Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization, Course 2: Sept.18 to Nov.12

Registration for Course 2 of the Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization is now open! “Engage: Building capacity to understand and use relevant evidence”, will be offered online from September 18 to November 12, 2017.

Register by July 28, 2017 and take advantage of early bird savings!

The course

The creation of productive contexts for knowledge mobilization (KMb) requires acting on the factors enhancing or limiting individual, organizational and societal capacity for using and sharing evidence. The course focuses on the processes and products that support target audiences in engaging with new evidence, and build capacity to identify, make sense of, and apply relevant evidence.

“Engage” is the second of three online courses offered in the University of Guelph Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization. Courses are targeted towards professionals in the social sciences, human services and health sectors. They can be completed in any order, with one course offered each semester.

Instructor: Travis Sztainert, Ph.D., Knowledge Broker and Content Specialist for the Gambling Research Exchange Ontario

For more information, visit us at www.knowledgemobilization.ca or get in touch with Caroline Duvieusart-Déry

The Knowledge Mobilization Certificate program is excellent and has provided me with better tools to assist researchers in communicating their knowledge to a broader community of interest. The course is well designed, highly practical and the instructors are knowledgeable and responsive to student needs. I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in ensuring that research is shared beyond the academy.
-Participant, Course 1 of the Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization

Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization

Certificate in knowledge mobilization

As of January 2017, the University of Guelph’s Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization will be offered entirely online. Through three eight-week courses, the program helps participants develop new skills and use various techniques to help turn knowledge into action.

Turning Knowledge into Action
Promotional Early Bird Fee offered until November 25, 2016.
Register today at www.knowledgemobilization.ca

The program

The Certificate in Knowledge Mobilization builds capacity for the transformation of knowledge into action. Participants will learn to identify and address barriers to knowledge mobilization, transfer or exchange, and use tools and techniques to facilitate the development of evidence-informed policy and practice.

The program consists of three online courses:

1. Inform: Processes of knowledge translation and dissemination (January 23 to March 19, 2017)
2. Engage: Building capacity to understand and use relevant evidence (September 18 to November 12, 2017)
3. Act: Transforming knowledge into action (January 22 to March 18, 2018)

Who should participate?

The certificate is targeted towards KMb practitioners, researchers, policy-makers and service providers working in the social sciences, human services and health sectors. We also welcome graduate students interested in building KMb skills or planning to work in one of these fields.

Instructors

The courses will be taught by experienced instructors and knowledge brokers:
Anne Bergen, Ph.D., Director, Knowledge to Action Consulting
Travis Sztainert, Ph.D., Knowledge Broker and Content Specialist at Gambling Research Exchange Ontario

For more information, visit us at www.knowledgemobilization.ca.

Knowledge Mobilization Summer Institute, August 17-19, 2015

What is the KMb Summer Institute?
Three days of learning and skill development in the field of knowledge mobilization.  Hands-on workshops and networking with professionals will provide a unique opportunity for early career  KMb individuals to develop a solid foundation of understanding of the key principles of KMb, collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and evaluation.

Who should attend? 
Early career professionals working in the area of Knowledge Mobilization or Knowledge Translation and Transfer; this includes researchers, knowledge brokers, research facilitators, and graduate students.  Participants will come from a broad cross-section of organizations such as universities, not-for-profit organizations, research institutions, government agencies, National Centres of Excellence, and industry.

Where will the KMb Summer Institute take place?
In 2015, we are pleased to offer this institute at the University of Guelph in Ontario (approximately 1 hour west of Toronto).  Accommodations will be available on campus or at nearby hotels and food will be provided by the award-winning U of G Food Services.

Cost: $400 + HST = $452.00

Includes three days of:

  • instruction from leading Knowledge Mobilization practitioners and scholars
  • support materials
  • expert keynote speaker
  • dinner on Tuesday evening
  • breakfast
  • break snacks
  • lunch

When?
Monday, August 17, 2015 at 8:45 EDT to Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 16:00 EDT

Where?
University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd E,
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

For more information and to register, visit http://conta.cc/1IoumDH

What is the responsibility of universities to KTT? Reflections from the 4th Annual Knowledge Exchange Day / Réflexions sur la responsabilité des universités envers la MdC, à la suite de la 4e Journée sur l’échange des connaissances

Anne Bergen, RIR-Guelph

The following post first appeared on the Knowledge Exchange Day blog and is reposted here with permission.

Ce récit a été publié la première fois sur le site Knowledge Exchange Day blog. Il est repris ici avec permission.

What is the responsibility of universities to KTT? We could first consider what doesn’t work well: academia with a focus on basic research within traditional disciplinary silos and isolated from research stakeholders and end-users. Moreover, training students at the undergraduate and graduate level to prioritize sharing information and knowledge with other academics is unlikely to lead to KTT impact. Similarly, we can reduce research impact by keeping universities as islands in their larger community, eliminating funding for field work or community-engaged teaching and learning, and ensuring research questions are always developed by researchers alone (probably in a windowless basement office).
I’m writing from the 4th Annual Knowledge Exchange Day (aka “Knowledge Share Fair”) hosted by the OMAF & MRA and University of Guelph KTT partnership. A theme symposium this morning has been the shrinking number of actors working within knowledge systems related to agrifood. That is, we have fewer farmers, and fewer funded agricultural extension programs. We have learned that knowledge “doesn’t flow automatically” and that a healthy knowledge system needs continual care and feeding. We know that we need new ways of engaging in extension and KTT work, but we also need to recognize that there is no quick fix to these problems. KTT work is often slow, messy, and labour intensive. Worse, KTT is notoriously hard to evaluate to demonstrate “value” and observable systems-level impacts may take years. A necessary condition to successful KTT is interpersonal relationships. For KTT success, as one apple grower stated, “the value of face to face contact with end-users cannot be overstated”.
Midmorning, we gathered around small tables to discuss topics of common interest. At the “Universities’ Responsibilities and KTT” table, we talked about how to move from research to application, and how universities can facilitate this process. A message that came across clearly was that solving KTT problems require multidisciplinary efforts: we need to build spaces and time for conversations and crossing disciplinary and industry boundaries. Universities are a place where multiple forms of knowledge and inquiry are housed within a single institution. As one Masters of Engineering student pointed out, universities have a unique opportunity and therefore a unique responsibility to be able to host and convene multidisciplinary KTT efforts, moving from basic research to applicable research to application.
Should universities be multi-disciplinary KTT convenors? This is not how universities have traditionally operated, but everything we know about KTT tells us that complex problems cannot be solved in disciplinary isolation. Can universities be multi-disciplinary KTT convenors? Of course, and some are already moving in this direction. More substantive change may require researchers valuing KTT research and practice, and being rewarded for their KTT efforts. In addition, this would require changes to student training in many disciplines. New initiatives in cross-disciplinary training (e.g., partnerships between engineering and public health programs to address climate change) are a good starting place, but there are tensions between the slow speed of KTT work and student timelines that remain unresolved. Yet, the theme of the KE Day is that these are worthwhile changes to university practice, even if change is difficult.
For students, learning how to build relationships and partnerships with research users and stakeholders yields transferrable skills in project and relationship management. When these students leave the university, they are better versed in communication and outreach, and in integrating research, policy, and practice than students without KTT training. Students who take part in KTT projects are also more likely to be part of interdisciplinary networks on and off campus, and to value KTT as a standard practice.
The responsibility of the university to KTT is to look at evidence about how KTT training and practice can be facilitated. The university needs to engage with stakeholders, to listen to evidence about the needs of research users, faculty, and students and try to set policy that supports meaningful KTT practice.

Imagining Canada’s Future: Insights from the University of Guelph, a SSHRC Regional Event

Together with members of the Research Impact (RIR) partnership from Laurier, Carleton & York, the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES) at the University of Guelph, has secured funding for a SSHRC Future Challenges regional event.

This collaborative venture involves  four local events (one for each institutional partner), to be held on sequential days, all in the third week of March and all four events address the SSHRC Future Challenge “What knowledge do we need to thrive in an interconnected landscape and how can emerging technology help leverage that goal and its benefits?”

The UofG event will take place on Tuesday, March 18 from 4-6pm at Innovation Guelph.

Event Details:

Helen Hambly“Tackling A Wicked Problem: Digital Development in Rural Ontario”

The challenge of overcoming the digital divide between rural and urban areas has been the topic of a multi-layered community-university research partnership with highly practical interactions involving municipalities in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. Many rural communities realize that 21st century revitalization will involve socio-economic opportunities that are mediated by the Internet and mobile technologies. However, many public, private and civil society stakeholders agree that rural broadband is a ‘wicked problem’ defined as “the persistence of a status quo of divided interests, even in the face of the benefits to everyone from a change and the considerable risks to everyone from a lack of change.” This panel discusses the challenges and the opportunities of rural broadband deployment in Ontario, with comparisons to other communities across Canada who unite to in what some have called the “new Canadian dream” of digital inclusion and intelligent development.

Panel: Helen Hambly (Project Leader), Wilson Halder (MSc Candidate, SEDRD), Laxmi Pant (Post-Doctoral Researcher), Geoff Hogan, IT Director, Grey County (project partner), Campbell Patterson, City of Kingston/CPC Associates (project partner)

For more information and to register for the event, please see the event registration page or contact ices@uoguelph.ca

Knowledge mobilization or knowledge stewardship? The ethically complex research world of biobanks / « Mobilisation » ou « intendance » des connaissances? La complexité éthique de la recherche pour les biobanques

Anne Bergen1, Kieran O’Doherty2, and Bronwynne Wilton3, University of Guelph

This blog post was originally published on the Agri-Food and Rural Link blog on February 18, 2014 and is reposted here with permission.

Ce billet a été publié sur le blogue Agri-Food and Rural Link le 18 février 2014. Il est repris ici avec la permission des auteures.

As practitioners in the field of knowledge mobilization, we tend to work from the value assumption that research knowledge should be shared. And that knowledge should be shared as openly and freely as possible.  But what happens when researchers are working with genetically identifiable human tissue samples stored in biobanks?

On January 24, 2014, the Guelph Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) Community of Practice set out to explore this very question.  Dr. Kieran O’Doherty from the Department of Psychology at the University of Guelph walked the group through an eye-opening and informative presentation about the social and ethical implications of biobanks with regards to knowledge translation and transfer.

In the KTT field, we try to move information into active service as evidence-informed practice and policy. We also try to move community-level information and knowledge to inform research questions and directions. From a societal or ethical standpoint we can also see that some information is not always suitable for mobilization or dissemination – for example, identifiable information that violates research participants’ rights to privacy. The tensions between privacy and open data are particularly clear in the case of biobanks.

DNA

Image courtesy of dream designs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Genetic material is inherently identifiable – linked to each of us through DNA code.  Biobanks of human tissue are collections that may be used for research as well as other purposes (e.g., criminal investigations).  That is, biobanks allow researchers access to genetic material for research purposes, circumventing the need to recruit human participants. Although some biobanks have existed for decades, the combination of advances in genomics and  bioinformatics are opening up new avenues for research and health care, yielding genomic knowledge at both the individual and the sub-population or population level.

For the most part, research ethics policies have struggled to keep up with these advances. Current frameworks may both impede effective biobank operation and at the same time lack adequate protection for research participants. How would researchers ensure that there is informed consent for future and unknown use of a tissue sample? But how realistic is it to re-contact donors before each research project? Especially when samples collected may continue to be used decades after the original collection point?

Biobanks invoke a lot of difficult questions. A research project may incidentally discover that the donor of a particular tissue sample is at risk of disease. Would you want to be told if you are at risk? Would you be willing to keep your name associated with your tissue sample if you could be informed about such risks? What if that information was also shared with employers or insurance companies or linked to your health records? Do you retain ownership of tissue that you donate? What if the tissue is used in a discovery that makes a lot of money?

One concept that the Guelph KTT CoP group discussed that seemed to resonate with both the ethical challenges of research associated with biobanks and with the knowledge mobilization questions raised about this type of research was the notion of stewardship. By developing and maintaining carefully thought out stewardship plans for the genetic materials contained within the biobanks, the research and data management protocols, and the subsequent KTT activities coming out of the research, biobanks can play an important role in life science research.  The word stewardship, by its definition, implies the responsible and careful management of something entrusted to your care (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).  There are no single answers to the question that this discussion raised. But the dialogue and discussion of these issues as a society is essential as biobanks are an important part of our research futures. Mobilizing and stewarding knowledge, one genetic marker at a time.

1. Dr. Anne Bergen is the Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences and the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph

2. Dr. Kieran O-Doherty is an Assistant Professor, Applied Social Psychology, in the Department of Psychology, University of Guelph

3. Dr. Bronwynne Wilton is the Manager, Knowledge Mobilization and Communication Programs in the Office of Research, Strategic Partnerships at the University of Guelph

Practicing the Fine Art of Doing Nothing: A Knowledge Mobilizer’s Introduction to Open Space Facilitation / L’art subtil de ne rien faire : L’animation d’un forum ouvert expliquée par une courtière de connaissances

Lindsey Thomson, RIR-Guelph

Lindsey Thomson, Community Engaged Learning Manager at the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, University of Guelph, reflects on Open Space facilitation and knowledge mobilization.

Lindsey Thomson, responsable de l’apprentissage tourné vers la communauté à l’Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship de l’Université de Guelph, offre des pistes de réflexion sur l’animation d’un forum ouvert et la mobilisation des connaissances. 

Lindsey ThomsonBeing relatively new to the role of knowledge brokering and mobilization, I am often on the lookout for new skills and practices to enhance knowledge flows and the brokering of relationships – in my case, in the world of university-community collaborations in research at the University of Guelph.

Over the previous 8 years I have been fortunate enough to work my way up through school to achieve (and survive) a graduate level education which, not surprisingly, included multiple thesis projects, more course work and community research experience than I would have ever thought I could handle at one time, and eventually beginning my career in program evaluation. I believed that there was no way these experiences could not have prepared me well for my current career in knowledge mobilization. I believed that intervening with the major pieces of knowledge and skills I had acquired over the years was always necessary to facilitate successful partnerships in research. Much to my surprise, one Open Space Facilitation workshop I attended this month has led me to seriously reconsider this thought and instead feel that mastering the fine art of doing nothing at the right time and in the right place can sometimes be just as (if not more) valuable as jumping in and facilitating the heck out of a situation.

Okay, wait. So, after all of these years of education and training in individual and community-level interventions for the betterment of society and quality of life, I can effectively (and perhaps MORE effectively) facilitate community action and change by… doing… nothing? WOW.

Now, this was my initial reaction to the content of the workshop. Luckily, the story does not stop there and there is much more to ‘doing nothing’ as a facilitator at an Open Space event than one would initially assume.

Open Space Technology was born out of creator Harrison Owen’s observation that the most ‘useful’ part of conferences were often the coffee breaks. His goal with open space was to foster this same level of energy and self-organization of people and make this into an event in itself through meeting structures that encourage a more horizontal organization of people and their ideas (e.g. sitting in a circle, giving everyone the opportunity to post session topics, democratic prioritization of next steps, etc.). Rather than sending in a professional facilitator to lead discussions or spending hours upon hours devising a conference program, Owen instead decided that the full range of stakeholders in attendance should be responsible for setting their own agenda for the day (or multiple days). Situations that lend themselves well to Open Space Technology include a diverse group of participants who must deal with a complex issue for which no one has a single, clear answer.

The principles of open space technology are simple:

1. Whoever comes are the right people

2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.

3. When it starts is the right time

4. When it’s over it’s over

Informing the flow of the meeting and conduct of participants is also The Law of Two Feet: If you find yourself in a situation where you are not contributing or learning, move somewhere where you can.

Learning about Open Space has not prompted me to discount the learnings I have been privileged enough and worked hard (oh so very hard!) to accumulate over the years – it has simply sparked an important moment of questioning of some of the fundamental assumptions about what it has come to mean for me to be an effective social worker, facilitator, community researcher, and knowledge mobilizer.

The idea of ‘holding space’ and its contrast with more traditional ideas of facilitation was the big ‘take home’ message for me. To ‘hold space’ is to engage a leadership style that feels unfamiliar and is more concerned with being rather than doing. To ‘hold space’ is to be present in a fully authentic manner and to go let go of any attachment you may have to a certain set of outcomes for the meeting. In Open Space, knowledge mobilization is less about an innate urge innate urge to intervene and occupy a more traditional leadership role and instead is very much about the creation of important safe and open spaces for knowledge sharing, with the utmost trust in attendees to self-organize and to effectively and efficiently address issues most important to them.

As a knowledge mobilizer and broker it now feels very worthwhile, freeing, and advantageous to ‘hold space’ in which university-community collaborations can be shaped by those most impacted by their content and function. I look forward to incorporating the fine art of doing nothing into my current and future work as a knowledge mobilizer!

Sources:

Owen, H. 2008. Open space technology: A user’s guide (3rd Edition). Berrett-Koehler: San Francisco.

Corrigan,  C. (n. d.). Open space technology. Retrieved from www.grunt.ca/engage/assets/OST.pdf.

Practicing New Skills and New Vocabularies: Reflections on Student Training in Knowledge Mobilization: Part 2 / Nouvelles habiletés et nouveaux vocabulaires en pratique : réflexions sur la formation des étudiants en mobilisation des connaissances (2 e partie)

Rachel Salt, Brianne Brady, and Anne Bergen, Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, University of Guelph, www.theresearchshop.ca

Knowledge mobilization is an emerging field of practice, and there are currently relatively few explicit knowledge mobilization training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. However, this perceived gap is due, in part, to a naming problem – although relatively few students are aware of jargon related to KTT and KMb, students engage in KTT and KMb activities relatively often. At the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph, we are trying to overlay the vocabularies associated with KMb and KTT on student work related to curating, sharing, and exchanging information. In some cases, this takes the form of social media accounts, but this can also relate to logistics surrounding intra-organizational KMb – in this case, our in-house updates to graduate student interns. We present here two reflections on both beginning KMb work and labeling that work as KMb. This week we hear from Brianne Brady.

La mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) est un domaine qui émerge à peine dans le champ universitaire, et il existe à l’heure actuelle assez peu de possibilités de formation destinées aux étudiants des universités qui lui soient explicitement consacrées. Cependant, cette perception d’un manque est attribuable en partie à un problème de dénomination : bien que le jargon de la mobilisation, de la transmission ou de l’application des connaissances ne soit familier qu’à un nombre relativement restreint d’étudiants, ceux-ci mènent pourtant assez souvent des activités qui relèvent de ces domaines. À l’Université de Guelph, l’Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship s’efforce donc de recouper le vocabulaire de la mobilisation et de la transmission des connaissances avec celui de travaux d’étudiants qui portent sur l’organisation, la diffusion et l’échange d’information. Dans certains cas, cela prend la forme de comptes rendus dans les médias sociaux. Mais cela peut concerner également la logistique de la MdC au sein d’une même organisation, et prendre la forme, comme c’est le cas ici, des mises à jour que nous préparons à l’interne pour nos stagiaires des cycles supérieurs. Les deux commentaires que nous présentons abordent à la fois les premières étapes d’un travail de MdC et la reconnaissance de ce travail en tant que mobilisation des connaissances. Nous accueillons cette semaine Brianne Brady.

Knowledge Mobilization Experience From an Undergraduate Student’s Perspective – Brianne Brady

University of GuelphI am a third year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in Psychology: Brain and Cognition with a minor in Family and Child Studies at the University of Guelph.  This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work as a knowledge mobilization assistant. I worked for an incredible individual who was passionate about her job as a knowledge mobilization specialist and explaining what knowledge mobilization is all about.

I worked for the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario. I facilitated the distribution of information and updates through email to graduate student interns. The graduate students were interns who volunteered about five hours a week in community-based research and knowledge mobilization positions. I compiled information about new and upcoming opportunities potentially of interest to the graduate students. I used email communication to transmit the information from those who sent it to me to those who could benefit from having the information.  The graduate student interns were sent information about upcoming jobs, volunteer positions, conferences and other opportunities in knowledge mobilization.

Working as a knowledge mobilization assistant, I gained many new experiences and new skills. My communication skills were enhanced through this experience as I used email communications to relay the information. My organization skills improved through my experience this summer as I had to organize the information is a coherent manner. I gained a basic understanding of the importance and advantages of sharing knowledge and research between individuals and organizations. I learned how to effectively compile information and organize the information. I gained skills in knowledge mobilization and I gained skills in understanding how to connect people and information.

Through my experience as a knowledge mobilization assistant, I gained a basic understanding of the importance and advantages of sharing knowledge and research between individuals and organizations. This summer, I experienced the bridging of the gap between knowledge and application. Working as a knowledge mobilization assistant I also gained a better understanding of the opportunities available within my field of study. This experience allowed me to discover knowledge mobilization as an entire new field of work that I did not previously know about. I discovered this interesting field which I might now purse as I further my education. Knowledge mobilization is an amazing area of work because it helps bridge the gap between people and information as well as it connects people. I learned about how when people share information it creates a community of people and everyone within the community benefits from the information sharing. When people share information everyone involved benefits from the connections and information and this I learned through my experience as a knowledge mobilization assistant this summer.

This experience was truly an enriching experience and the best experience I have had thus far in my undergraduate degree.

Practicing New Skills and New Vocabularies: Reflections on Student Training in Knowledge Mobilization: Part 1 / Nouvelles habiletés et nouveaux vocabulaires en pratique : réflexions sur la formation des étudiants en mobilisation des connaissances (1re partie)

Rachel Salt, Brianne Brady, and Anne Bergen, Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, University of Guelph, www.theresearchshop.ca

Knowledge mobilization is an emerging field of practice, and there are currently relatively few explicit knowledge mobilization training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. However, this perceived gap is due, in part, to a naming problem – although relatively few students are aware of jargon related to KTT and KMb, students engage in KTT and KMb activities relatively often. At the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph, we are trying to overlay the vocabularies associated with KMb and KTT on student work related to curating, sharing, and exchanging information. In some cases, this takes the form of social media accounts, but this can also relate to logistics surrounding intra-organizational KMb – in this case, our in-house updates to graduate student interns. We present here two reflections on both beginning KMb work and labeling that work as KMb. This week we hear from Rachel Salt and next week we will hear from Brianne Brady.

La mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) est un domaine qui émerge à peine dans le champ universitaire, et il existe à l’heure actuelle assez peu de possibilités de formation destinées aux étudiants des universités qui lui soient explicitement consacrées. Cependant, cette perception d’un manque est attribuable en partie à un problème de dénomination : bien que le jargon de la mobilisation, de la transmission ou de l’application des connaissances ne soit familier qu’à un nombre relativement restreint d’étudiants, ceux-ci mènent pourtant assez souvent des activités qui relèvent de ces domaines. À l’Université de Guelph, l’Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship s’efforce donc de recouper le vocabulaire de la mobilisation et de la transmission des connaissances avec celui de travaux d’étudiants qui portent sur l’organisation, la diffusion et l’échange d’information. Dans certains cas, cela prend la forme de comptes rendus dans les médias sociaux. Mais cela peut concerner également la logistique de la MdC au sein d’une même organisation, et prendre la forme, comme c’est le cas ici, des mises à jour que nous préparons à l’interne pour nos stagiaires des cycles supérieurs. Les deux commentaires que nous présentons abordent à la fois les premières étapes d’un travail de MdC et la reconnaissance de ce travail en tant que mobilisation des connaissances. Nous accueillons cette semaine Rachel Salt, et la semaine prochaine, Brianne Brady.

Social Media and Knowledge Mobilization: A Graduate Student’s Perspective – Rachel Salt

When I was offered a position to manage two professional twitter accounts I was very grateful and excited; but I was also intensely fearful and a bit of a skeptic.  Before I jump into my experience as a Social Media Manager, some background on the programs I tweeted for:

University of GuelphAs a graduate student at the University of Guelph (and former undergraduate student) I wanted to find ways to help give back to the city that had given so much to me, so I began interning at the Research Shop.  The Research Shop acts as a portal between community and university research needs, where interns work with community partners to identify and address problems, which range from sustainable food to transforming social systems.  The Research Shop operates under the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES).  ICES builds capacity for community-engaged scholarship by strengthening faculty and student engagement with local, national and international communities of interest, addressing faculty reward and development, and training faculty and students in knowledge mobilization.

After a year of interning, I was offered a position to manage the accounts for the Research Shop (@Researchshop) and ICES (@ICESGuelph).  I was so excited by the opportunity, but nervous as well.  I had never sent a tweet in my life!  What was the purpose of hashtags?  What did RT and MT mean?  I was also nervous about the position because I was honestly a bit skeptical about Twitter itself – wasn’t that just a place for celebrities to pick fights with one another, or a place for people to broadcast the restaurant they were eating at?

Before I started to write tweets I did some preliminary research.  I quickly discovered how my constricted assumptions about what Twitter is were way off.  There are social media ethics, strategies, proper tone, how often to tweet, what to tweet, and when to tweet.  Twitter is serious business.

twitter birdMy first few tweets took an embarrassingly long amount of time to construct.   I had so much I wanted to say and so little space to say it.  However, the learning curve was not too steep and I soon began to get the hang of it.  My boss and knowledge mobilization guru, Dr. Anne Bergen, set me up on HootSuite a social media management site.  For me, this made tweeting a lot easier.  I liked being able to schedule when my tweets went out, for example, if I found an interesting article on community engaged scholarship Sunday night I could schedule a tweet to go out at a higher traffic time on Monday morning (I learned that the best times to send academic tweets are between 10-11AM and 2-3PM – which happens to coincide with a lot of people’s coffee break!). Using HootSuite I was able to track the mention of relevant hashtags on twitter, such as #KMb, #CES, or #KTT.  I also liked that I could attach pdf’s and word documents.  I stopped thinking about tweets being only 140 characters of information and started thinking of them as 140 character bylines leading readers to find out more.  Before this experience I was unfamiliar with the terms ‘knowledge mobilization’ and ‘knowledge translation’.  Through this experience I have gained a much better grasp of what this is (via ‘following’ professionals in the field and reading the articles they share), and I’ve also realized what an effective knowledge mobilization tool social media can be.

This experience taught me so many different things.  I became more aware of events and activities going on in my community and started to hear about conferences, people, and organizations from around the world, which in the past I had not known existed.  Twitter is also an excellent format to share grey literature and update people on how a project is progressing.  In my personal life I find myself using twitter as my first source for news updates.  I’ve even started my own semi-professional personal twitter account, which I use to follow people I admire, look for work, and share information about projects I am involved in.  As a recent graduate and on the hunt for full-time work, I’ve been shocked at how many positions require professional experience in social media.  This speaks volumes about how important an effective social media presence is, and how former skeptics like me can no longer ignore this powerful tool.

Slowing Down for Speed Bumps: Reflecting on a Knowledge Mobilization Metaphor / Ralentir à cause des dos d’âne : réflexion sur une métaphore de la mobilisation des connaissances

Anne Bergen, RIR – University of Guelph

This post is a reflection on the metaphor of “speed bumps” in knowledge mobilization, and was the product of several over-lappng KMb networks. That is, I wrote the post immediately after the June 2013 Knowledge Mobilization Forum, as part of my participation in the KMb Hub of the Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) project. This post originally appeared on the “CFICE To Say” blog.

Ce billet est une réflexion sur la métaphore des dos d’âne dans la mobilisation des connaissances. Il est le produit du chevauchement de plusieurs réseaux de MdC. Je l’ai écrit tout juste après le Forum 2013 sur la mobilisation des connaissances comme une contribution au regroupement pour la MdC du projet Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE). Ce billet a été publié originalement sur le blogue “CFICE To Say“.

Sign saying Speed Bump AheadIt’s conference season, which means that it’s time to learn new practices and reflect on old practices. After one day meeting with the @ResearchImpact collaboration (http://www.researchimpact.ca/) and two days thinking about knowledge mobilization at the 2013 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum (#ckf13; http://www.knowledgemobilization.net/), I’m still going through an internal process of synthesizing and contextualizing the things I’ve learned.

One of the most salient themes that I’ve taken away from these three days of learning is that barriers to effective knowledge mobilization can often be better conceptualized as speed bumps[1]. Thinking through this metaphor, speed bumps force you to slow down, but speed bumps are necessary for improved practice (i.e., safe driving/effective knowledge mobilization). That is, “speed bumps” on the way to institutional and organizational culture change, building new relationships, and finding better ways to share and act upon knowledge promote mindful and intentional action: if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to get a surprise. Speed bumps give you a jolt – and force you to change your behaviour. In the field of knowledge mobilization, we need to create new pathways and strengthen old pathways between and within networks.

At the same time, we must remain mindful of the capacity of the neighbourhood for new traffic. Building four lanes of information into the heart of a community is not a helpful form of knowledge dissemination and exchange. Rather, we must think about the needs of end users (and co-creaters) of knowledge, and proceed carefully to minimize the impact of speed bumps.

To push the metaphor further, speed bumps are easier to navigate if we have a co-pilot. We shouldn’t be trying to solve knowledge mobilization problems by ourselves, because knowledge mobilization problems are not individual difficulties. Working within multiple interlinked networks, building trusting relationships, and learning to work with multiple and diverse stakeholders helps us map the road ahead so we can start to predict speed bumps, slow down, and glide over what could have been a barrier.

[1] Thanks for this wording to Kelly Warmington, Knowledge Translation Specialist at The Hospital for Sick Children & Sacha Geer,  Knowledge Translation Specialist for the Partnerships in Dementia Care Alliance

Communities of Practice and Communities of Definition / Communautés de pratique et communautés de définition

Bronwynne Wilton* & Anne Bergen**, RIR-University of Guelph

What happens when a diverse group of academics and government staff get together to discuss the role of the knowledge broker in the research to action cycle?  Lots of different opinions of course!  And this is exactly what happened at a recent meeting of the Guelph Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) Community of Practice. But perhaps, the more we differ, the more we might actually have in common.

Que se passe-t-il lorsqu’un groupe hétérogène formé de chercheurs et de travailleurs de la fonction publique se réunit afin de discuter du rôle de courtier de connaissances dans le cycle recherche-action. Un foule d’opinions diverses, évidemment! Et c’est exactement ce qui s’est produit lors d’une récente rencontre de la Communauté de pratique sur le circulation et le transfert des connaissances de Guelph. Peut-être qu’en fait, plus grandes sont les différences, plus le potentiel d’avoir quelque chose en commun est grand.  

A variety of cables and connectors“I see myself as a connector” commented one participant in a recent meeting of the Guelph Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) Community of Practice.  Another saw themselves as a facilitator of researcher-stakeholder collaborations while a third person noted their role as being something of a bridge between high quality information from extensive data sets and the general public.  This cross-section of roles at the first Guelph KTT Community of Practice meeting of the year demonstrates the wide variety of both individuals and perspectives within the emerging field of knowledge mobilization (KMb).

With the starting point of an interesting post on the Knowledge Brokers’ Forum (Lock, 2013) about the roles and identities that knowledge brokers might take on – the Guelph KTT CoP discussion was off to a great start.

Participants’ self-defined roles and professional identities spanned the continuum of KTT/KMb: some work as knowledge brokers, others as knowledge synthesizers and translators, some in technology transfer, some develop and promote toolkits to engage the public and others carry out primary research and wonder about non-traditional forms of knowledge dissemination.

As highlighted in the multiple and often diverse collaborative definitions within the “What is KT” wiki referenced above, within the CoP, the language we use to define our professional identities might reflect where our KTT/KMb work is situated. Moreover, the language we use to define our professional identities may also reflect some of the major barriers to doing that work. The ways in which we practice KTT/KMb, and the ways in which we talk about this work, depends very much on our institutional cultures. People working in the human health and veterinarian science side of KTT, talk about the difficulties of reaching “end users” with synthesized and translated best practices. In contrast, the words “stakeholders” and “research partners” were used more frequently by participants from both the agricultural and social science fields.  This may reflect the increasingly important and necessary process of collaboratively defining a research problem early on in the research cycle.

One of the key topics discussed was the ways in which a knowledge broker might actively engage their audience(s) in the research process to encourage more uptake of research results.  There was general agreement that more effective uptake of knowledge is associated with earlier end-user or stakeholder involvement and engagement, not only in the “results dissemination” phase of research, but throughout the research process.  However, this approach was challenged by a question about when ‘science’ is ready for end-user uptake, whether that be informing policy or affecting practice or programs, and when is there a need to simply inform the next cycle of scientific inquiry on a given topic.  In other words, pivotal questions for many practicing in the KTT/KMb area are “when is the body of knowledge on a given issue robust enough to inform decision-making?” and “who makes that call?”.

These points emphasize the importance of effective knowledge synthesis and translation in the knowledge mobilization process. In terms of our roles as knowledge brokers, do we carry out this synthesis and translation work? Or is this activity one that should be undertaken by the researcher?  It is also worthwhile to acknowledge the concern that any uptake by the media or interest by the general public might result in misrepresentation of the research. Where multiple audiences exist, there may be tensions between tailored messages aimed at the public and those targeted towards specialized practitioners.

Considering the complexity and the multiple dimensions of accelerating the uptake of knowledge from research, we might view the knowledge broker role as both a gatekeeper on the quality of the knowledge to be disseminated, and simultaneously, as a facilitator of relationships between researchers and end-users.  The Guelph KTT CoP discussed the importance of trust and credibility between researchers and stakeholders, and more broadly, with the general public as well.  Understanding and managing expectations among the various partners and audiences in the knowledge creation process was also viewed as a key role for the knowledge broker to play.

The richness of this discussion between such a diverse cross-section of government and academia representatives demonstrates the real value of crossing our institutional, departmental, and disciplinary boundaries to talk about the intersections between knowledge creation and knowledge uptake.   With open minds to share our collective experiences, we can continue to inform and improve our practices in our respective areas of interest.

References

Knowledge Brokering (n.d.). In What is KT Wiki. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://whatiskt.wikispaces.com/Knowledge+Brokering

Knowledge Dissemination (n.d.). In What is KT Wiki. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://whatiskt.wikispaces.com/Knowledge+Dissemination

Knowledge Synthesis (n.d.). In What is KT Wiki. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://whatiskt.wikispaces.com/Knowledge+Synthesis

Knowledge Translation (n.d.). In What is KT Wiki. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://whatiskt.wikispaces.com/Knowledge+Translation

Knowledge Transfer (n.d.). In What is KT Wiki. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://whatiskt.wikispaces.com/Knowledge+Transfer

Lock, D. (2013, January 7). Professional identities. Message posted to http://www.knowledgebrokersforum.org/wiki/514122

*Bronwynne Wilton is the Manager of the OMAF and MRA- University of Guelph Knowledge Mobilization and Communication Programs for the Office of Research, Strategic Partnerships at the University of Guelph.

**Anne Bergen is the Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator for the College of Social and Applied Sciences and the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship at the University of Guelph.

Originally posted at http://bit.ly/ZgDRdi  reposted with permission.

Winter Weather Knowledge Mobilization / Mobilisation des connaissances hivernale

Erin Nelson, RIR-Guelph

Erin Nelson is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph’s ICES/The Research Shop. A specialist in food security and sustainable food systems, one of the projects she is currently coordinating focuses on supporting efforts in Ontario to connect children and youth to good food, through experiential education, school meal programs, and other innovative endeavours.

Erin Nelson est stagiaire post-doctorale à l’ICES/The Research Shop de l’Université de Guelph. Spécialiste en sécurité alimentaire et en systèmes alimentaires durables, elle coordonne présentement un projet ontarien qui soutient les efforts de mise en contact des enfants et des jeunes avec la nourriture saine. Cela se fait à travers l’éducation expérientielle, les programmes alimentaires scolaires et d’autres initiatives innovantes.

Many people probably remember this past February 8th – the day that Winter Storm Nemo (or “Snowpocalypse”) hit Ontario, shutting down roads, leaving people stranded in airports, and causing school closures, among other things. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph’s Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES), my normal reaction to the university’s decision to close due to extreme weather would be glee. (I truly love my job but, as a lifelong winter enthusiast, I love a good snow day as well.) Unfortunately, February 8th was the day I had scheduled the “Say ‘Yes!’ to Good Food Education Design Charrette” – the cornerstone event of a KTT project I’m coordinating.

Erin Nelson wearing cross-country skis

Erin Nelson

With funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) KTT Funding Program (part of the Ministry’s partnership with the University of Guelph), the Good Food Education Project involves collaborative research and KTT to promote efforts aimed at connecting children and youth in Ontario to ‘good food’, or food that is healthy for people, the environment, and the province’s farm economy. The main community collaborators on the project are Sustain Ontario, Ontario Agri-Food Education (OAFE), FoodShare, and Everdale Organic Farm and Environmental Learning Centre; however, many more stakeholders from Ontario’s food education sector – from teachers and school boards, to public health units, to non-profit agencies, to policy-makers – have been involved as well, and much of the project work is being done by volunteer graduate student interns at ICES’ ‘Research Shop’. All of us were incredibly excited to be coming together for a full day of networking, information-sharing, and collaborative planning, so the 6am announcement of a snow day – and automatic cancellation of the event – was a big disappointment.

By 8:00 am I had checked in with Sustain Ontario Director Ravenna Nuaimy-Barker. She was already in Guelph, along with steering committee members of Ontario’s new Child and Youth Food Network, who had travelled from across the province for a day of strategic planning ahead of the charrette. They were all gathered at their hotel, so we decided to make some knowledge mobilization happen in spite of a winter storm’s best efforts to stop us. I strapped on my cross-country skis and headed out to meet them. My frustration at the weather’s bad timing was alleviated by the cheerful encouragement I received from passersby as I made my way through the snowy streets to the Best Western, where I arrived somewhat disheveled  with a thick coating of ice on my hair. The journey was well worth it, as I had the chance to engage face-to-face with people who have a direct stake in the food education work we are doing. They were enthusiastic about the research that has been done to date – eager to share results online and use them to aid their action planning. That enthusiasm, and everyone’s evident passion for good food education, was infectious, passing to me and, at a meeting the following week, to the project interns. We are all now busy planning for the rescheduled charrette, which will be held Friday, April 19th at Guelph’s Arboretum Centre.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the event, or the Good Food Education project in general, feel free to contact me. I’m also happy to provide tips on extreme winter weather knowledge mobilization strategies.

A Scottish Visit to Canada / Une visite écossaise au Canada

Sian Ringrose, Scottish Agricultural College

In June 2012, Sian Ringrose from the Scottish Agricultural College visited Canada for some professional development in knowledge mobilization and rural policy. She spent one week with RIR-York and one week with RIR-Guelph. She also attended a rural policy school in Quebec and then some play time in New York City.  She tells her story below.

En juin 2012, Sian Ringrose, du Scottish Agricultural College, a visité le Canada à des fins de développement professionnel en mobilisation des connaissances et en politiques rurales. Elle a passé une semaine en compagnie de RIR-York et une autre avec RIR-Guelph. Elle a également assisté, au Québec, à une École d’été sur les politiques rurales en plus de séjourner quelques temps dans la ville de New York. Elle raconte son histoire ci-bas.

I recently returned to the UK from a month long visit to the provinces of Québec and Ontario, Canada.  This was a welcome change from my usual base at SAC (Scottish Agricultural College) in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was rather damp and chilly when I left in Mid-June.

On a knowledge transfer and exchange grant from the Farmer’s Club Charitable Trust Fund I was on a quest to learn about international rural policy, knowledge mobilization (KMb) and integrating research with knowledge translation and transfer programmes.  A particular aspect of my trip was to identify ways in which young people can be encouraged into agriculture, and to highlight the variety of agricultural and rural job opportunities available to young people today.

My tour of Canada began in the city of Montréal, Québec.  I was to attend a two week summer school on International Comparative Rural Policy (ICRPS). Staying in the Grey Nun’s Residences, of Concordia’s University I quickly realised the joys of air conditioning, and the discomfort of high temperatures twinned with high humidity!

Over the next three days we had guest speakers from; Rio Tinto-Alcan (the worlds largest producers of Aluminium); the Union des producterus agricoles (UPA – the UK’s equivalent of the National Farming Union) to sustainable food systems in the Montréal Region.  After living the city life we headed North to Québec City, then onwards to the more rural North-East town of Rimouski.

After two weeks travelling through rural Québec we eventually landed back in Montréal just in time for the end of the Jazz festival.  Definitely worth the visit for anyone who likes to sit outside in the sun, with a glass of wine listening to free musical performances – and a welcomed break after 14 straight days of work.

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How I Became a Knowledge Mobilizer / Comment je suis devenu une mobilisatrice de connaissances

Shawna Reibling, RIR – Guelph

Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator at the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES) at the University of Guelph, describes her journey to becoming a knowledge mobilizer.

Shawna Reibling, Coordonnatrice de la mobilisation des connaissances à l’Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES) de l’Université de Guelph, décrit le cheminement qui l’a menée à devenir mobilisatrice de connaissances.

I discovered to the field of knowledge mobilization by way of biology. In my Grade 11 year of high school I was a naturalist assistant in Neys Provincial Park. In this position I discovered that sharing hands-on knowledge about lichen, garter snakes and lamprey, was something that park visitors could appreciate. The ability to share the information about the wonders of the park, to transfer knowledge, was my passion. Recently, when I was writing a clear language summary of Dr. Hanner’s work entitled “Genetic calibration of species diversity among North America’s freshwater fishes”, he mentioned lamprey and I was immediately engaged – there is still so much to learn about fresh water ecosystems. This is one of the drivers of a knowledge mobilizer – the desire to spread information and allow people to wonder with you.  Engaging knowledge translation and exchange may lead to co-creation of knowledge. Did some of those kids who held the garter snake go on to be biologists, working with park rangers?

First panel shows a person looking at a flower questioningly and reads "Step One: Wonder at Something...". Second panel shows many people looking at the same flower and reads "Step Two: Invite Others to Wonder with You..."

I rediscovered knowledge mobilization in graduate school. My work at the School of Communication  at Simon Fraser University focused on technology policy and analysis. I was assigned was to write a mock SSHRC grant to fund my thesis proposal and convince a Committee that my thesis was fundable. The classic “So what? For whom?” questions of knowledge mobilization were made clear to me in my first steps as a researcher. I believe that it is never too early to embed knowledge mobilization in education!

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Clear Language Research Summaries Go National! / Les résumés de recherches en langage clair à l’échelle nationale!

By Shawna Reibling (ResearchImpact, University of Guelph)

Clear Language Research Summaries are designed to remove jargon and create a description of a peer-reviewed  discovery that’s easy to understand.  Students and personnel from across the University of Guelph will be trained by York University in clear language writing techniques, beginning to write in September 2011.

Les résumés de recherche en langage clair ont pour objectif d’éviter le jargon scientifique et de fournir un résumé d’une recherche validée par les pairs qui sera facilement compris. Des étudiants ainsi que des membres du personnel de l’Université de Guelph recevront une formation offerte par l’Université de York sur les technique d’écriture en langage clair. L’écriture débutera en septembre 2011.

Two ResearchImpact member universities: University of Guelph and York University, are working together to create 144 clear language research summaries of peer-reviewed journal articles about research happening at the University of Guelph.

Working with the University of Guelph Atrium digital repository, and ResearchImpact local knowledge brokers, research summaries will then be made available throughout the ResearchImpact network (see figure below), for practitioners and members of the public to read. Farmers in British Columbia might be interested in research about the work of tree fruit expert Jayasankar Subramanian. Or the project “Nutraceutical Research on Local Berries in Central Labrador for the Development of New Activities in the Region”, based out of Memorial University,  might be looking for a partner at the University of Guelph Vineland Research Station. Profiling published research from across the university and making it accessible throughout a wide dissemination network, will allow ResearchImpact and the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship to engage further, with more clarity, into what Canadian communities are curious to learn more about.  Visit the website, Clear Language Research Summaries: Moving From Peer-Review to Public-View for more information.

The project was supported by the Agri-Food and Rural Link, a program of Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Foods and Rural Affairs.

A program of the OMAFRA-U of G Partnership.

Please contact Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator at the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship for more information.

Via ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche, clear language research summaries will be more widely accessible