Knowledge Mobilization Within Large Scale Science Projects – January 23, 2018 – Waterloo, ON

This event is being hosted by the Guelph/Kitchener Waterloo Knowledge Translation and Transfer Community of Practice. For more information, please visit their website at


This moderated panel discussion will draw on the experiences of the panel, with discussion questions raised with the audience to identify the practices and challenges to knowledge mobilization within large scale, multi-stakeholder projects. Please bring your questions and success stories involving large scale projects.
This moderated panel discussion will draw on the experiences of the panel, with discussion questions raised with the audience to identify the practices and challenges to knowledge mobilization within large scale, multi-stakeholder projects. Please bring your questions and success stories involving large scale projects.

Date: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30-8:00 PM
Location: One King North, Waterloo ON

5:30pm networking
6pm panel presentation
7pm Q&A


Kara Hearne, Knowledge Mobilizer, Global Water Futures, University of Waterloo

Kara is a Knowledge Mobilization Specialist with the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute. She supports the Global Water Futures program as part of the Knowledge Mobilization core team, working with project teams to plan and implement knowledge co-production and collaboration activities with research partners.

Kara comes to the Global Water Futures team with a background in environmental consulting, where she worked as a project manager and environmental planner. With a focus on leading large-scale environmental assessments, she specialized in building, managing, and coordinating large multidisciplinary teams for projects in various sectors, and regularly functioned as the primary liaison with private industry, government agencies, the public, and Indigenous communities.

Comfortable with the dynamic of working as part of a large team on complex projects with significant stakeholder interest, Kara has extensive experience in working with subject matter experts to tailor project plans and deliverables to meet the needs of end users; identifying the right people and bringing them together to solve multidisciplinary problems; and in the synthesis and summary of technical information for the purpose of supporting decision-making.

Simon Landry, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, Vision: Science to Application (VISTA), York University

Stephanie Merrill, Knowledge Mobilizer, Global Water Futures, University of Saskatchewan

Stephanie joins the Global Water Futures Program from the east coast where she was the communications coordinator for the Canadian Rivers Institute (University of New Brunswick). Previously, she was the director of the freshwater protection program for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Stephanie graduated from University of New Brunswick in 2009 with a MSc. in Forestry and Environmental Management and in 2004 with a BSc. in Biology (Aquatic Ecology).

She has extensive experience in knowledge mobilization and water policy while working alongside rural and urban watershed groups, indigenous and settler community organizations, academic scientists and government departments. She is currently an appointed member of the minister’s working group on watershed management in New Brunswick.

Elizabeth Shantz, Knowledge Mobilization Manager, Food from Thought, University of Guelph

As Knowledge Mobilization Manager in the University of Guelph’s Research Innovation Office, Elizabeth facilitates the two-way exchange of information between researchers and end users on the Food from Thought program. She focuses on developing and implementing effective knowledge mobilization strategies, facilitating strong partnerships, clearly communicating knowledge, and demonstrating the impact of research.

Elizabeth Shantz has worked in the field of knowledge mobilization since 2010, most recently as the Knowledge Mobilization and Training Manager at Canadian Water Network. She has learned about knowledge mobilization best practices as a community engaged scholar and by working closely with researchers and stakeholders at all levels of government, industry and NGOs. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with an MASc in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (2011) and a BA in English and Psychology (2009).

Andrew Spring, Research Associate, Northern Canada Knowledge Networks, Northern Water Futures, Wilfrid Laurier University

As part of the Northern Water Futures project, a major multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research project led by Wilfrid Laurier University and funded by the Global Water Futures program, Andrew Spring liaises between researchers, northern communities and organizations to build broad networks of researchers, communities, and decision-makers to help facilitate knowledge transfer and communication between all parties.

He is currently completing his PhD at Wilfrid Laurier University where he conducts research focused on food security in Canada’s Northwest Territories. His work explores the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of food security and food sovereignty, climate change and pressures exerted on country food and traditional economic activity in Indigenous communities.

Andrew has a diverse background in sustainability and the environment. Trained as an environmental engineer (MASc Toronto), his expertise is creating innovative programs to engage communities in sustainable planning or environmental conservation. Working with a diverse group of stakeholders, he aims to expand Laurier’s capacity to conduct research that meets the needs of people in the North.

Moderator: Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilizer, Wilfrid Laurier University

Register Now!

The Advantages of Live Tweeting a Research Talk

This week’s guest post comes from Dr. Allison McDonald, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. This post first appeared on her DoctorAl blog on April 14, 2015 and is reposted here with permission.

twitter birdLast week the undergraduate and graduate students in our department delivered 15-20 minute research talks at our departmental colloquium. The person who administers our departmental Twitter account @LaurierBiology asked if I would live tweet the talks occurring on the second morning of the colloquium. I agreed and wasn’t sure how this experiment would turn out.

I was a relatively late adopter of Twitter. I’ve only had an account since December 2013 and while I post to Twitter @AEMcDonaldWLU regularly to advertise my blog posts I am certainly not using it to the full extent of the platform’s capabilities. I am slowly mastering the art of the hashtag. I went into the experience of live Tweeting fully expecting that I would be distracted and therefore wouldn’t take in most of the content of the talks.

You can therefore imagine my surprise at how helpful it was to live Tweet a research talk. It forced me to pay attention to the speaker and their content, but it also required me to synthesize and report the major points of their talk in a succinct manner. There is nothing like being limited to 140 characters to force you to be brief and to the point.

I can’t say that I will always live Tweet talks from now on, but I will certainly consider the idea moving forward. I used to assume that people who were using Twitter during research talks at conferences were being rude and not paying attention. Now I know that a fraction of those people are very actively engaged with the speaker, but in a non-traditional way.

Anyone else want to share their experiences with live Tweeting a research talk? Any other benefits or drawbacks that I’ve missed here?

Researchers and Knowledge Mobilizers Both Know: Food is Important / Les chercheurs et les agents de mobilisation le savent : la bouffe, ça compte

Shawna Reibling, RIR – Laurier

Sometimes when mobilizing knowledge and brokering relationships, it is the environment and soft skills that make for a positive interaction. Knowledge mobilization and brokering can take place over the dinner table. 

Quand il s’agit de mobiliser [s1] les connaissances et de tisser des échanges, il arrive que ce soit l’ambiance et le savoir-être – les compétences relationnelles – qui transforment une rencontre en interaction décisive. La mobilisation et le courtage des connaissances se font aussi autour de la table.

Alison Blay-Palmer“Farmers’ markets sell good quality, fresh food. There is a shorter food chain and consumers know where it’s coming from,” says Alison Blay-Palmer, a local food researchers and co-Director of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.

Blay-Palmer is being recognized as one of three finalists for an award recognizing her partnerships with the community. She is working with local farmers, exploring how to improve opportunities for farmers to increase their capacity for making local food sustainable and viable. The award is being offered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The winner will be announced in October in Montreal.

“Food is a social vehicle and it makes connections with people,” Blay-Palmer has commented. This is true both in her research, but also for the work of knowledge mobilization. Having a welcoming space for people wanting to learn about your work includes: comfortable chairs, chairs that work for people with disabilities, food, drink and a good temperature. These are all parts of the “set up” of brokering a relationship between two people, or an information sharing seminar for 20 people.

Picture of vegetables, a farmers market and a goat

These soft-skills and environmental factors of good relationship building are critical to good knowledge mobilization, as well as good facilitation.

What other lessons can we learn from the dinner table that we can apply to knowledge mobilization work?

For more information about Alison’s work please visit:

Knowledge Mobilization for New Graduate Students / La mobilisation des connaissances et les étudiants des cycles supérieurs

Shawna Reibling, RIR – Laurier

Educating new graduate students about knowledge mobilization is a good way to educate the next generation of professors about knowledge mobilization principles and ensure that graduate students are prepared to make a difference in the world. 

En faisant connaître la mobilisation des connaissances à ceux et celles qui commencent leurs études supérieures, on se trouve à former la prochaine génération de professeurs aux principes de la MdC, tout en préparant ces étudiants à agir concrètement dans le monde. 

Photo from the workshopThis year Wilfrid Laurier University has taken knowledge mobilization education to a new generation of graduate students – those just beginning their programs. At Laurier there are many programs that have direct community based work embedded in the curriculum: community psychology, social work, music therapy, entrepreneurship, etc. These programs have outreach, community involvement, community based research and social innovation all incorporated into their programs and course work.

But beyond this, the hunger for making research relevant to people in the community extends beyond such focused, applied programs. When offering skills to these new graduate students, I collaborated with my colleague in the library Michael Steeleworthy, on a presentation entitled: “Your digital footprint: what does the internet know about digital (professional) you?

This workshop was meant to get new graduate students to think about their identities online, how they wanted to incorporate knowledge mobilization into their program of study through social media.

We are also extending this training to our faculty, offering a workshop “How to organize your online identity” in October. Please visit to register and see our workshops.

As part of these presentations we also equipped students with some guidelines around “building your research-related skills to drive your success

These skills include knowledge mobilization tools and techniques including reaching out to communities, engaging and listening to audiences for your research, writing clear language summaries, etc. To prepare for this workshop we asked Twitter for advice: “What advice do you have for graduate students just beginning to do knowledge mobilization?” Here are the answers:

  • @abbaspeaks “easier to motivate graduate students into early #KM, funding often hinges on it”
  • @mobilizemichael and @eldancos agreed with advice to “engage community and/or policy leaders so research question is well rooted #integratedkmb

I turn it over to you readers, what advice do you have for graduate students just beginning to do knowledge mobilization?

Knowledge Mobilization and Communications / La mobilisation des connaissances et la communication

Michael Johnny, RIR-York

There is a relationship between knowledge mobilization and communications but it is unclear and is highly contextual.  Within the last month there has been much discussion on this.

Il y a un lien entre la mobilisation des connaissances et la communication, mais il n’est pas clair et hautement influencé par le contexte. Au cours du dernier mois, il y a eu beaucoup de discussion à ce sujet.

Picture of message bubblesApril 16, 2013.  For me, it was one of the most nerve-wracking presentations I have ever given.  I was speaking to a room full of communications professionals at York University about the intersections of Knowledge Mobilization and Communications.  There are two reasons why I was feeling nervous: first, it is awkward to talk to professionals about their work when you’re not intimately familiar with it, and second, I had some very direct and constructive criticism for both our offices.  The talk opened up new opportunities for collaboration and engagement and was the spark of new interesting developments around two interesting professionals and concepts.

Rewind the calendar a few days.  It was on April 12 that our office hosted one of our traditional KM in the AM events with the topic of discussion being The Role of Knowledge Brokers.  It was a great event, well represented from members of the KTECoP.  An interesting question was raised from the audience, “what are the differences between knowledge mobilization and communications”.  Well, the conversation was suddenly co-opted by a spirited debate on the two terms and the two roles.  York’s David Phipps took to LinkedIn to continue and fuel the conversation and it has remained a lively one.  So lively, (24 responses to date), that we’re going to host a dedicated KM in the AM on this topic later this spring or summer (date TBD).

The impetus for the April 16 presentation was to solicit feedback on a presentation I would like to make to York faculty around the two terms, as there is some confusion on roles and activity.  Melanie Barwick, Research Scientist from Hospital for Sick Kids provided an explanation on the LinkedIn conversation which I quite like. She explains, and I agree, that the two terms are both misunderstood and have points of convergence, but some divergence as well.  The presentation I am looking to refine is part of a York Learning Series which we’re offering to York researchers to help build capacity in KMb across campus.

In closing, taking an honest and respectful approach to let colleagues – many whom I have never met – know that the work we are doing has had some limitations went well.  And the reason for that is I offered to be part of the solution.  When KMb and Communications offices can align their services and co-exist, both can flourish!  Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at Wilfrid Laurier University would know this though.  She is a broker with a background (actually, an MA) in communications.  She walks the talk.  I would like to hear what you think about the relationship between KMb and Communications… based on the engagement around this I am confident you have an opinion!

Welcome New ResearchImpact Universities / Le Réseau Impact Recherche accueille ses nouveaux membres

“On behalf of my colleagues, it is my pleasure to welcome four new universities to ResearchImpact, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network”, says Robert Haché, vice president research & innovation at York University.

The Université de Montreal, Carleton University, Wilfrid Laurier University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University now join the existing six ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) university members following a national call. Membership involves a commitment to participate in and support the network. New members identified a full time equivalent knowledge broker and a Director who would coordinate knowledge mobilization activities. The VP Research or equivalent at each university endorsed the application for membership.

ResearchImpact was originally funded by SSHRC and CIHR through an Intellectual Property Mobilization grant held by York University and partnered with the University of Victoria. Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, University du Quebec a Montreal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan joined ResearchImpact in 2010. Today the 10 member network acts as a community of practice, sharing tools and building capacity for institutional knowledge mobilization services. By supporting research engagement and dissemination, knowledge mobilization helps to maximize the economic, social and environmental impacts of university research and learning.

Here’s what the new RIR members are saying:

University of Montreal logo

“I mobilize, you transfer, we apply research-based knowledge… and the whole society benefits. Knowledge mobilization is a necessary tool if we intend to increase the impact of our research. Both research on knowledge transfer and experience gained in the various fields of excellence of our institution demonstrate the importance of linking knowledge mobilization activities to the reality of each sector and integrating them to research from the onset.  At the University of Montréal, because knowledge mobilization is at the core of our concerns individually as well as collectively, we are happy to join the ResearchImpact network to improve our practices and share our expertise. ”

Dominique Bérubé, Deputy Provost, Research, Operations and Consultation, University of Montréal

Kwantlen Polytechnic University logo

“Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is excited to be joining such a distinguished pan-Canadian group of universities committed to community knowledge mobilization. KPU has deep roots in the communities we serve. Authentic community engagement, through the development of applied community research and by offering service learning to all students, is a cornerstone of our new Strategic Plan. We look forward to a long term and mutually beneficial partnership with other RIR member universities.”

Gordon Lee, Provost and VP Academic, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Carleton University logo

“Community engagement is a part of Carleton’s DNA, whether it is based in our history of being built by the community for the community or our flagship research centres such as the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Now, more than ever, Canadian communities seek to maximize and mobilize results of locally driven, cross-sector solutions to the complex problems. RIR facilitates access to a leading-edge community of practice that will provide tools and resources to help Carleton take its commitment to working with communities to the next level.”

Carleton University

Wilfrid Laurier University logo

“Knowledge mobilization is a critical element in the research process. Knowledge mobilization forges critical connections between research and society I am excited by the opportunity to enhance the connection between the university and the community through participation in the ResearchImpact network. We have successfully encouraged faculty for many years to maximize the impact of their research through appropriate community involvement and look forward to working with ResearchImpact to increase this impact.”

Abby Goodrum, VP Research, Wilfrid Laurier University

Welcome on board! RIR is delighted to have 10 university members from across Canada.

For more information please see or contact


« Au nom de tous mes collègues, c’est avec grand plaisir que j’accueille quatre nouvelles universités dans le Réseau Impact Recherche, le réseau canadien de mobilisation des connaissances », a déclaré Robert Haché, vice-recteur à la recherche et à l’innovation de l’Université York.

À la suite d’une invitation lancée à l’échelle nationale, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université Carleton, l’Université Wilfrid-Laurier et l’Université polytechnique de Kwantlen se joignent aujourd’hui aux six universités déjà membres de ResearchImpact–RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR). Pour être admis dans le réseau, les adhérents se sont engagés à participer activement à ses activités et à les soutenir. Ils ont désigné un courtier ou une courtière de connaissances qui se consacre à temps plein à cette tâche, ainsi qu’une directrice ou un directeur qui coordonne les activités de mobilisation des connaissances (MdC). La candidature de chaque université avait reçu l’appui du vice-rectorat à la recherche (ou de l’unité équivalente).

À l’origine, le Réseau Impact Recherche a été financé par le Conseil de recherche en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSHC) et les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (IRSC), grâce à une subvention à la mobilisation de la propriété intellectuelle accordée à l’Université York, en partenariat avec l’Université de Victoria. En 2010, l’Université  Memorial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, l’Université du Québec à Montréal, l’Université de Guelph et l’Université de la Saskatchewan se joignaient au Réseau Impact Recherche. Aujourd’hui, nos 10 membres forment une communauté d’échange de pratiques au sein de laquelle ils diffusent leurs outils et leurs ressources, ce qui leur permet de renforcer la capacité des services de MdC de leur établissement respectif. En optimisant l’engagement envers la recherche et sa diffusion, la MdC aide à maximiser l’impact économique, social et environnemental de la recherche et des études universitaires.

Voici ce que les nouveaux membres du RIR ont à dire au sujet de leur adhésion :

Université de Montréal logo

Dominique Bérubé, Vice-rectrice adjointe à la recherche, opération et concertation, Université du Montréal

Université polytechnique Kwantlen logo

« L’Université polytechnique Kwantlen (KPU) est très enthousiaste à l’idée de se joindre au prestigieux groupe d’universités canadiennes qui se sont engagées envers la mobilisation communautaire des connaissances. KPU est solidement enracinée dans les communautés qu’elle dessert. L’engagement communautaire authentique, au moyen du développement de la recherche communautaire appliquée et de l’apprentissage par le travail bénévole, est la pierre d’assise de notre nouveau Plan stratégique. Nous sommes enchantés d’amorcer avec les autres universités membres du RIR un partenariat que nous souhaitons long et mutuellement bénéfique. »

Gordon Lee, Vice-recteur et vice-président aux affaires universitaires, Université  polytechnique de Kwantlen

Université Carleton logo

« L’engagement communautaire est inscrit dans les gènes de Carleton! On le voit dans le passé de notre établissement, bâti par la communauté et pour la communauté, mais aussi dans nos centres de recherche de tout premier plan, comme le Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, au Canada, les communautés cherchent à maximiser et à mobiliser les résultats des solutions intersectorielles locales à des problèmes complexes. Le RIR nous ouvre les portes d’un réseau d’échange de pratiques d’avant-garde, grâce auquel nous aurons accès à des outils et des ressources qui permettront à Carleton d’aller plus loin encore dans son engagement à travailler avec les communautés. »

Université Carleton

Université Wilfrid-Laurier logo

« La mobilisation des connaissances est un élément essentiel du processus de recherche. Elle forge des liens vitaux entre la recherche et la société, et je suis très enthousiaste devant cette occasion qui s’offre à nous de renforcer la relation de notre université avec la communauté grâce à notre participation au Réseau Impact Recherche. Depuis de nombreuses années, nous encourageons nos professeurs à maximiser l’impact de leurs recherches en favorisant de leur part un engagement communautaire adéquat. En collaborant avec Réseau Impact Recherche, nous augmenterons encore cet impact, et nous avons très hâte de travailler en ce sens. »

Abby Goodrum, Vice-rectrice à la recherche, Université Wilfrid-Laurier

Bienvenue parmi nous! Le RIR se réjouit de pouvoir compter désormais sur dix universités membres, réparties dans tout le Canada.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, visitez le ou contactez-nous à