Challenging Perceptions by Changing Ourselves / Défier les à priori en nous transformant

“There has been a shift in focus over the last two decades or so, moving away from a concern around ‘productivity’ to an emphasis on ‘innovation’, and, as we have seen here in Canada with the federal government’s new innovation agenda, towards ensuring that considerations of social inclusion are included in any innovation strategies or frameworks.”

« Depuis 20 ans environ, on assiste à une réorientation des priorités qui nous éloigne du souci de “productivité”, pour nous rapprocher de l’“innovation” et – comme on l’a vu ici, au Canada, avec le nouveau programme du gouvernement fédéral – de l’inclusion des enjeux de la solidarité sociale dans toutes les stratégies et les structures d’innovation. »

This is how Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice Chancellor, York University, began his opening address to the 4th annual Post-Secondary Education & Skills Summit of the Conference Board of Canada on November 30, 2016. He charged the audience to “challenge perceptions by changing ourselves”. Seeking to set the tone for the ensuing two days, President Shoukri spoke of innovation, emerging technologies, mission driven research, talent and entrepreneurship to an audience made up of researchers, students, academic administrators, government and advocacy organizations.

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche was there.

President Shoukri at Conference Board of Canada

President Shoukri spoke about “Beyond Citations: Knowledge Mobilization, ResearchImpact and the Changing Nature of Academic Work”, the Conference Board of Canada’s report on the ResearchImpact network, which we wrote about in this blog on October 25, 2016. That report called on Canada to go beyond narrowly construed notions of technology commercialization and industry liaison and also embrace knowledge mobilization to more fully contribute to inclusive concepts of innovation. The report concludes “Universities need to invest in institutional supports, such as dedicated knowledge brokers, for knowledge mobilization, as they currently do for technology transfer and industry liaison”.

President Shoukri referred to the ResearchImpact network as creating a culture of knowledge mobilization in Canada. He said, “As its name suggests, the ResearchImpact network has been working to build and advance Canada’s knowledge mobilization and research impact culture across all areas of university research, including humanities, social sciences and the arts, so that we are generating research that is of value to society, and so that our research is getting into the hands of policy-makers, practitioners and decision-makers. This is a new, people-centred approach to research that also complements research agendas that traditionally have focused exclusively on tech transfer and commercialization.”

President Shoukri ended with a snapshot of what success would look like. His vision included:

• “Research with social value or mission-driven research that complements research and development with the work of knowledge mobilization more broadly; and
• More university and college partnerships with governments, not-for-profits and civil society.”

He then invoked the concepts underpinning inclusive innovation by recognizing the key role of non-academic partners in mediating impacts of research and the interconnectedness of our campuses with the public, private and civil society sectors.

“For our teaching and research to be truly valuable to society, for our graduates to be ready for the workplace, colleges and universities must be integrated into our communities—with government, with industry, with civil society—rather than islands.

The government has traditionally regarded the three areas of: economic growth, social justice and environmental sustainability as separate, but is now recognizing, along with the rest of society, that a more integrated approach is more effective.

This represents a key opportunity and key role for colleges and universities.”

Knowledge mobilization enables inclusive innovation by creating the conditions for collaborations that will maximize the impacts of research on Canadians. That truly is a key opportunity for colleges and universities and even for Canada.

The full text of President Shoukri’s remarks can be found on his website.

Recapping the Top Five Most Popular Posts of 2016 / Résumé des 5 billets les plus populaire de 2016

Here’s a look at the top five most popular blog posts in 2016.

Revoici les cinq billets qui vous ont le plus intéressés.

#1 – 165 views

SSHRC Strategic Plan Sets the Stage for Knowledge Mobilization / Le Plan stratégique du CRSH met la table pour la mobilisation des connaissances

Congratulations SSHRC on a new strategic plan. Implementing this plan will help social sciences and humanities research have an impact on the lives of Canadians.

Toutes nos félicitations pour ce nouveau plan stratégique ! Grâce à lui, la recherche en sciences humaines et sociales aura encore plus d’impact sur la vie des Canadiens et des Canadiennes.

SSHRC strategic plan image

#2 – 154 views

The Co-Produced Pathway To Impact / La Trajectoire D’impact Codéterminée

York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit regularly publishes peer reviewed articles on various aspects of institutional knowledge mobilization. The most recent publication describes a pathway from research to impact that can be used by research organizations seeking to monitor their projects as they progress towards impact.

L’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de York produit régulièrement des articles scientifiques sur différents aspects de la mise en application du savoir universitaire. Sa publication la plus récente décrit un itinéraire permettant de passer de la recherche à l’impact, au moyen d’une démarche que les organismes de recherche peuvent employer pour superviser la progression de leurs projets vers l’impact souhaité.

CPPI from JCES

#3 – 110 views

The Who, What and How of Research Impact / L’impact de la recherche : le qui, le quoi et le comment

David Phipps has just returned from three weeks in the UK for his Fellowship funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Working with his Fellowship partner, Julie Bayley (Coventry University), he became immersed in research impacts mediated through public engagement, commercialization, entrepreneurship, internationalization and knowledge exchange. This affords the opportunity for a trans-Atlantic comparison of the people who are creating and assessing the many impacts of research. You can help by participating in a survey to help us figure this out.

David Phipps rentre tout juste d’un voyage de trois semaines au Royaume-Uni, où il a avancé les travaux qu’il réalise à titre de boursier de l’Association of Commonwealth Universities. Avec sa partenaire de subvention, Julie Bayley (de la Coventry University), il s’est penché sur l’impact produit par l’engagement dans le domaine public, la commercialisation, l’entrepreneuriat, l’internationalisation et l’échange de connaissances.Cela ouvre la porte à une comparaison transatlantique des personnes qui créent et qui évaluent les multiples impacts de la recherche.Vous pouvez les aider à mettre de l’ordre dans tout cela en participant à un sondage.

Julie Bayley and David Phipps

Julie Bayley and David Phipps

#4 – 104 views

Critical Appraisal of Research Impact Pathways / Éloge critique des moyens d’amplifier l’impact de la recherche

The National Institute for Health Research (UK) and the Association of Medical Research Charities held an impact forum on April 27, 2016. We were invited to kick at some of the popular impact pathways by asking five critical questions.

Deux établissements britanniques, le National Institute for Health Research et l’Association of Medical Research Charities, organisaient un forum sur l’impact de la recherche, le 27 avril dernier. Nous avions été invités à poser cinq questions délicates afin de déboulonner les moyens populaires de mettre la recherche en action.

Pic of presentation slide

#5 – 81 views

Knowledge Mobilization, Research Impact, and the Changing Nature of Academic Work / La mobilisation des connaissances, l’impact de la recherche et la nature changeante du travail universitaire

That’s the title of a research article written by Matthew McKean, Conference Board of Canada. The article reviews the ResearchImpact network and the emerging importance of knowledge mobilization in Canada’s academic research enterprise and Canada’s inclusive innovation agenda.

Voilà le titre d’un article de fond publié par Matthew McKean, du Conference Board du Canada. L’auteur examine le Réseau Impact Recherche et l’importance de plus en plus affirmée de la mobilisation des connaissances, dans la conduite de la recherche universitaire au Canada comme dans le programme d’innovation inclusif que le pays s’est donné.

Conference Board of Canada logo

Merry Mobilizing!

Merry Mobilizing 2016

Merry Mobilizing from the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University!

From left to right:

David Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services

Sarah Howe, Director, Innovation York

Rebecca Giblon, Research Translation Assistant

Krista Jensen, Knowledge Mobilization Officer

Meghan Terry, Design Communications Assistant

Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization

Anneliese Poetz, Manager, NeuroDevNet KT Core

Stacie Ross, KT Assistant, NeuroDevNet KT Core

The ResearchImpact Network – What’s in It for You? / Le Réseau Impact Recherche – qu’avez-vous à y gagner ?

A few universities are considering joining the ResearchImpact network. I was asked recently to identify what a university might get for its annual membership fee of $5,000. Essentially, what is the value proposition for membership?

Quelques universités songent à se joindre au Réseau Impact Recherche. On m’a demandé récemment ce qu’une université membre pouvait attendre de son adhésion annuelle, au cout de 5 000 $. En clair : quelle est la proposition de valeur du Réseau ?

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) is Canada’s knowledge mobilization network with 12 universities from St. John’s to Victoria all investing in their own knowledge mobilization and related activities and all investing $5,000 annually to fund network operations. While we do not have an active recruitment drive we are always interested in speaking to universities who wish to learn from our diverse practices and contribute to the network so we can all grow our skills. What’s in it for you?

Part of the value proposition is articulated in our Strategic Plan.

Mission
• We build Canada’s capacity to be a leader in knowledge mobilization by developing and sharing best practices, services and tools, and by demonstrating to relevant stakeholders and the public the positive impacts of mobilizing knowledge.

Vision
• We will maximize the impact of university research for the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and health benefits across local and global communities.

Values
• We believe that academic research contributes to social, cultural, economic, environmental, and health benefits across local and global communities.
• We believe that the university research enterprise encompasses research, scholarship and creative activity by faculty, students and staff across all disciplines.
• We value community, industry and government partners as active participants in conducting research.
• We believe that knowledge mobilization services reflect the capacity and opportunities of institutional members.

Essentially we are a community of practice of institutional knowledge mobilizers all with different skills using different tools with different mandates in different organizational constructs. See the figure below that summarizes this diversity

RIR Unit service models

It is this diversity that is the value proposition. You will learn from other universities to bolster your own practice and help maximize the impacts of your research. Some examples of our practices – there are more:

• Memorial Univesity: Strong focus on public engagement; use of yaffle.ca as a tool for knowledge brokering
• University of New Brunswick: Social Policy Research Network with a focus on knowledge mobilization to inform provincial policy
• Université du Québec à Montréal: Services aux Collectivitées – a community based knowledge brokering function
• Carleton Univesity: 1125 @ Carleton is a Living Lab model
• York University: Central Office of Research Services model including support for knowledge mobilization strategies in grant applications; research impact assessment
• University of Guelph: Research Shop model
• Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Service learning model
• University of Victoria: Research partnership model

Your $5,000 buys you access into these different practices so you can take from the network what fits in your context.

We believe that knowledge mobilization helps universities participate more fully in the federal government’s emerging innovation agenda which is being drafted around the core concept of inclusive innovation. We can more fully participate in inclusive innovation by connecting research in all disciplines to partners from all sectors (public, private and non-profit) to create impacts on local and global citizens. RIR is the only network in the world focused on institutional knowledge mobilization to maximize the impacts of academic research.

Membership has its privileges.

For more information about please email info@researchimpact.ca or email me directly at dphipps@yorku.ca.

How Can Universities Contribute to Inclusive Innovation? / Comment les universités contribuent-elles à l’innovation solidaire?

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) worked with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and 16 other universities and stakeholders to draft a letter to Ministers Bains, Chagger and Duncan outlining how universities can contribute to Canada’s innovation strategy which is increasingly being described as “inclusive innovation”.

Le RéseauImpactRecherche-ResearchImpact (RIR), en collaboration avec la Fondation de la famille J.W. McConnell et 16 autres universités et intervenants, a rédigé une lettre destinée aux ministres Bains, Chagger et Duncan pour expliquer comment les universités peuvent contribuer à la stratégie du Canada en matière d’innovation, de plus en plus souvent qualifiée d’« innovation solidaire ».

The letter in response to “Positioning Canada to Lead: An Inclusive Innovation Agenda” is posted on the RECODE section of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation website. The letter describes the opportunity facing Canada. It states, “Innovation is key to human development. It is imperative to move beyond innovation for innovation’s sake to purposeful innovation that contributes socially and economically while also creating positive and / or reducing negative impacts on our natural resources. The term “inclusive growth” refers to an important and insufficiently acknowledged economic opportunity.”

The letter outlines some ideas for policy, program and talent opportunities that serve as a starting point for conversations with government. There are also examples, including RIR, appended to the letter. Some ideas directly relevant to RIR were present in all three categories:

Policy Ideas (this describes knowledge brokering, a major role for RIR)

• Expanding support for multi-disciplinary and cross-sector solutions-generating collaboration platforms as core features of the innovation ecosystem; as the Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences said it is necessary to “bring researchers from different disciplines together with leaders in all levels of government, the private sector and civil society…”. There is a diverse and growing spectrum of collaboration platforms, including change and social innovation labs.

Program Ideas (this describes the RIR network)

• Creating incentives for regional and national platforms/networks for campus community collaboration and holding those platforms to account for short-term (three-year) outcomes that will generate long term (5-10 year) economic, social and environmental impacts.

Talent Ideas (this describes service learning and graduate student internships, key knowledge mobilization methods)

• Support co-ops and work-integrated learning programs in all academic faculties (not just business) to help students build the skills and experience required to enter the work force. Include all types of businesses from SMEs and non-profits to multi-national corporations in these programs.

RIR continues the discussion with McConnell and the other stakeholders to further develop these policy, program and talent ideas in order to trigger a substantive discussion with government. As identified by the Conference Board of Canada universities need to diversify beyond narrowly construed notions of technology transfer and commercialization if they are to contribute fully to an inclusive innovation agenda. This diversification includes experiential learning for undergraduate and graduate students as well as knowledge mobilization connecting all disciplines to partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The letter had 18 signatories including the Presidents of RIR members York University, University of Guelph, University of New Brunswick, as well as representatives from RIR members University of Victoria, Wilfrid Laurier University, and David Phipps signing as the RIR Network Director.

Building an impact literate research culture: Some thoughts for the KT Australia Research Summit

This week’s guest post is from Julie Bayley, Coventry University. It was originally published on her blog on November 12, 2016 and is reposted here with permission.

Julie BayleyI was delighted to be asked to speak at the KT Australia Research Impact Summit (November 2016). In my talk, I discussed many of the challenges of introducing an impact agenda into the academic community, and how impact literacy can help. An extended version of my slides are here, but let me talk through the key points below.

Consider impact. A small word. A simple, standard part of our vocabulary meaning influence or effect. But go from (small i) impact to (big I) Impact, and you’ve suddenly entered the domain of formal assessment and causal expectations. Arguably the UK have been the first to really take the Impact bull formally by the horns through the Research Assessment Framework 2014, but of course efforts to drive research into usable practice are far from unique to this little island. Whilst every country is rich with learning about how knowledge best mobilises within its own context, the UK probably offers a unique insight into the realities of impact assessment at scale and the multiple, non-prescribable pathways connecting research to effect.

First principles: impact is the provable effects of research in the real world (see slides 2 and 3). It’s the changes we can see (demonstrate, measure, capture), beyond academia (in society, economy, environment) which happen because of our studies (caused by, contributed to, attributable to). Dissemination, communication, engagement, knowledge transfer, knowledge exchange and knowledge mobilisation are all vital in getting research into practice, but in its truest form, ‘impact’ is the protected description of the resulting change.

Largely speaking, impact has three main drivers (slide 4): funders (who increasingly require impact plans for research to be judged competitively), centralised assessment (eg the Research Excellence Framework, UK) and the individual academic’s commitment to social, economic or environmental change. Formal sector expectations such as the REF are a double edged sword. On one side they legitimate engagement and outreach activities which can be disregarded in income/publication focused environments. On the other however, they can confer unrealistic expectations on those disciplinary areas (eg. fundamental research) whose work does not naturally connect directly to ‘real world change’. Even where academics are personally committed to impact, the weight of complying with assessment rhetoric can corrode even the most impassioned resolve.

Impact offers challenges to academics and the institution alike (slide 5). For the academic, weaving impact into already pressured environments can be exhausting, and the unease of meeting expectations for impacts that are ‘significant’ enough for external assessment can trigger anxiety and anger. For the institution, staffing, resourcing and embedding impact within existing structures whilst ensuring assessment requirements are met is extremely tough. Similarly we must remember and address the challenges for the beneficiaries themselves. The ‘users’ of our work are concerned with how well the research fits their needs, and how accessible and useful it is. Unless work is appropriate and suitable for the audience, it’s unlikely to achieve its impact aims and will just introduce more burden into the user community.

So how can we do impact well? After several years in impact I’ve enjoyed/ burned my fingers on a considerable volume of training, planning/strategy building, designing information management systems and building impact into a university culture, alongside academic research in the area and (health psychology) research submitted to REF. It’s hard to disentangle the discrete elements of the impact process, which probably explains why I’ve had my fingers in quite so many pies. I have discussed the challenges still facing the impact community before, and how a reductionist, assessment driven approach can lead to impact short-sightedness. However, academics have an amazing and very privileged opportunity to make a genuine and meaningful difference to the ‘real world’. For this, the research community needs to understand how to make impact happen. The research community needs to be impact literate.

Impact literacy (slide 6, a term coined by myself and Dr David Phipps, York University, Toronto) describes individuals’ ability to understand, appraise and make decisions with regards to impact. Impact literacy involves understanding how the what (type, indicators and evidence of benefit), how (activities and engagement processes) and who (individuals’ skills and roles) of impact combine to produce effects. Impact literacy supports good decision making, clear planning and realistic methodologies. Impact can be pursued without being literate, but this is likely to lead to poor execution, missed opportunities, poor resource use and misaligned or underachieved targets. A person is only literate if they understand each of the three areas. If one is missing, thinking is incomplete:

    How + Who (without What) gives poor consideration to endpoints/effects
    How + What (without Who) neglects the importance of individual efforts and skills
    Who + What (without How) overlooks the need for appropriate engagement methods

We can and should also extend literacy beyond the individual and build an impact literate research culture (slide 7). With all the challenges to delivering impact within a pressured academic environment, it’s essential that institutions align their internal structures to supporting delivery. Bluntly put, you can only measure what you create, so start working together from the start. Academics need to build partnerships and translate research into suitable formats, whilst the institution values, resources and builds strategic connections beyond the institution (‘How’). Academics and research managers also need to recognise their own skills/training needs, and share/partner with others, whilst the institution must commit to professional development and clarifying roles (‘Who’). Academics must work with end-users to establish suitable goals and ways to measure them, whilst the institution must offer the strategic and systems support to manage this information (‘What’).

The process of building a positive and impact-literate culture is of course beyond the scope of one talk. It is an ongoing process and takes continued strategic and individual commitment. But if we really want impact, and good impact at that, we must focus on improving the knowledge, skills and confidence of academics and research managers across the institution. An impact literate culture is one in which people know what’s needed and how they contribute. A positive culture is one in which they know that contribution is valued.

So if you’re trying to build impact into your institution, my top tips would be (slide 8):

    Embed impact into the research process. If you’re going to create real benefits, impact has to be integrated from the start and not treated as a post-project add-on.
    Recognise one size doesn’t fit all. Impact cannot be templated. It is always unique to the project, discipline and it’s place along the fundamental-to-applied continuum. Tailor your thinking.
    Harness and build skills within the institution. Create your ‘impact agency’ by developing impact literacy, competencies and connections between colleagues.
    Engage not enrage. Impact is a small word with big implications. Give people time to adjust and build a strong approach together.

Remember (slide 9): Impact is achievable. But it’s not simple. Value the people involved and their efforts, support the processes and connect researchers, users and research meaningfully. Just imagine what’s possible if you do 🙂

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.

Day 1 – Blueprint: Affordable Housing

This guest post first appeared on ventureLAB’s blog on October 19, 2016 and is reposted here with permission.

communityBUILD Design Lab brings out passion and fierce competition for the best solutions that address affordable housing

communitybuild1On October 15, 2016 over one hundred high school students, post-secondary students, housing experts, entrepreneurs, designers, advocates and educators gathered at Seneca College, Markham Campus for Blueprint: Affordable Housing, a two-day design lab that works towards solutions to create affordable housing, an issue that affects many communities across Canada.

It would be an understatement to say that this was a significant step forward to solving this ever-persistent issue. There was tangible passion and energy in the room throughout day one, from participants, facilitators, data analysts and design thinkers. It was clear that creating solutions for affordable housing was a passion for all who attended.

The goal of Blueprint: Affordable Housing is to generate solutions from York Region residents and organizations, in an effort to solve the global issue. On day two, on October 22nd , the top three ideas will be selected to participate in a three month incubator, provided by the communityBUILD program within ventureLAB.

Last Saturday, participants were taken through a series of design thinking exercises by Kelly Parke and Jennifer Chan, that would help inform solutions for the three challenges posed by the champion organizations, The Regional Municipality of York, Evergreen (GTA Housing Action Labs) and The Ontario Ministry of Housing. Each champion organization presented their challenges at the beginning of the day and participants were placed in to 13 teams to begin working on their ideas for solutions.

communityBUILD participantsFacilitators and data analysts assisted each team with solution development, and representatives from each champion organization provided additional insight into each challenge. Participants worked together to develop plans and strategies until 4:00 p.m., when teams left for the day. Before the day concluded, teams exchanged contact information and created DropBox accounts to work throughout the week on their solutions.

On October 22, 2016 participants will return for another full day of design thinking and solution development for their assigned challenges. Teams will be treated to a keynote presentation by Neil Hetherington, CEO of Dixon Hall in the morning, and in the afternoon they will present their solutions to the judges who will select three ideas to move forward in the communityBUILD incubator.

If day one was any indication, there will be some fierce competition this coming Saturday! Stay tuned to hear the results next week.

Blueprint supportersHuge thanks to our sponsors, including The Regional Municipality of York, Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Ontario Ministry of Housing, Evergreen, TranQuant and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation who supported the event.

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

KMb at York 2015-2016 Annual Report Released / L’Unité de MdC de l’Université York rapport annuel pour 2015-2016

KMb at York has completed it’s Annual Report for 2015-16. The report highlights current services and recent successes and this report shared reflections on 10 years of KMb services at York University.

L’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York vient de terminer son rapport annuel pour 2015-2016. Ce rapport met en lumière les services offerts actuellement et les réussites les plus récentes, et propose une réflexion sur dix années de MdC à York.

2015-2016-kmb-at-yorku-annual-report-coverYou won’t have to look far to notice a central overarching theme to our Annual Report, which is recently completed and can be accessed here. The title page reflects a new logo we shared to reflect the 10 year anniversary of KMb Unit services and support at York U and for York Region and the entire Greater Toronto Area.

This 16 page report highlights our services, activities, partnerships and accomplishments over the past year and since 2006. The feature story is the success of the York Region Food Network (YRFN). Our engagement with YRFN has been more a tapestry of research engagement in areas of policy such as their Food Charter leadership as well as areas of programming such as their Aquaponics lab. Dr. Rod MacRae from the Faculty of Environmental Studies has provided oversight and engagement over this relationship and for a true grassroots organization it is great to see the significant impact YRFN is having in the Region.

The report also provides readers a two-page infographic which takes them along a timeline of development and accomplishment for the KMb Unit. Partnerships, staff hiring and service milestones are all represented in this great visual look back over time. The leadership of KMb at York is reflected well in this work developed by our Data and Communications Student, Meghan Terry.
Meghan is also the feature of our annual Student Profile.

Students play a very important role in support the work of the KMb Unit and with two students working regularly in our office (also working with Meghan is Rebecca Giblon as a Research Translation Assistant). Over the years students have been involved in many key operational developments, including this annual report. Our commitment to train and support students in areas of KMb is something we are very proud of.

Annual reports provide a good opportunity to reflect, gather data and information and help plan moving forward. And while we’re hopeful to share an Annual Report in 2025-2026 to reflect our 20th anniversary we acknowledge that year over year the growth, development and refinement of our service unit is important to capture, share and showcase. So we will focus on this 11th year of engaging our researchers and their partners outside the university in an effort to help research inform important areas of public policy and professional practice.

Lastly, 2016-2017 will see the KMb Unit formally move within the Innovation York office. This move will situate all innovation services for research in one office. We’re excited for the opportunities which we feel will strengthen our capacity to provide quality services.

Thank you for 10 years of support!

Knowledge Mobilization, Research Impact, and the Changing Nature of Academic Work / La mobilisation des connaissances, l’impact de la recherche et la nature changeante du travail universitaire

That’s the title of a research article written by Matthew McKean, Conference Board of Canada. The article reviews the ResearchImpact network and the emerging importance of knowledge mobilization in Canada’s academic research enterprise and Canada’s inclusive innovation agenda.

Voilà le titre d’un article de fond publié par Matthew McKean, du Conference Board du Canada. L’auteur examine le Réseau Impact Recherche et l’importance de plus en plus affirmée de la mobilisation des connaissances, dans la conduite de la recherche universitaire au Canada comme dans le programme d’innovation inclusif que le pays s’est donné.

Conference Board of Canada logo

According to their website the Conference Board of Canada is the foremost independent, evidence-based, not-for-profit applied research organization in Canada. They are dedicated to building a better future for Canadians by making our economy and society more dynamic and competitive. They have decided that a more dynamic and competitive Canadian economy and society needs knowledge mobilization. And knowledge mobilization needs ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR), Canada’s knowledge mobilization network.

The article (available for free download here) describes the changing nature of academic work making the case that bibliometric citations are no longer sufficient to capture the diverse impacts of academic research. This is seen most keenly in research grant applications most of which now require some form of impact statement (what impact will arise) and knowledge mobilization plan (how you’re going to get there). The article cites literature and interviews with researchers and knowledge mobilization practitioners (including myself and RIR brokers Bojan Fürst from Memorial University and Cathy Edwards from Carleton University).

The paper is summarized in four points “at a glance”:

– “Universities need to invest in institutional supports, such as dedicated knowledge brokers, for knowledge mobilization, as they currently do for technology transfer and industry liaison

– University-based researchers would benefit from faculty evaluation criteria that incentivizes high-impact, interdisciplinary social, economic, environmental, cultural, and health research

– The Pan-Canadian ResearchImpact network supports and facilitates knowledge mobilization and collaboration among faculty and student researchers, as well as community, industry, and government partners

– A network approach reduces the barriers between disciplines and enhances collaboration supporting research impacts in communities across Canada”

Importantly, the paper makes the point that knowledge mobilization activities complement traditional commercialization and industry liaison activities. This is important because universities beyond the 12 RIR campuses are not making efforts to maximize the contributions of research to Canada’s economic, social or environmental progress.

All our universities have services that help researchers connect to industry and to commercial markets but they only serve those few disciplines aligned to commercial outcomes. Many of our researchers in social sciences, humanities, creative arts and many STEM disciplines will never work with industry, file a patent or start up a company but their research might be relevant to public policy, professional practice or social services. If we rely solely on traditional methods of commercialization and industry liaison we will fail to maximize the impacts of much academic research. We will fail to contribute to what Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada is calling inclusive innovation.

ISED states that “Innovation is the path to inclusive growth. It fosters a thriving middle class and opens the country to new economic, social and environmental possibilities” and that everyone has a role to play. “This collaborative approach is essential because every sector of society—from the business community to universities and colleges, the not-for-profit sector, social entrepreneurs and Indigenous business leaders—pulls some of the levers that drive innovation, growth and well-being.”

Be prepared to hear a lot more about inclusive innovation as the current review of Canada’s innovation agenda concludes and begins to report out to Canadians.

That’s what makes this report from the Conference Board of Canada timely. Academic research institutions can contribute to an inclusive innovation agenda by adopting knowledge mobilization practices as well as traditional supports for commercialization and industry liaison.

Big thanks to Matthew McKean for researching and writing the article. Thanks also to knowledge mobilization colleagues Peter Levesque (Institute for Knowledge Mobilization) and Purnima Sundar (Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health) who provided a critical review of the manuscript for Matthew.

Human centred innovation / L’innovation centrée sur l’humain

The Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (“The Federation”) made a submission to Canada’s Innovation Agenda. The Federation argues that “we need to bring creativity and imagination to bear on complex problems and understand the human process at the heart of innovation”. This includes strengthening connections and knowledge flow among humanities and social sciences (HSS) researchers and other partners from governments, civil society, academia and business.

La Fédération canadienne des sciences humaines (« la Fédération ») a suggéré des orientations au Programme d’innovation du Canada. La Fédération soutient que « nous devons rivaliser de créativité et d’imagination pour dénouer des problèmes complexes et comprendre le processus humain au cœur de l’innovation ». Cela suppose notamment le renforcement des liens et des échanges de connaissances entre les chercheurs des sciences humaines et leurs partenaires du gouvernement, de la société civile et du milieu des affaires.

Federation logoLed by Minister Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development), Canada is developing a new innovation strategy and is soliciting input from individuals and organizations across Canada. The Federation, drawing on their representation of over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations and a community of over 91,000 researchers and students, made a submission that promoted the human element of innovation.

The Federation’s submission contains three areas of focus including:
• expand experiential learning for all students through an expansion of the Post-Secondary Industry Partnership and Cooperative Placement Initiative to include HSS.
• increase fundamental research into human thought, behaviour and experiences. This will increase HSS research funding to be a minimum of 20 percent (=approximately double current levels) of Canada’s federal research portfolio within 10 years.
• strengthen connections and knowledge flow among HSS researchers and other partners from governments, civil society, academia and business to help Canada find innovative solutions to pressing complex social challenges.

This last area deals with knowledge mobilization. This third section of the submission cites examples from SFU, OCAD U, Ryerson and Concordia to illustrate mechanisms to connect HSS research(ers) to society. While individual examples of knowledge mobilization abound, mainly in individual research programs and research centres, there are fewer examples of institutional supports such as those practiced by the 12 universities in ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR), Canada’s knowledge mobilization network. The submission calls for “a supportive national framework for such collaborations to enable scaling up of local innovations”. It then proceeds with recommendation #3 which includes the following:

Significant federal funding should be devoted to the creation and expansion of university-based innovation and cross-disciplinary hubs to address the broad range of social and economic complex challenges facing Canadians. For example, the government should enhance support for multi-disciplinary knowledge-mobilization networks, such as the ResearchImpact Network (www.researchimpact.ca), to scale up existing services that connect the public, private, not-for-profit and higher education sectors

Minister Bains will hopefully take note when presented with these recommendations. Canada needs a pan-Canadian knowledge mobilization strategy that will build on the lessons learned by the 12 RIR members and strengthen knowledge flows in communities and campuses across Canada.

Collectively these three recommendations from The Federation create the call to action for a human centred innovation strategy. Tony Surman (CEO, Centre for Social Innovation) has written in the Globe & Mail that Canada’s ‘innovation agenda’ isn’t dependent on just tech – it is also dependent on social factors and social innovation. This is critical to answering the call of Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way Toronto & York Region, who says we will not charity our way out of complex social issues. We need new combinations of knowledge and expertise that employ a human centred model of innovation.

Thanks you to The Federation for promoting the critical role of HSS in Canada’s innovation system. As part of this innovation Canada needs a pan Canadian knowledge mobilization strategy. Canada needs ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche.

Systems Thinking as Part of a Knowledge Translation (KT) Approach

How Our NeuroDevNet Team Used Systems Thinking to Improve Our Production of Research Summaries

by Anneliese Poetz

Knowledge Translation. Anneliese has experience writing plain language research summaries for policymakers, parents and teachers at the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network and, in her most recent work for the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases, she facilitated national stakeholder consultations, and developed stakeholder-and evidence-informed products to improve public health practice. For more on Anneliese and her work click here. This post originally appeared on the KNAER-RECRAE Blog and is reposted here with permission.

I recently had the pleasure of being able to present at the recent Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum (#CKF16) conference in Toronto, Ontario. It was a 7-minute presentation entitled “Systems and Processes for Knowledge Translation” and focused on one of the examples of how I use systems thinking to inform my work in Knowledge Translation (KT).

Several years ago, I met a business analyst who informed me that what I was doing in my job in the field of KT was essentially what a business analyst does: use stakeholder input to inform the design (and/or re-design) of products and processes. When you think about it, everything we do in KT is either a product or a process. The products I worked on included evidence-informed tools for health care practitioners to apply to their work, and guides for researchers to help them “do” KT. One of the processes that we needed to improve was for our production of clear language summaries called ResearchSnapshots.

Wondering what the difference is between Knowledge Mobilization, Knowledge Translation, and other like terms? Visit Gary Myers’ KMbeing blog post and join the conversation on KMb: Definitions & Terminology.

If you look at slide #6 in the above presentation, you will see a framework that outlines the key concepts in business analysis, according to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK v.3). These are: 1) Need 2) Change 3) Stakeholder 4) Solution 5) Value 6) Context

Each of these is of equal importance, and all must be represented. One of the things we did wrong with our initial process for the ResearchSnapshots was that we transferred the existing process (and writing staff) used by York’s KMb Unit without consideration of the differences in context within NeuroDevNet.

One of the ‘tools’ within the field of Business Analysis is a methodology called root cause analysis. We conducted a root cause analysis in order to pinpoint what the root of the problem was, and create a targeted solution. We discovered the problem was that the writers used by York KMb’s Unit, although highly skilled in clear language writing, had social science expertise but were asked to summarize research papers that were basic science and clinical science based. The researchers complained that they had to rewrite most if not all of the content, and it was a lot of work for them to do so. The result was that we achieved customer satisfaction (buy-in) among the researchers for the new process.

What we did to improve the process was to first identify all the stakeholders directly and indirectly affected by the process. Then we gathered information about their needs (often in the form of the complaints we’d received from researchers) with respect to the process, which were then transformed into ‘requirements’. These requirements informed the re-design of the new process.

The process had to be easy for researchers, and create value for the Network. Since the projects within the Network were so diverse and often specialized, it would have been too difficult (and maybe impossible) to find writers who were content experts. So, the new process begins with the researcher nominating a paper that was produced as a result of one of their NeuroDevNet funded projects, along with one of their trainees (students) who is expert in the content area. Then, we provide training and support toward the production of a clear language summary of their paper that is ready for final review and sign off by the researcher. In this way, it is easy for researchers because they only have to make minimal edits to the draft, and it creates value for the Network not only because of the clear language summary that is produced but the transferrable skills that the trainee acquires.

Let’s break down how this method reflects ‘systems thinking’:

1) A system is composed of parts. The first thing we did was map out the stakeholders and where they were situated within the system (see slide #9).

2) All the parts of a system must be related (directly or indirectly). We mapped out the stakeholders as related, directly or indirectly, to the customer service issue (or ‘incident’).

3) A system has a boundary, and the boundary of a system is a decision made by an observer or a group of observers. The ‘system’ was what facilitated the execution of the process for creating clear language summaries (ResearchSnapshots). In other words, the boundary of the system was the affiliation of researchers as part of NeuroDevNet, and research papers to be summarized were those produced as part of NeuroDevNet funded research projects.

4) A system can be nested within another system, a system can overlap with another system. The ‘system’ for producing ResearchSnapshots within the KT Core with one researcher is nested within the larger ‘system’ of the NeuroDevNet pan-Canadian Network of researchers and projects.

5) A system is bounded in time, but may be intermittently operational. A system is bounded in space, though the parts are not necessarily co-located.We engage with researchers to co-create ResearchSnapshotsat the time that we receive a service request, usually after a researcher has published a new peer-reviewed paper. These requests are sporadic depending on the frequency and pace of publications arising from its pan-Canadian NeuroDevNet-funded projects.

6) A system receives input from, and sends output into, the wider environment. We receive requests but we will also offer services if we see an opportunity. Once the ResearchSnapshots are finalized, they are made available on the NeuroDevNet website.

7) A system consists of processes that transform inputs into outputs. The process for clear language writing of ResearchSnapshots is one of the processes that exist within the KT Core, that transforms inputs (peer reviewed publications, clear language summary drafts in word) into outputs (finalized draft of clear language summary, formatted onto ResearchSnapshot .pdf template, formatted for accessibility).

8) A system is autonomous in fulfilling its purpose. A car is not a system. A car with a driver is a system. Similarly, the KT Core as a department within NeuroDevNet is not a system. The KT Core with a Lead, Manager and Assistant, is a system.

As a systems thinker, remember that a system is dynamic and complex, and that information flows among the different elements that compose a system. For example, information flows among the KT Core Lead, Manager and Assistant. A system is a community situated within an environment. For example, the KT Core is a system situated within NeuroDevNet, and as a result, information also flows more broadly between the KT Core and NeuroDevNet’s community of researchers. Information flows from and to the surrounding environment, for example, the KT Core posts its finalized ResearchSnapshots publicly on the NeuroDevNet website.

The field of Business Analysis has identified (and published in BABOK) a common sense framework and practical methodologies, which I believe can advance the field of KT towards more meaningful and useful products and processes that are responsive to the systems in which they are intended to be used.

Knowledge Mobilization Symposium on Research Impacts / Symposium sur la Mobilisation des connaissances et les retombées de la recherche

David Phipps is the KT Lead for NeuroDevNet and was chair of the NCE Knowledge Mobilization Symposium on June 27, 2016. This report provides a summary of each section and the detailed notes from participant discussions. This report highlights NCE practices for Governing for Impact and Monitoring/Evaluating Impact.

Chef du transfert des connaissances pour NeuroDevNet, David Phipps présidait le Symposium des RCE, le 27 juin dernier. Le rapport qui suit présente, pour chaque question centrale, un résumé des principaux points et des notes détaillées sur les discussions entre participants. Le rapport met en évidence les pratiques en vigueur dans le RCE en ce qui concerne la gouvernance axée sur les retombées, et le suivi et l’évaluation des retombées.

NCE-RCE logoNetwork of Centres of Excellence
Knowledge Mobilization Symposium 2016
June 27, 2016
Peter Gilgan Centre, Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Canada

Message from the Chair

NeuroDevNet was pleased to host the second annual NCE Knowledge Mobilization Symposium held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary celebrations of York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and the 5th Annual Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum. The Symposium focused on the impacts of research: how we govern for impact (morning) and how we assess and monitor impact (afternoon). The NCE program is uniquely designed to generate socioeconomic impacts for Canadians from investments in research and training. The Symposium attracted over 50 participants from NCE Networks, NCE Knowledge Mobilization Networks and Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.

The session was designed in a world café format where the wisdom from networks was distilled through an experiential process. Attendees were asked to self-select into groups around the discussion table (focus question) of their choice. Discussions around each breakout table addressed a different focus questions related to governance and monitoring for impact. The wisdom was collected through verbal report back and through the written reporting from each table.

This report summarizes some of the key points arising from the discussions and presents the feedback received on each topic based on large group report back and written notes collected
from each breakout table. There are no definitive answers to these very complex challenges but what is clear is the diversity of approaches used among the networks based on the type and stage of each. This report does not provide recommendations; rather, it is the beginning of an important conversation and can serve as a catalyst for further discussion on these issues.

Thank you to the amazing organizing committee: Anneliese Poetz (NeuroDevNet), Michael Joyce (SERENE-RISC), Joanne Cummings (PREVNet), Kim Wright (AllerGen). Thanks also to Rick Schwartzburg (NCE Secretariat) for his support of the committee.

David Phipps, Ph.D., MBA
Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, York University
Knowledge Translation Lead, NeuroDevNet
Board Member: NeuroDevNet, PREVNet, CYCC Network, Cell CAN

Read the full report here

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NCE-RCE logoRéseau de centres d’excellence
Symposium 2016 sur la mobilisation des connaissances

Le 27 juin 2016
Centre Peter-Gilgan, Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Canada

Message du président

NeuroDevNet a eu le plaisir d’organiser le deuxième Symposium annuel sur la mobilisation des connaissances des RCE, qui s’est tenu en même temps que les célébrations soulignant le 10e anniversaire de l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’université York et que le 5e Forum canadien annuel sur la mobilisation des connaissances. Le Symposium portait principalement sur les retombées de la recherche, la façon dont nous les gérons (matinée) et la façon dont nous les évaluons et les surveillons (après-midi). Le programme des RCE est spécialement conçu pour générer des retombées socio-économiques découlant des investissements dans la recherche et la formation au profit des Canadiens. Le Symposium a attiré plus de 50 participants des réseaux de centres d’excellence, des réseaux de mobilisation des connaissances des RCE et des centres d’excellence en commercialisation et en recherche.

La séance a pris la forme d’un « World Café » où l’on a recueilli les connaissances des réseaux passées au crible de l’expérience. On a demandé aux participants de choisir eux-mêmes des groupes autour de la table de discussion (question centrale) de leur choix. Les débats tenus à chaque table portaient sur des questions différentes ayant trait à la gouvernance et à la surveillance des retombées. Les Connaissances ont été recueillies au moyen de comptes rendus oraux et de rapports écrits établis par chaque table.

Le présent rapport résume les principaux points découlant des discussions et fait état des commentaires formulés sur chaque sujet dans le compte rendu du groupe en séance plénière et les notes écrites recueillies à chaque table de discussion. Il n’y a pas de réponse définitive à ces défis très complexes, mais ce qui ressort clairement, c’est la diversité des approches adoptées par les réseaux en fonction de leur type et de leur évolution. Le rapport ne formule pas de recommandations et se veut plutôt le point de départ d’un débat important qui pourra servir de catalyseur à toute discussion ultérieure sur ces questions.

Je remercie notre extraordinaire comité organisateur : Anneliese Poetz (NeuroDevNet), Michael Joyce (SERENE-RISC), Joanne Cummings (PREVNet) et Kim Wright (AllerGen). Tous mes remerciements également à Rick Schwartzburg (Secrétariat des RCE) pour son appui au comité.

David Phipps, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Directeur exécutif, Services de recherche et d’innovation, Université York
Chef du transfert des connaissances, NeuroDevNet
Membre du conseil d’administration : NeuroDevNet, PREVNet, Réseau EJCD, CellCAN

Lire le rapport complet ici

Knowledge into Practice Learning Network Launch Webinar

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with others.”
(African Proverb)

Across the globe, in diverse professional fields, people are working to get knowledge into practice. However, it is well documented that despite widespread commitment in principle, many of the people and organisations who are undertaking knowledge into practice work face considerable challenges in accomplishing this aim.

Does your role involve linking knowledge and practice? Perhaps you’re a knowledge broker or knowledge mobiliser, researcher or practitioner, policy analyst, or a similar role. Whatever your title, whatever your field, the Knowledge into Practice Learning Network offers a rare opportunity to come together as an online community to learn and share advice, expertise, resources and opportunities, develop new international contacts and use our learning to improve our own practice and support each other to work most effectively.

In this launch webinar, you will have an opportunity to:

    find out more about this innovative global network,
    be introduced to the people behind the network,
    introduce yourself and connect with a new set of supportive colleagues,
    tell us about what you would like to get out of the network and the kind of resources and activities you would find useful

Date: 24 October 2016

Time: 16:00 (UK). To calculate your local time go to http://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/

Registration & joining instructions:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/knowledge-to-action-learning-network-webinar-tickets-27623096425

We hope you will join us for this inaugural webinar and the launch of this network.

York U Champions Research Mobilization Through Graduate Experiential Education Program

The following article appeared in York University’s YFile on April 24, 2012 and is reposted here with permission.

York U welcomed 22 graduate students and their respective community partners on Monday, Sept. 19 to celebrate the launch of an exciting new award opportunity at the University.

Internship meeting photo

The meeting between 22 graduate students and their community research partners took place Monday, Sept. 19

The Office of the Vice-President of Research & Innovation (VPRI) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) were awarded $100,000 of funding from York for a university–wide graduate student paid internship experiential education program. The Academic Innovation Fund was established to support initiatives that advance York’s strategic priorities in relation to teaching, learning and the student experience.

“Congratulations to those 22 interns who were awarded funding for their innovative projects. We look forward to seeing them shape the future of teaching, learning and the student experience at York University,” said Robert Haché, vice-president Research & Innovation. “The ever-intensifying research enterprise at York provides an ideal environment to foster scholarship, creativity and innovation for young minds. These interns will benefit from, and become integral contributors to, this vibrant intellectual community.”

Facilitated through the Knowledge Mobilization Unit (KMb) and FGS, the program connects York graduate student researchers with organizations from the broader community who are pursuing research questions of interest to the students.

David Phipps, executive director, Research & Innovation Services, said he was very pleased to see that the 22 interns represented seven of the University’s Faculties “which makes this a pan–University initiative.”

Students have forged partnerships locally and internationally, with partners hailing from Brazil, Jamaica and Australia and spanning the spectrum from non–profit organizations, governments and the private sector. “At York, we’ve got a rich tradition of knowledge mobilization supporting research,” said Phipps.

Recent Conference Board of Canada statistics show that only 18.6 per cent of PhD graduates are employed as full-time university professors. This increases the urgency to prepare graduate students for other careers through skill-building, career development and experiential education opportunities. Providing graduate students with enhanced opportunities for integrated work and learning and skills acquisition is crucial to enhancing both the student experience and post–degree outcomes.

Mike Zryd, associate dean in FGS said, “There’s a strong connection between what you’re doing as students and researchers and the needs of community organizations. One of the things we’re finding is graduate students often don’t realize the professional skills they’re learning as part of their studies.”

Mylini Saposan

Mylini Saposan

One internship was awarded to Mylini Saposan, a master’s student in the Graduate Program in Health. Under the supervision of Dr. Emma Richardson, Saposan’s internship is with external partner St Michael’s Hospital’s Centre for Ethical, Social and Cultural Risk.

The opportunity at St. Michael’s Hospital will encourage Saposan to take a critical perspective in analyzing real and current issues affecting health quality both globally and locally. She will assist her team in developing a model for community engagement to be used as a resource for global health researchers to enable them to better adapt their research to local international contexts and facilitate greater community support.

Graduate students can apply for a one year part-time internship, an eight month part-time internship, or a four month full-time internship. Further application details can be found at: http://gradstudies.yorku.ca/current-students/student-finances/funding-awards/kmb-internships/.

The ultimate aim of the initiative is to place York University at the forefront for cutting-edge experiential educational opportunities for students at all levels of study, from undergraduate to doctoral, in support of their learning and goals.