Post Cards from Congress Day 5 – The more things change….

What Happened: ResearchImpact lead a conversation in the University Affairs Career Corner about knowledge mobilization and career options inside, outside and after the academy. Thanks for Krista Jensen and Phillipe Dugas for participating. We also attended the new SSHRC Program Architecture presentation. See our previous blog on this topic here.

Why is this important: York is leading changes in KMb and students and faculty have the opportunity to embrace an evolving paradigm of engaged scholarship in order to take advantage of the opportunities that come with this change. And there will be change. And there will be opportunity – both in career choices that link research to practice/policy and in SSHRC grant funding that welcomes individual scholarship and engaged scholarship.

Final Thoughts: If you don’t ride the wave of change it will wash over you…

Gisele Yasmeen of SSHRC, Noreen Golfman of CFHSS and Brent Herbert-Copely of SSHRC

Postcards from Congress Day 4: Riding the Wave!

What Happened: We have been tracking our conversations with delegates while we are here at the ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) booth. This includes a full spectrum of queries (and trust me there has been a spectrum!). For example, on our first day 70% of requests asked where the registration desk is! Fast forward a few days, and on Sunday 70% of our conversations were substantial and related to knowledge mobilization

Why is this Important: Documenting the quantity and quality of our discussions should provide data to support our investment in attending Congress.

Final Thoughts: The annual nature of Congress also allows us to reflect on our growth and our role. I am struck this year with the quality of conversations, notably, ‘how can my university be part of this network’. We have also enjoyed conversations at our booth and at the evening President’s receptions with SSHRC staff, Gisele Yasmeen (VP Partnerships) and Christine Trauttmansdorff (Director, Policy, Planning and International Affairs) and Federation staff Jean-Marc Mangin (Executive Director) and Pierre Normand (Director, Communications). These collegial relationships we have developed with staff at SSHRC and the Federation demonstrates to me that we have truly arrived on the national scene. We have also connected with Budd Hall, Director of University of Victoria’s Office of Community Based Research and with Peter Levesque, with Knowledge Mobilization Works, who has arrived in Montreal today and is sharing booth space with ResearchImpact this week! The investment of four years seems to be paying off from this brokers’ perspective. I am enjoying the ride, and look forward to the growth opportunities from many more years of Congress participation!

Peter Levesque of Knowledge Mobilization Works and Michael Johnny of ResearchImpact- York at the RI-RIR booth

Postcards from Congress Day 3: Connected Understanding… Disconnected Book Fair

What Happened: The Congress Book Fair is the agora of Congress.  It usually holds the registration desk so is accessible to every one of the thousands of Congress delegates.  It holds all the book sellers and publishers.  It is the Congress home to SSHRC, CIHR, Canada Research Chairs and to ResearchImpact (and even to the Ottawa Police at Congress 2008 in Saskatoon!).  The Book Fair is the heart of Congress where scholars and graduate students mingle.  It’s where you feel the buzz.  But this year… not so much.

This year the Book Fair is spread through three buildings and on different floors within some of those buildings.  ResearchImpact is still having substantive conversations but we miss the cross pollination of buzzing next to our SSHRC friends.

Why is it important: Creating a buzz about social science and humanities research is part of what leaves a lasting impression on the minds of Congress delegates.  It can help politicians and journalists see the excitement that is possible when you connect research to timely topics.  The researchers are here but they are buzzing in their own scholarly associations.

Final Thoughts: Where else but the Book Fair can non-academics see the importance and connectivity of policy and practice relevant research but at the Book Fair?  The Book Fair will have less impact at Concordia’s Congress.  We are assured this will change next year at UNB (Fredericton, NB).  See you then.

Quiet morning at the Congress 2010 Book Fair

Pat Armstrong (LA&PS) at the ResearchImpact booth Congress 2010

Postcards from Congress Day 2: new ResearchImpact web features

What Happened: You have heard about KMb in Action. In response to one request from our web survey, we developed success stories of KMb in practice featuring stories of university researchers and their non-academic partners. Our online community also asked for greater access to KMb resources. We have expanded our web links section to become a new site called “KMb Bookmarks”. This section presents the latest KMb bookmarks that the ResearchImpact team has bookmarked through delicious, the social bookmarking site (see all of our delicious bookmarks at delicious.com/ResearchImpact). Our latest bookmarks are displayed as well as the tag cloud of all the 106 ResearchImpact bookmarks tagged with 195 tags.

Click on a tag and you’ll be taken to those bookmarks that are of interest to you. Click on one of the delicious links and you get to the site you’re interested in.

Why is it important: Social bookmarking is a way for ResearchImpact to share resources we think will be useful and interesting to you. You can also create your own delicious site and share your own interesting bookmarks with ResearchImpact.

Final Thoughts: Delicious is one more social networking tool that we are exploring for knowledge mobilization for Canada. Each year at Congress we release new web features. This year’s features, including the delicious KMb bookmarks, are responding to your needs. Thanks for your input.

David Phipps of RI-RIR York at the Congress 2010 booth

Postcards from Congress: Day 1 – ResearchImpact is Number 1 at Congress!

What Happened: ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) is exhibiting for the 4th year at Congress at the Bookfair. Among the 53 exhibitors that are located throughout Concordia, we have been assigned booth #1, and enjoy a premium location adjacent to the participant registration desk.

Why is it important: Exhibiting at Congress is extremely important to the RI-RIR network. With growing interest from the Canadian academic research community around knowledge mobilization, we want researchers to think of RI-RIR when they think about KMb.

Final Thoughts: In four years RI-RIR has undergone tremendous growth. We represent six universities now from our original two, and we also possess leadership in the theoretical and practical understanding/application of KMb. It is this knowledge that is driving our vision of RI-RIR to ultimately have an affiliation with all Canadian universities. And with that we look forward to our week in Montreal, and next year in Fredericton and the year afterward in Waterloo… and so on! We are number 1 for a reason, after all!

RI-RIR Booth at Congress 2010

New KMb in Action Stories

In our recent social media survey (read the blog post about the survey results here), several people said they would be interested in reading more KMb success stories and seeing examples of KMb projects. To answer this call we have added some new stories to the KMb in Action section of our website. Among these stories you can read about: York Prof. Isolde Diaski’s Health Bus Project, University of Victoria Prof. Jutta Gutberlet’s Binning in Victoria project and others. These stories are brief, sometimes featuring videos or supporting documentation and some have a ResearchSnapshot clear langauge research summary but most share the common element of researchers and non-academic partners working together to solve an unmet need.

We know the term knowledge mobilization isn’t always easy to grasp at first so we hope that by sharing some examples of KMb projects and events in action, visitors to our site will better understand what KMb is all about and how we might be able to help them.

Do you have a KMb project or event you would like featured on our website? If so, please contact us at kmunit@yorku.ca

Binners in Victoria

United Way? United Wow!

On April 26 and 27 the United Way of York Region (UWYR) and York University hosted their counterparts from St. John’s, Montreal (UQAM), Guelph, Saskatoon and Victoria. This represented the first time the ResearchImpact universities met and was an ideal opportunity to invite our UW partners. Some of us (York, Victoria, Guelph) have established strong relationships between the university and the UW and the rest were meeting for the first time to explore possibilities. The goals of the meeting were two fold:

  1. Mobilize best practices and lessons learned about KMb from YorkU and UWYR to universities and communities across Canada
  2. Seed a national KMb network informed by evidence and best practice.

“I feel connected to a real network in spirit not just on paper”

The full agenda is available  here- UW-University KMb Meeting Agenda

Introductions: We prepared our recipe cards for success (for a successful meeting I need a pinch of _____________, a dash of _______________ and whole heaping handful of ________________) and shared them around the table. Humour was the ingredient most frequently cited… that we had, in abundance. Thanks to Jennifer Adams Warburton for setting the right tone for the meeting. In Newfoundland & Labrador they just “get ‘er done!”. And that we did!

KMb 101: The use of faculty and community partners in videos during York’s KMb overview grounded the KMb theory in the reality of community practice.

Presentations from Victoria and Guelph: These universities and their UW partners shared their experiences including UW Greater Victoria providing funding for UVic KMb interns and Guelph presenting on their new Research Shop.

Lunch: York’s KMb staff joined for lunch, presented on their KMb projects and we discussed staffing, resourcing and structures of the office.

Unconference Time: The group identified two topics of mutual interest and divided to discuss and report back. The Unconference topics were: 1) evaluation (we actually have very little understanding how to evaluate a system of KMb) and 2) local vs. national projects (a national network needs standards and tools to support local knowledge mobilization and we need a national network to enhance the access to scholarship anywhere across the country and to serve as a community of practice).

ResearchImpact: David Phipps (ResearchImpact York) presented a vision for ResearchImpact focusing on two activities: a community of practice and a larger pool of research and expertise to bring to the benefit of the ResearchImpact community partners. Louise Powell-McCarthy (UW Canada) provided reflections from a national perspective including her role as Director of Knowledge Exchange and her work to ensure all local UW share best practices through their Standards of Excellence.

Dinner: Lago. Good food. Great company. One theme emerged and remained with us – squirrel (you had to be there).

“We are so focused on the day to day but now we appreciate what the end looks like and what this can mean for policy change.”

The next day started with Saskatoon summing up what they heard from Day 1 and putting it in their perspective exploring learnings and opportunities for their community.

O3 demo: this was important as the entire meeting was managed through the ResearchImpact O3 site. A UW-University group was created with access to blogs, forums, gallery, documents and wikis, all of which were used to develop the community, provide materials in advance and set the tone for the meeting. The blog channel for this community is now open so check out the blog postings here.

Yaffle demo: We have previously blogged about yaffle, MUN’s online knowledge brokering service. Jennifer Adams Warburton presented on the launch and university (even province) wide implementation of this tool and described some of the success stories arising from yaffle. We briefly discussed its potential to link decision makers and researchers across the country – no promises but some great thinking.

For lunch that day we were joined by York’s VP Research & Innovation, Stan Shapson, and Assoc. VP Research (Social Sciences & Humanities), David Dewitt. We explored the impacts the meeting had on participants and made commitments to action in the following year. We then, one by one, said good bye, à bien tôt.

“very inspiring, happy to have been able to see how KMb is implemented in different communities”

The evaluations were overwhelmingly positive:

What did you like most about the meeting?
• Seeing how KMb is managed in the different universities and communities
• Meeting great people
• The sharing
• Establishing connections within a network
• Les experiences de chacune des universities et de Centraide et les outils développés.

What did you like least?
• Too many carbs, no decaf, need better snacks
• Le peu d’espace accordé à la traduction en français

Did you find the information about universities & ResearchImpact useful?
• We received a score 31 out of possible 36 points (36 = extremely useful)

Did you find the information about United Ways useful?
• We received a score 31 out of possible 36 points (36 = extremely useful)

After this event would you characterize the potential for United Way-University collaboration?
• We received a score 30 out of possible 36 points (36 = excellent potential)

What was the experience using the O3 social media site?
• We received a score 20 out of possible 36 points (36=excellent)

Are you interested in continuing this dialogue? 11/12 reported yes with one person saying yes so long as the openness continued.

While we have some way to go in supporting the use of O3 and serving fruit would have been nice, we received very positive feedback and have a mandate to move forward with plans for a national ResearchImpact network.

“I can see the power of the United Way national network and the academic network blended together.”

In summary: Watch the ResearchImpact YouTube channel, where we shall shortly be posting a video produced from the event. It was clear from all of the sharing and mutual learning, that collaboration between community and university, enabled by an institutional capacity for knowledge mobilization can maximize the impact of research on social service and community agencies and thus on the lives of Canadians. To cite York’s tag line, the meeting really did “redefine the possible”.

“Potential: need to think about what this [network] could be and connect”

Four common themes emerged from the meeting:

  1. In our diverse experiences community is stepping up to the KMb, plate but faculty, not so much. This culture change for faculty and for our academic institutions recapitulates the early years of technology transfer and industry liaison. Only the consistent application of professional services and an institutional capacity to support university-industry collaborations and time changed the collaboration culture in academic science & technology research. There’s a lesson here for knowledge mobilization.
  2. KMb is not a cookie cutter approach. While broad principles (involve decision makers in all stages; use a variety of KMb methods including push, pull, exchange and co-production; provide training and tools) should be adopted those must be implemented in a way that takes into account local opportunities and constraints. For example, KMb at York and UVic will achieve the same goals but be implemented differently.
  3. One word summed up the meeting: POTENTIAL
  4. And again… squirrel… because you had to be there.

Next Steps: While the next steps in the growth of ResearchImpact will depend on the outcomes of the careful reflection and deliberation of participants upon returning home, the one thing we are all committed to is continued dialogue in an open and transparent fashion.

“The United Way and Universities are two different cultures but by collaborating, change will happen and we can balance Canada’s innovation agenda.”

Thank you to CIHR which funded this meeting through a CIHR KT grant to York University and the United Way of York Region.

Results from our Social Media Survey

ResearchImpact has had a web presence since 2006 when we first launched our site www.researchimpact.ca. Since then, we have made substantial changes to the site 2007 and 2009. We entered the Web 2.0 world with the launch of this blog in May of 2008 and then started using twitter (@researchimpact), delicious (delicious.com/ResearchImpact) and O3 (http://researchimpact.othree.ca), the online collaborative research platform developed by ORION in the spring of 2009.

We believe that social media or Web 2.0 tools are an important part of the research collaboration and KMb process and wanted to understand our community’s satisfaction with our online services, how they were using social media tools (ours and in general) and what features they would like to see us add in the future. So in November 2009, we conducted a survey asking our community to rate our online services and social media tools.

We invited everyone who receives our monthly email newsletter, anyone who had been to one of our KMb events, as well as anyone who had received one of our funding opportunities to take part in the survey (1151 people in total) and we received 99 responses. A report including all the responses is available here- Full Survey Results Report but here are some of the overall findings and suggestions that were made, as well as our plans to address some of the suggestions:

We asked 25 questions; the first set of questions focused on our web site, this blog, our monthly newsletter and twitter feed. We asked what people thought of of these tools and if they had any suggestions for improvement; and the second part of the survey asked questions about the use of common social media or Web 2.0 tools- which tools they use and which tools would they like us to start using.

Some Findings

  • The top two reasons for visiting our web site is to find information on knowledge mobilization and to learn about upcoming events
  • The majority of people who could rate the features on our web site were either satisfied or very satisfied with the features and no more than 5% of respondents found anything very unsatisfactory or unsatisfactory
  • The top three features people would like to see our on site are- Success Stories/examples of KM successes; a calendar of events (which we have added) and an Ask a Mobilizer feature, which could be a forum for questions to a KM researcher or practitioner
  • The majority of people (52.9%) were not aware that they could comment or ask a question on our blog postings and the majority of people (91.2%) have never left a comment on our blog. To leave us a comment, click on “Leave a Comment” at the top of this post
  • The majority of respondents (71%) were not on Twitter; 14.5 % were on Twitter but not following us; 8.7% were on Twitter and follow @researchimpact; and a final 5.8% did not know what Twitter was
  • Reading blogs and using Wikipedia, were the most common web 2.0 activities of our readers (40.6% read blogs on a monthly basis; and 54.5% used Wikipedia on a monthly basis).
  • The majority of people never used tools such as facebook (37.3%), Myspace (93.7%), flickr (62.9%), delicious (90.6%), ning (89.1%), friendfeed (93.8%) or Linkedin (60.7%). In addition, most people never wrote blogs (79%), commented on blogs (77.8%), read wikis other than Wikipedia (50.8%) or contributed to wikis other than Wikipedia (81.3%).
  • The top three picks for new tools to be added to the ResearchImpact web site were-Discussion forums; Collaboration tools such as document sharing, wiki; Connection tools such as database to find researchers, receptors, brokers, students
  • 80.7% of people said they use social media tools for both work and personal use

Web Site and Blog Story Suggestions

These are some of the suggestions we received and how we plan to answer your call:

1. Success stories/examples of KMb successes

  • In response to this request for more success stories and examples of KMb successes, we are currently working on adding more KMb stories to the KMb in Action section of our web site found at www.researchimpact.ca/kmbinaction/. We anticipate adding three more stories to this section in May and then adding regular content here over the summer of 2010.

2. Calendar of events

3. Cross disciplinary examples

  • This is a topic we often address here on our blog. Two examples include our posts about  the research partnership between Stephen Gaetz, Faculty of Education, York University and Bernie Pauly, School of Nursing, University of Victoria (read it here) and the Aboriginal Policy Research Forum which brought together faculty members from four universities, as well as policy makers and citizens from across Canada (read it here).

4. International KMb stories and examples

  • We are planning to add a new regular series of posting to this blog called KMb World, which will feature stories and examples of KMb units and projects from across the world. We are currently in the process of soliciting stories and anticipate being able to share some of these stories in the coming months. If you know of someone undertaking key KMb work in other countries please let us know using the comment feature on this blog.

5. If I had a KMb wish… blog

  • This idea was suggested by one of the respondents and we plan to implement this in the near future.

6. Successful KMb strategies

  • We are developing a series of KMb tool kits which will cover a variety of KMb strategies that we use, such as how to develop research summaries, how to plan a KMb event, how to set up a social media strategy, etc. We plan to post this series of tool kits or “how-to’s” on the ResearchImpact web site in the coming months.

Over the last three years we have rolled out new web features at Congress. This year the theme of Congress is “Connected Understanding”. ResearchImpact will be rolling out some of these new features as we present at Congress 2010. Visit us if you’re in Montreal May 28-June 4!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey and please leave a comment if you have any more ideas or suggestions.

United Way-York University Graduate Student Intern Job Posting

We are happy to share the following job posting for a United Way of York Region-York University Graduate Student Intern position for the summer of 2010.

United Way – York University Interns Job Description

General Purpose:

The United Way-York University Interns will work with United Way of York Region (UWYR) Community Engagement and Research Committee to facilitate community- and evidence-based research that addresses UWYR strategic directions and priorities. Findings of the research will help inform the planning and delivery of UWYR Strength Investments within communities of rapid growth. UWYR Priorities (www.uwyr.on.ca/addressingourstrengths):

  • Helping youth grow up strong
  • Enabling individuals and families to achieve economic independence
  • Improving the well being of individuals and communities

Term of Internship: May 3 – August 27, 2010

Report to: Director, Community Investment, UWYR

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Undertake a literature review focusing on the impact of growth and change on human services and various responses to address the impact.
  2. Conduct social asset mapping in identified geographies of growth in York Region.
  3. Organize community consultation and engagement activities with residents, community groups, service providers and other key stakeholders to identify, develop and ascertain strategies for UWYR Strength Investments.
  4. Analyze research findings and develop reports.
  5. Present reports to Community Engagement and Research Committee

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Currently affiliated with Faculty of Graduate Studies, may have finished degree requirements but not yet graduated
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada
  • Available to work full-time during the months of May to August 2010
  • Intern will receive relevant training and support through the Knowledge Mobilization Unit of York University and be part of knowledge mobilization community peer to peer network
  • Expertise in immigration & settlement, GIS, urban planning, program evaluation, human services, policy research & development or related disciplines an asset

Internship Stipend: $10,000 paid $2500 per month at the end of each month May-August 2010

Interested candidates should submit a résumé and cover letter describing the relationship between the applicant’s graduate studies and the interests of the United Way of York Region and how the applicant’s research expertise will contribute to a successfully executed internship. Please include the name and affiliation of your thesis supervisor.

Deadline: Submit applications by 4:30 pm on Friday April 23, 2010 to kmunit@yorku.ca.

For more information please contact Michael Johnny, Manager of York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, x 88876; mjohnny@yorku.ca.

We thank all candidates for their interest and application but only those invited to an interview will be contacted.

Download the full job description: UW-York KMb Summer Intern Job Description

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 (www.caringminds.ca) 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 www.caringminds.ca
• 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!