, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, Krista Jensen, knowledge mobilization officer at York University and Gary Myers, a community based researcher and author of the KMbeing.com blog.

“Working with our partners and faculty to identify relevant research helps make York’s research accessible and useful to our community partners” says Phipps.

York University piloted institutional knowledge mobilization with the University of Victoria in 2005 under a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Since then, York University has grown its knowledge mobilization collaboration with the University of Victoria to include the other four ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities: Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador, Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan.

York currently has more than 220 clear language research summaries in a series titled ResearchSnapshot, which is published on Research Impact blog. Working with a cohort of senior undergraduate work study students, the University’s KMb Unit produces between 40 to 50 research summaries every summer.

“York is proud of the work of our award-winning KMb Unit in connecting researchers and students with community partners for social innovation.  As a recognized leader in knowledge mobilization initiatives, York’s work and reputation in this field continues to grow both nationally and internationally,” said Robert Hache, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “The article written by David Phipps and his KMb colleagues provides a framework for others interested in learning more about best practices and York’s initiatives in this area.”

”SRC and its readers are very interested in the communication and use of knowledge as mediated by processes such as knowledge mobilization,” says Rowland Lorimer, SRC editor and director of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University. “The work of David Phipps and his knowledge mobilization colleagues at York University is of growing interest to scholars and research partners who are interested in communicating and using knowledge to benefit Canadians. SRC is pleased they have chose to publish their work with us.”

York University’s KMb Unit and the University of Guelph Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship have recently partnered in support of a project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to produce clear language summaries of research at the University of Guelph. The KMb Unit is also working on clear language research summaries with the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health Evidence Exchange Network and the Knowledge Network for Applied Education & Research, a knowledge mobilization network funded by Ontario’s Ministry of Education of which York’s Faculty of Education is a partner. With these partnerships in place, York will be hosting over 500 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries.

To read the full text of the article, click here. To view the ResearchSnapshot for this article, click here.

Social Media for Knowledge Mobilization / Les médias sociaux au service de la mobilisation des connaissances

David Phipps, RIR – York

Blogs, presentations on Slide Share, videos on you tube, twitter, Delicious bookmarks, Linked In but not facebook. These are our social media tools and now we have published a book chapter reflecting on these tools and their application to knowledge mobilization.

Blogues, présentations sur SlideShare, vidéos sur YouTube, signets Delicious, LinkedIn (mais pas Facebook), voici les outils que nous utilisons sur les médias sociaux. Nous avons publié un chapitre de livre qui présente ces outils ainsi que leurs applications pour la mobilisation des connaissances.

A few weeks ago Krista Jensen, David Phipps (both from RIR-York) and Gary Myers (www.kmbeing.com) published a book chapter titled “Applying Social Sciences Research for Public Benefit Using Knowledge Mobilization and Social Media”. This was published by the open access publisher, In Tech, in a book titled “Theoretical and Methodological Approaches to Social Sciences and Knowledge Management” that was edited by Asunción López-Varela.

The chapter didn’t attempt to review the literature since this is a large body of work and has been done elsewhere. The chapter started out with these elsewheres by presenting three perspectives on knowledge mobilization: 1) Knowledge To Action cycle (Ian Graham and colleagues in Ottawa); 2) Collaborative Entanglement (Bennet & Bennet) and 3) Research Use by Sandra Nutley and colleague from the Research Unit for Research Utilization, University of Edinburgh. We challenged each of these three perspectives but chose them because they each built on the other conceptually drawing the reader into deeper and more contextualized understandings of the subject but concluded that there were three take away messages from these literature reviews:

  • KMb is a social process
  • Efforts to enhance KMb need to be interactive and focus on the relationships between researchers and decision makers
  • KMb happens at the level of the individual and is only beginning to emerge at the organization and the system/sectoral level

Word cloud of key words in profiles: Followers of RIR

These three messages were then illustrated by citing the practices of Institute for Work and Health and PREVNet, both of whom promote the use and uptake of research into policy and practice. In addition to these two Canadian networks these principles were illustrated by three international examples of university based knowledge mobilization activities: Community University Partnership Program of the University of Brighton, Research in Action Project of the Institute for Health Policy at the University of Texas and the Centre for Families and Relationships at the University of Brighton.

The chapter then presents in detail the knowledge mobilization services of York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit. Drawing on our “recipe book” published in Scholarly & Research Communications in December 2011 we go further to present some success stories arising from our work: United Way York Region Strength Investments, Parkdale Activity & Recreation Centre Heat Registry, Green Economy Centre of South Simcoe and Evaluation of the Inclusivity Action Plan of the Regional Municipality of York.

Read More

A New Development in the World of ResearchSnapshots / Un nouveau développement dans le monde des faits saillants de recherche

Jason Guriel, Evidence Exchange Network

ResearchImpact’s ResearchSnapshot database makes research on climate change, homelessness, and other important topics accessible to a wide range of audiences. But the latest additions to the library – created by Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) – bring an enhanced focus on mental health and addictions research, especially as it relates to Ontario.

Les faits saillants du Réseau Impact Recherche rendent accessibles les recherches sur les changements climatiques, les sans-abris, et d’autres sujets importants à une large audience. Mais les derniers ajouts à la bibliothèque – par Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) – apportent une meilleure représentation des recherches sur la santé mentale et sur les dépendances, notamment en ce qui concerne l’Ontario.

You may not have noticed, but ResearchImpact’s collection of Research Snapshots just got a little bit bigger—a new batch of user-friendly summaries has joined the library!

But why should you care? Isn’t there already a wealth of information to browse? Well, there certainly is; ResearchImpact offers a valuable resource that makes research on climate change, homelessness, and other important topics accessible to a wide range of audiences.

But these latest ResearchSnapshots – created by Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) – bring to ResearchImpact’s library an enhanced focus on mental health and addictions research, especially as it relates to Ontario. Indeed, as a knowledge exchange network, one of EENet’s goals is to ensure that evidence informs the mental health and addictions system in the province. These new Snapshots are a key part of that effort.

We hope that you take a moment to browse through the mental health and addiction / substance use sections of ResearchImpact’s library. Discover what young bloggers are saying about mental health. Find out how we can improve social inclusion for people with mental health issues. Learn about the impact that neighbourhood ‘connectedness’ can have on teen drug use.

And we hope that you come back for more! ResearchImpact is adding new Snapshots by EENet on a regular basis. In fact, thanks to our partnership with ResearchImpact, EENet was able to hire a talented writer, Maia Miller, who has been helping the network create a whole new batch of Snapshots on mental health and addictions.

The EENet Management and Resource Centre is located in the Provincial System Support Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. To learn more about EENet – and to discover other products and tools, beyond ResearchSnapshots – visit www.eenet.ca today!

Jason Guriel is a Communications Associate for Evidence Exchange Network.

Guide to Knowledge Translation Planning at CIHR: Integrated and End-of-Grant Approaches / Guide de planification de l’application des connaissances aux IRSC : approches intégrées et de fin de subvention

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche is pleased to announce the launch of a new Knowledge Translation (KT) Guide by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

Le RéseauImpactRecherche-ResearchImpact a le plaisir de vous annoncer le lancement du nouveau Guide de planification de l’application des connaissances aux Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (IRSC).

The creation of new healthcare knowledge often does not, on its own, lead to widespread implementation or impacts on health outcomes. As Canada’s principal health research funding agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) plays a fundamental role in bridging the ‘know-do’ gap and ensuring that research findings get into the hands of those who can use them.

To assist in filling this gap between research evidence and implementation, CIHR has developed a new Knowledge Translation (KT) Guide that we hope will strengthen projects that involve a KT approach, while also ensuring that the review of KT within grant proposals is more rigorous and transparent.

Whether it is disseminating findings from already completed research or co-creating the knowledge to help solve issues, this Guide is relevant across the spectrum of health research. It is targeted to both those writing grants and those reviewing grants.

The Guide provides examples of how different approaches to KT have worked and includes relevant worksheets to help guide planning. The KT Guide is available on the CIHR website or in hard copy by writing to kt-ac@cihr.gc.ca.

Le Guide de l’AC est disponible sur le site Web des IRSC (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/f/45321.html). Il est aussi possible d’en obtenir une version papier en s’adressant par écrit à kt-ac@cihr.gc.ca.

York University and United Way York Region Receive Funding for Knowledge Mobilization / L’Université York et United Way de la Région de York reçoivent du financement pour la mobilisation des connaissances

By David Phipps, RIR-York

United Way York Region and York University can build on their 5 year knowledge mobilization collaboration thanks to new funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This funding will allow them to support collaborations on income and housing vulnerability.

United Way de la Région de York et l’Université York peuvent poursuivre le travail collaboratif en matière de mobilisation des connaissances qu’ils ont entrepris il y a 5 ans, et ce, grâce au financement reçu par le Conseil de recherche en sciences humaines du Canada. Ces fonds leur permettront de travailler en collaboration sur le thème du revenu et de la vulnérabilité relative au logement.

In June the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council announced a grant to York University and United Way York Region of $141,798 to invest in knowledge mobilization focused on income and housing vulnerability.  The grant is lead jointly by Daniele Zanotti (CEO, United Way York Region), David Phipps (Director, Research Services & Knowledge Exchange) and Steven Gaetz (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education), as well as Michaela Hynie (Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and the Program Evaluation Unit in the York Institute for Health Research). There is an urgent need for research and evidence to inform effective community responses, programs and services for housing and income vulnerability. Building on their five year knowledge mobilization partnership, York University and United Way York Region will implement a community-campus knowledge mobilization strategy based on best practices so that York housing and income vulnerability research and expertise is accessible to community partners. This grant builds on the CIHR funded Knowledge Translation supplement awarded to the partners in 2011 that funds knowledge mobilization activities focused on social determinants of health. Steven Gaetz, who also sits on the York Region Human Services Planning Board, says, “Knowledge mobilization has become very important in Canada. My area of research is homelessness and one of our key beliefs is that we have to figure out ways to mobilize homelessness research so that it can have a bigger impact on policy and practice. York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been a big support in this effort.”

While both the SSHRC and CIHR grants support a suite of services as recently described by York’s Knowledge mobilization Unit (see the knowledge mobilization blog post on Mobilize This!), at the core of these activities is funding for a community-based knowledge broker. While many university-based research programs and research units have staff who act as knowledge brokers only the six universities in the York-led ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche knowledge mobilization network have invested in knowledge brokers with a pan-university mandate. And of those six York is the only university to collaborate with their local partner to place a knowledge broker in the community. Jane Wedlock, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at United Way York Region, seeks to build capacity for community members to become partners in collaborative research projects and to work with Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization at York University, to identify and support collaborations between university and community experts in housing and income vulnerability.

These collaborations will include graduate student interns (Summer 2013) and will be informed by more than 25 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries being developed from York University research articles over the summer of 2012.

“York University has transformed our work in the community” says Daniele Zanotti. “It has opened up the richness of community.

SSHRC handed out  95 grants in the October 2011 Public Outreach Grant competition. The York University/United Way York Region grant received the third highest funding of all grants and the highest amount of funding of those grants that had a community partner as a full co-applicant.United Way York Region is stronger because of that relationship and the university is stronger, with deeper roots in the community and greater opportunities to apply research to real lived experience.”

“York continues to build on and strengthen its commitment to community engagement, as identified in the Provostial White Paper,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation.  “York’s researchers continue to share and co-create knowledge with the broader community, as exemplified by the success of our researchers in the receipt of funding for engaged scholarship through SSHRC’s Public Outreach grants program and the work of our researchers and Knowledge Mobilization Unit in further developing partnerships with community organizations, such as the United Way York Region.”

York University and United Way York Region have recently released a video speaking about the mutual value gained when they jointly invest in knowledge mobilization.

A Summer of Clear Language Summaries Ahead! / À venir, un été rempli de résumés de recherche en langage clair

This summer, our writing team at York University has started working on brand new clear language summaries. Look for new, upcoming ResearchSnapshots to be developed around the topic of Poverty Eradication.

Cet été, l’équipe de rédaction de l’Université York a déjà commencé à travailler sur de tout nouveaux résumés de recherche en langage clair. Ne manquez pas les prochains ResearchSnapshot qui porteront sur le thème de l’éradication de la pauvreté.

This summer, the writing team at the KMb Unit at York are back to begin drafting a new set of ResearchSnapshots for our readers!  The theme for us this year is Poverty Eradication.

The initiative stems from York University’s partnership with the United Way of York Region (UWYR) in making KMb a crucial process for community engagement.  Between 2001 and 2006, growing trends have been identified in York Region.  There has been a 55 percent increase of low income earners, while the gap between high and low income earners continues to widen. This includes a 62 percent increase in the number of children living in low income households.

According to the Canadian Make Poverty History Campaign, more than 3.5 million Canadian live in poverty and the numbers are growing for youth, workers, young families, immigrants and people of colour. The world has enough resources, money and technology to end poverty, yet about 1.7 billion people worldwide continue to live in extreme poverty.

A part of the UWYR’s Community Investment Priorities seeks to support peoples’ transition from a life of poverty to possibility. But what exactly is Poverty Eradication?

Poverty is the lack of basic needs, with the experience of low income, education and health.  It also involves the lack of opportunity or capacity to improve one’s life. By analyzing the causes that create these living conditions, poverty eradication seeks to create change and eliminate these underlying causes.

As you will find over the summer, researchers at York and our partner RIR universities have much to offer in the areas of poverty, education, housing and economic vulnerability.  We have two very enthusiastic and dedicated mobilizers in the process of seeking research expertise and developing ResearchSnapshots: Sabah Haque and Paula Elias.

Sabah Haque: Currently, I am a business student at Schulich, and I have dedicated my summer to a cause I really care about. I am pleased to be working with Knowledge Mobilization on the pressing issue of Poverty Eradication. My goal is to provide a wide range of perspectives on how poverty can be alleviated, by making current research accessible to anyone in the community. Research in the areas of social work, business, health and environmental studies (to mention a few) – all play a role in tackling the issues surrounding poverty. This summer, stay tuned to learn about the next steps you can take to put an end to poverty!


Paula Elias: As a writer for York’s KMb Unit since 2010, I have had the pleasure of working with many researchers and becoming a part of our efforts to mobilize knowledge.   As a non-profit worker and educator, mobilizing knowledge has enhanced what I do.   Addressing clear language and supporting accessible knowledge to my students and community partners are so vital, and I look forward to gaining another summer of experience here at York.

York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit wins Best Practice Award

The following story appeared in York University’s YFile on June 12, 2012.  It is reposted here with permission. 

On June 12, 2012, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit received the Knowledge Economy Network Best Practice Award from the European-based Knowledge Economy Network (KEN). The award, which was part of a group announced by the network was presented during the network’s annual forum, which took place June 11 and 12, in Maribor, Slovenia.

KEN is an European nonprofit association that acts as a “network of 16 European regions and countries, interested in boosting their knowledge-based competitiveness, exchanging good practice, encouraging collaboration and implementing new knowledge into innovative products in response to a larger, global need to enhance and support efforts to build knowledge economy, not only at European, but at a truly international level.”

In addition to national level awards recognizing innovation in the four domains of education, research & development, innovation, entrepreneurship, plus one media award, the three Best Practice Awards announced this year went to:

  • European Affairs Fund, AP Vojvodina, based in Serbia, which KEN described as “an example of good practice in multicultural education”
  • Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, which was cited by the network as ”an example of good practice of a new scheme run by the University and involving all triple helix [government, community and industry] partners”
  • South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, based in Croatia, which KEN highlighted as ”an example of good practice in successful regional cooperation in training and education”

“This recognition from a European agency is testament to the growing international reputation that York is gaining for its work in knowledge mobilization,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “Knowledge mobilization connects researchers and students with partners, so that their research and expertise can be applied to real-world challenges, in addition to helping to inform decisions about public policy and social services.”

Under the leadership of David Phipps, director of research services & knowledge exchange in York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, the unit has been developing and delivering knowledge mobilization services to faculty, students and their research partners since 2006. The unit has received funding from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Working with 240 faculty, 142 students and 205 partner organizations, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit has brokered more than 250 collaborations between the academy and non-academic partners. These partnerships have attracted more than $1 million in sponsored research funding specifically for York research, and over $1 million in funding for community partners.

Michael Johnny, manager of the Knowledge Mobilization Unit, supports all large-scale grant applications, which in turn has secured over $17 million in external research support for York faculty and their partners. Some of these collaborations are maturing into social innovations that help find new ways to address persistent social and economic challenges.

  • In 2009 Nottawasaga Futures, a nonprofit community development agency, called York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit to help a rural business in making green decisions. The collaboration helped launch the Green Economy Centre.
  • York supported a collaboration between graduate student Tanya Gulliver and the Parkdale Activity & Recreation Centre in 2007. Research conducted by this partnership is now helping to inform Toronto’s Heat Registry Manual, which will assist more than 2.5-million people cope in an increasingly warming world.
  • When the Regional Municipality of York called the Knowledge Mobilization Unit to seek support in evaluating how they delivered services to immigrants, York supported a collaboration between two faculty members and municipal policy-makers. The evaluation undertaken provided evidence to the regional government, which in turn informed the region’s decision to invest more than $20 million to expand the Welcome Centre program. The investment created 86 jobs and provided 48,000 services to new Canadians living and working in York Region, which is home to Canada’s fastest-growing newcomer population.

“Knowledge mobilization identifies and supports these collaborations,” said Phipps. “The Welcome Centres, Heat Registry and Green Economy Centre are examples of social innovation.”

As a result of these and other stories of the impact of research, Phipps is widely sought as a speaker on York’s model for knowledge mobilization, which is increasingly becoming recognized as a critical component of engaged scholarship and learning.

To watch Phipps’ acceptance speech for the Economy Network Best Practice Award, click here.

Canada and the United Kingdom commit to social innovation / Le Canada et le Royaume-Uni s’engagent dans l’innovation sociale

Canada and UK have made a commitment to social innovation for the first time. David Phipps (RIR-York) had a small part to play.

Le Canada et le Royaume-Uni ont pris un engagement pour l’innovation sociale pour la première fois. David Phipps (RIR-York) avait un petit rôle à jouer.

In September 2011 David Cameron , Prime Minister of Great Britain met with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. They discussed many matters including international diplomacy, national security, the economy and innovation. Speaking to the House of Commons on September 22, 2012 David Cameron said of Canada, “yours is a home of innovation and technology”. During their meeting they decided to build on these mutual interests of science and innovation by committing to the drafting a Joint Innovation Statement.

David Phipps (RIR-York) was in the UK for 2 weeks of meetings on knowledge mobilization and social innovation starting November 26, 2011. At that time I wrote in Mobilize This! about my meetings with Centre for Research in Families & Relationships (University of Edinburgh) and with Community University Partnership Program (University of Brighton). What I didn’t write about at the time was about my meetings with agencies interested in social innovation. I met with the Young Foundation, a global leader in social innovation, and with NESTA, “the UK’s innovation foundation”. Caroline Martin, Trade Commissioner for science & technology of the Canadian High Commission in London, was immensely helpful in setting up and accompanying me to those meetings. We discussed the importance of social innovation to Canada and the UK, a conversation we have since continued with Nicole Arbour, Team Lead for the Science & Innovation Network of the British High Commission in Ottawa. Together we explored opportunities for collaboration on social innovation with Canadian organizations such as Social Innovation Generation and the McConnell Family Foundation whose leadership of social innovation in Canada parallels that of NESTA and the Young Foundation in the UK.

At the same time Caroline and Nicole were helping their colleagues draft the Joint Innovation Statement called for by Prime Ministers Harper and Cameron. Recognizing the mutual interests of Canada and the UK in social innovation, our conversations helped inform the decision to include social innovation in the text of the Joint Innovation Statement.

As reported by the British High Commission on May 9, 2012 the Joint Innovation statement was signed by the Honourable Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Lord Green, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Trade and Investment. The text of the Joint Innovation Statement includes a commitment to support social innovation:

The Participants will consider to take joint initiatives in the following priority areas (including) Social innovation: Working with academic, government, and civil society partners to leverage research and innovation activities for greater societal benefits.”

“Social Innovation is one outcome of knowledge mobilization for which York has developed an international reputation,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “New discoveries are being made to address persistent social challenges through social innovation. Our conversations with the British and Canadian High Commissions helped inform the decision to include social innovation in the text of the Joint Innovation statement. The outcome reflects the growing international appreciation of the work of York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and its leadership role in ResearchImpact, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network, in working to turn research into action.”

This joint, diplomatic commitment to social innovation between Canada and the UK finds another home in David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. On February 17, 2012 he wrote of knowledge diplomacy in the Globe & Mail asking, “So how do we bring about a smart and caring world that is at once prosperous, sustainable and resilient? Our ability to work together – to practise the diplomacy of knowledge – will be the key to our success.” As announced on May 3, 2012 by the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS, organizers of Congress 2012), His Excellency will lead a “discussion of cross-sector collaboration and social innovation at Congress 2012 (that) will encourage students, researchers, employees and citizens alike, as we strive for greater prosperity and quality of life for all.” In their May 3 announcement CFHSS also recognized the work of York University, on behalf of RIR in the Community-Campus Collaboration Initiative.

Collaborating for social innovation is now recognized as a priority for Canada and for the UK. RIR-York was there and will be there working with colleagues from Canada and the UK to support knowledge mobilization as a process that enables enhanced social innovation.

Governor General Returns to Waterloo for Keynote Address / Le gouverneur général revient à Waterloo pour une allocution

University of Waterloo is known more for industry-associated innovation despite many local community engaged initiatives. But when the Governor General returns to the university where he used to be President he will be speaking on collaboration for social innovation thanks in part to RIR.

L’Université de Waterloo est plus connue pour l‘innovation associée à l’industrie, malgré de nombreuses initiatives communautaires locales engagées. Mais lorsque le gouverneur général du Canada revient à l’université qu’il présidait, il s’exprime sur la collaboration au service de l’innovation sociale, grâce, entre autres, au RIR.

Led by York University, ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) has exhibited at Congress every year since 2007 – see our post cards and other reports from Congress 2011 posted on Mobilize This! This year Congress is in Waterloo and will be opened by His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. Nice indeed but what does he have to do with knowledge mobilization? This year, a lot.

As announced on May 3, 2012, by the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS, organizers of Congress), “The Governor General believes that the creation and sharing of knowledge is critical if we are to effectively and equitably address today’s complex, global issues. It is hoped that the discussion of cross-sector collaboration and social innovation at Congress 2012 will encourage students, researchers, employees and citizens alike, as we strive for greater prosperity and quality of life for all.”  CFHSS’s announcement also referenced RIR. “CFHSS has been working with the United Way of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and ResearchImpact, which are engaged in a joint project, the Community-Campus Connections (CCC) Initiative. Its purpose is to support a culture of collaboration and to marry the resources of communities with those of post-secondary institutions to address persistent social and economic challenges Canadians face today”.

Community-campus collaborations. Cross sector collaboration. Social Innovation. All very knowledge mobilization. His Excellency will be opening Congress with a Big Thinking lecture that will be informed, in part, by the work of the CCC Initiative, a year-long collaboration by York University on behalf of RIR, SSHRC and United Way-Centraide Canada. We are delighted that His Excellency will be speaking on this topic as he opens Congress 2012.

RIR will be there and you will receive daily post cards from Congress posted on this blog.

It’s time to Discover Social Innovation

Janice Chu (United Way of York Region), Jeremy Laurin (ventureLAB), David Phipps (RIR-York)

York University, United Way of York Region and ventureLAB are collaborating to support social innovation and social enterprises in York Region. On May 15 they will speak about the assets they bring to bear to help address persistent social challenges.

Picture this: Metro Toronto Convention Centre. May 15. Over 2,600 attendees listening to a multi-sectoral panel on social innovation.

That’s what we’re doing at Discovery 2012, Ontario’s premier technology and innovation showcase. Hosted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Discovery is Ontario’s annual conference bringing together university, college and industry based researchers, students, entrepreneurs and innovators. Traditionally focused on technology sectors such as green tech, health tech and ICTs, this year Discovery is going social and exploring the role of social innovation and social enterprises in Ontario’s innovation landscape. Mobilize This! has previously written about efforts to introduce social innovation into the federal innovation agenda and on May 15, in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, over 2,600 delegates (well, those that attend the panel at least) will hear this message. York Region’s innovation sector will speak about how we are sowing the seeds of social innovation in York Region and how we are starting to build relationships to support innovators and entrepreneurs seeking to address persistent social, environmental and cultural challenges.

This panel at Discovery represents early conversations with York Region’s vibrant entrepreneurial sector (represented by Lahav Gil of the Kangaroo Group), a regional hospital network (represented by Pat Clifford of Southlake Regional Health Centre) and the three primary supports for innovation in York Region: ventureLAB (York Region’s Regional Innovation Centre represented by CEO, Jeremy Laurin), York University (represented by Vice-President Research & Innovation, Robert Haché) and the United Way of York Region (represented by Janice Chu, Director Community Investments). For the first time in the history of Discovery the community sector will be represented. We will also be joined by Allyson Hewitt, Advisor, Social Innovation and Director, Social Entrepreneurship MaRS, who will reflect on York Region’s assets and efforts and place them in a provincial context.

ventureLAB, York U and UWYR are actively discussing how best to support an emerging cohort of social entrepreneurs. UWYR has a Strength Investments program (itself a social innovation) that has already invested $300,000 in 11 community based innovations to address local opportunities. ventureLAB has an established Build program and Entrepreneurs in Residence that can be made available to social entrepreneurs. York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit will actively broker collaborations between social entrepreneurs and researchers/students so that social innovations are grounded in the latest research. The Innovation York accelerator space at the Markham Convergence Centre, co-located with ventureLAB and other York Region innovation acceleration services such as the York Technology Alliance, will be available to social entrepreneurs seeking a space to grow their businesses.

Stay tuned for details on how we will weave these assets into a coherent value proposition but we have progressed beyond recognizing the need and moved into the “how to” stages. This energy will build on the primary message of the recent Public Policy Forum reportthat spoke of the value of collaboration as a key component of innovation and singled out York Region as a region that was making strides to supporting multi-sectoral collaboration.

Discovery 2013. That’s when we will share the emerging York Region story – still separate silos beginning the dialogue on and action to support social innovation and social entrepreneurship so we can make a difference in the lives of York Region’s diverse citizens. Come with us as we discover social innovation.