Research Impact Canada wins Directors’ Award from CARA

This post was first published on May 8, 2017 in YFile, York University’s News. It is reposted here with permission.

York University, on behalf of Research Impact Canada (formerly the ResearchImpact network), was awarded the Directors’ Award for Inter-Institutional Collaboration from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA), at the CARA national meeting in Winnipeg. The award was announced May 8.

David PhippsDavid Phipps, executive director, Research & Innovation Services, accepted the award for his work, alongside others, in Research Impact Canada. For a decade now, this network — a group of 12 universities across the country — has been engaged in knowledge mobilization with measurable impacts. It is committed to maximizing the impact of academic research for social, economic, environmental and health benefits.

“The CARA awards recognize excellence in research management and administration in Canada. Research Impact Canada has broken down barriers to collaboration across Canada and its members have demonstrated leadership and creativity in working collaboratively and effectively to create new knowledge mobilization tools and practices that maximize the impact of university research. We are delighted to recognize them with this award,” says Frances Chandler, CARA president.

Robert Hache“We believe that new knowledge, often developed through community-based partnerships, makes a real difference in society and leads to more informed decision-making for public policy, professional practice and social programs,” says Vice-President Research & Innovation, Robert Haché.

In this award, CARA recognizes Research Impact Canada’s remarkable contribution to inter-institutional collaboration and sharing, including developing knowledge mobilization tools that are adopted beyond the network, engaging in joint ventures and hosting major events that facilitate collaboration. This group embodies leadership and creativity in working collaboratively and effectively to achieve a shared goal in research management.
York University continues for a second and final term as the lead institution in Research Impact Canada for 2017-20.

For more information, visit the Research Impact Canada website.

Social Media & Research Unconference: What works? What’s next?

UnconferenceWhen is the Unconference?: Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (day before the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum #CKF17)

Where is the Unconference?: Four-Points by Sheraton Gatineau-Ottawa

Will there be food? Yes! Refreshments (coffee/tea/juice/snacks) and lunch are provided.

Who should attend? People interested in learning and sharing about social media and research. You might be a researcher, a student, a social media coordinator, or a knowledge broker.

More specifically, this event is for people who are interested in using social media for research, for knowledge mobilization, or who are researching social media. The important part is that you want to learn from others in the field and share your own knowledge and experiences.

What is an Unconference?: Good question! An unconference is a loosely structured conference where active participation, collaboration with peers, and idea sharing are essential. The program for this event will be set by you – the attendees – first thing in the morning on 16th of May. We’ll fit your ideas into some fun methods to support conversation and learning. Attendees are encouraged to give presentations, pitch topics of discussion, and actively participate in the conversations. With the assistance of a facilitator, a program will be created. In an unconference, the program is fluid and can change throughout the day as conversations continue and new ideas develop. To learn more about unconferences and how to prepare for them, click here.

Attendees are encouraged to think about what topics they could contribute the Social Media & Research Unconference in advance. Possible topics may include:

    What are best practices in using social media (SM) for knowledge mobilization (KMb) and stakeholder engagement
    How do best practices and uptake of social media differ across sectors and disciplines?
    What are great examples of social media in the research process: For example: as a method for network analysis, dissemination channel, engagement strategy.
    Where has social media not worked well in the research process?
    Where is more research needed about the use of social media for KMb?
    What are the best SM platforms for KMb work?
    What are some of the innovative projects that have used SM for KMb work?
    What do researchers and students need to know about building a digital identity?
    Where can SM fit in the life cycle of a research project?
    What social media tools are new and exciting (live streaming, participant recruitment, etc.)

-*We’re using the term “Knowledge Mobilization” to include knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, knowledge exchange, etc.

Cost: $80.00 (includes lunch)

To register: Click this link

Hotel: If you’re joining us from out of town, there is a discounted hotel rate ($164/night) available for those participating in the #CKF17 and the SM Unconference. Just mention the Forum when booking at the Sheraton Four-Points Gatineau. The rate can be extended from Friday, May 12th to Monday, May 22nd.

Gathering my Thoughts for the C2UExpo Gatherings

This week’s guest post was originally posted on the C2UExpo 2017 blog on April 29, 2017. It is reposted here with permission.

With C2UExpo 2017 beginning in a couple short days, we can’t wait to delve right into some of the themes each of our Gatherings will be addressing.

Let’s see what Trail Blazer– David J. Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services at York University had to say about the following questions!

1. What does community-campus partnerships mean to you? Why should we care?

The key for me is the word partnership. Partners come together around a shared interest. If it’s not a shared interest, if there isn’t equal passion and valued contributions from both (or more) partners then you might as well secure the help of a consultant (no offence to the many excellent consultants out there…and see a very old post I did about consultants vs knowledge brokers). At York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit 70% of the partnerships we support are driven by the needs of the community partner. This is one of the ways we strive to balance power in a demand driven (or community “pull”) method. The life skills mentoring program that researchers from our Faculty of Education co developed with the Youth Emergency Shelter of Peterborough was a result of the shelter seeking to understand recidivism in their client population and asked York if we could help. See this video for more on this example.

Why should we care? Universities are bound by a social contract. We are invested in by the public. And while the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and understanding is a legitimate goal there is an opportunity to create a broader return on the public’s investment in universities by connecting our research activities to organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors so that our research and expertise can have an impact on the lives of local and global citizens.

We don’t do this because we are mandated to do so. We do this because we want to make a difference. And that difference is magnified when we do it in partnership with organizations that can make the products, develop the policies and deliver the services that have an impact on citizens.

2. Defining and measuring the impact of our work. Can it be done? If we don’t then what?

Yes. And since the first answer is yes then the second question is moot.

In the Research Impact Canada network we have taken the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) as the starting point. The REF is a centralized research impact assessment exercise that evaluates all UK universities on the impact their research has had beyond the academy (on culture, society, health, economy, environment etc.). So not only can it be done it is being done on a national, system wide level. The Research Impact Canada network has adapted the REF impact assessment guidelines and template to fit our Canadian context. York University is piloting this tool on a community-campus collaboration that evaluated a hub of domestic violence shelters. The Knowledge Mobilization Unit brokered this collaboration. Once we have assessed the pilot we will adjust the tool and roll out in a more systematic fashion.

This makes the second question less urgent. But if you don’t assess your impact then you will never be able to report on your successes. You will lack the evidence to make the case that your work is vital. You will not be able to create a sustainable model for supporting community campus collaborations without the evidence of success.

If we expect community campus collaborations to create evidence that informs decisions about policies, practices and services then we need to apply that same rigour to our own operations.

I am sharing the stage for the Final Gathering with Jacline Nyman, Am Johal, Annalee Yassi, Derek Gent and William Lindsay. What a great group presenting in front of a great (and hopefully engaged) audience to kick at these very important and timely questions. See you in British Columbia!

Arts Based Translation of Health Research / Application par les arts de la recherche en santé

By day David Phipps (@researchimpact ; @mobilemobilizer) is a knowledge mobilization professional. In the evenings and weekends David is a student in the adult program of Canada’s National Ballet School (@DavidBallet). On April 20, those two identities collided when Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) hosted a knowledge translation workshop http://www.nbs-enb.ca/Sharing-Dance/Sharing-Dance-Programs/Dance-Classes-for-People-with-Parkinson-s/Translating-Knowledge-Into-Action focused on Dance for Parkinson’s Disease.

Le jour, David Phipps (@researchimpact ; @mobilemobilizer) est un professionnel de la mobilisation des connaissances. Le soir et les weekends, David est inscrit au programme pour adultes de l’ÉNB, l’École nationale de ballet du Canada (@DavidBallet). Ces deux identités se sont télescopées le 20 avril, jour où l’ÉNB accueillait un atelier d’application des connaissances, dans son volet Dansons ensemble pour les ainés atteints de Parkinson.

Many of us have used arts based methods for knowledge translation. At the KMb Unit at York Univeristy, we have supported theatre and poetry. The KT Core of Kids Brian Health Network (hosted at KMb York) has supported theatre – check out the short video of a play called Jacob’s Story about FASD. But we have never worked with dance as a KT method. That’s one reason the event about KT and Dance for Parkinson’s was so interesting to me.

April 20, 2017 was the launch of the Dance for Parkinson’s Network Canada. The launch coincided with a workshop presenting research from Rachel Bar, a graduate of the National Ballet School and a PhD student at Ryerson University, researching the health benefits of dance for people living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Rachel has combined those two identities as the Manager, Health and Research Initiatives for NBS. The workshop featured very accessible posters describing work to date and some implications of the work for stakeholders (see below). We also did a dance class with dancers from the NBS Parkinson’s program. This class was led by David Leventhal, co-Founder of Dance for PD® and a former dancer with the Mark Morris dance group in New York. We danced seated in a chair, accompanied by live piano. What made it dance and not just movement to music was the imagery David used as we were dancing whether it was running our hand across water, mimicking rain fall, swinging a baseball bat or waving at someone every movement was an image.

Dance for Parkinsons

Next, Rachel moderated a panel discussion with a David Leventhala clinical neurologist, a dancer from the Parkinson’s program and a researcher (Joe DeSouza, York University). The panel was an example of KT in action when lived experience is joined with research and clinical practice. This was backed by some of Rachel’s work showing the literature underpinning the effects of dance in PD which included original peer reviewed papers, randomized controlled trials and literature reviews.

Rachel also presented implications for stakeholders including patients, family members, clinicians and researchers. And here’s where I hope to help. I observed to Rachel and to NBS that there are policy implications of this research including ministries of health, seniors and heritage. Dipikia Damerla (@DipikaDamerla), Ontario Minister for Seniors Affairs, provided remarks at the event so there is already a doorway into provincial policy makers. Joe DeSouza is one of York’s researchers. I am dancing at NBS. I hope to join my profession and my passion by exploring how I can help bring this important research and amazing PD program to the attention of the right policy makers. I hope to help Rachel as well as her research and dance colleagues to engage in good KT planning to identify goals, partners, activities and evaluation of their KT plan. For more on how we support KT planning at KMb York and Kids Brain Health Network see our recent paper about KT planning in grant applications.

Connecting Impact Pathways to Actual Impacts / Raccorder la trajectoire à l’impact

Researchers are crafting impact strategies in grant applications. Are they getting any help from their universities and their institutional research administrators?

Dans leurs demandes de subvention, les chercheurs mettent au point des stratégies d’impact. Reçoivent-ils de l’aide pour ce faire de la part de leur université et des administrateurs de la recherche?

Fast Track Impact logoMore from the world of impact in the UK, this time a reflection on a post by Mark Reed and Sarah Buckmaster from February 2016. Sarah and Mark compared the impact pathways from research teams who had been awarded the highest scores for impact in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. For more on REF 2014, see this journal club and last week’s post.

The seven studies presented span health, social sciences and humanities with impacts on policy, professional practice and culture – this diversity suggests the 10 common elements of impact pathways are not unique to any discipline or sector. The 10 common elements are: clear connectivity from overall vision to objectives and impact; specificity; tailor made impact; build in flexibility; assign responsibility – name names; demonstrate demand; highlight collaborative partnerships; don’t ignore sensitivities; think long term; record everything.

I’m not going to go into detail in each of these because Mark and Sarah have done that in their post.

ARMA logoWhat I will reflect on is the role of the university helping researchers craft these specific impact pathways in their applications. ARMA – the association supporting university research administrators (those people who are hired to help you craft your grant applications) – has a specific group interested in impact. It is not just the job of the grant applicant to ensure impact strategies incorporate these 10 key success elements. It is also the job of institutions to support researchers crafting their grant applications. How many ARMA members receive specific training not only as REF officers collecting the evidence of impact but also in supporting impact strategies in grant applications? This list of 10 key success elements could form a checklist for ARMA members to use to not only assess strategies at application review before submission but also to build capacity of researchers before they start writing the application (a new product idea for Fast Track Impact – you can thank me later, Mark).

At York University (Toronto, Canada), we have published on our process for supporting impact in grant applications. We also lead Research Impact Canada, a network of 12 universities building capacity to support impacts of research. We don’t have a formal impact assessment process like the REF but most Canadian funding programs require the equivalent of impact pathways. Because of this requirement we are sharing tools and building expertise to support impact at the institutional level. This is only now coming onto the radar of CARA (the Canadian ARMA) with an impact planning and assessment workshop I am delivering on May 7 at the CARA annual conference.

It would be interesting to ask the authors of these highly successful impact strategies what support they received from their institution during the grant application process. This would demonstrate if there is existing impact expertise in research administrators or if there is a skills gap and an opportunity for institutions to invest in capacity building to support impact which, in turn, will support success in the REF. It is a little late to start to build capacity to support impact in an application that won’t be funded until 2018 at the earliest and therefore won’t likely contribute to impacts in REF 2021. But Mark and Sarah advocate thinking long term. REF 2026 is just around the corner, at least in terms of impact which can take years after the funded grant project to manifest.

And don’t forget to call Canada. We are happy to share our supports for impact in grant applications and look forward to learning from UK experts as well. CARA and ARMA are already collaborating on accreditation for research administrators. Maybe impact could be part of this exchange. Just ask @JulieEBayley.

Watching Impact in the REF and How It Informs the Canadian Context / Le REF en observation : comment l’impact s’y manifeste, et son influence sur la situation canadienne

The Research Excellence Framework is a system wide research assessment exercise that includes assessment of the various non-academic impacts of research. As the UK prepares for REF 2021 Research Impact Canada is piloting impact assessment in Canada. Not because of any reporting requirement but because we should understand and communicate the impacts we are making. It’s the right thing to do.

Au Royaume-Uni, le Research Excellence Framework est un exercice d’évaluation de la recherche appliqué à l’ensemble du système d’enseignement supérieur, qui prévoit l’évaluation des nombreux impacts de la recherche en dehors de l’université. Tandis que ce pays prépare son REF de 2021, au Canada, le Réseau Impact Recherche réalise son propre projet pilote d’évaluation de l’impact. Non pas parce qu’une autorité quelconque nous l’impose, mais parce que comprendre et communiquer les effets que nous provoquons… c’est ce qu’il faut faire, tout simplement.

For 10 years Research Impact Canada (RIC) has been leading the development of institutional knowledge mobilization practices that create the conditions to maximize the social, economic and/or environmental impacts of university research. Our vision statement is:

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

If we say we will maximize impact we needed to figure out a way to assess the impact of the research we were helping to mobilize. We looked to the UK Research Excellence Framework for inspiration (for more on REF and why it is important see this recent journal club entry). The REF required all UK universities to articulate the impacts of research using guidelines (page 26 here) and completing an impact case study template. There is much (not all) good about the REF. But there is much in the work of RIC that is not captured in the narrowly construed REF definitions of research and of impact. There is also a decoupling of the efforts made by institutions (as reported in the environment data) to support impact and the impact cases themselves.

The Evaluation Committee of Research Impact Canada did a deep dive into the REF and developed our own adaptation of the REF impact assessment guidelines and case study template. The major changes are summarized in the table below:

Changes between REF and RIC impact assessment table

View this table as a PDF

That’s what we have done. What are we doing?

We are piloting the RIC research impact assessment guidelines and impact case study template on one example from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit. We have also delivered our first impact assessment workshop to scientists and knowledge brokers at the research-policy interface at Eawag, the Swiss water research institute. We received good feedback from them and will be incorporating this into successive iterations of the guidelines and template. Ultimately we will roll this out through RIC member universities and beyond to provide a tool for researchers and institutions to collect the evidence of impact and inform different means of disseminating stories of impact so our various stakeholders (funders, partners, governments, and the public) can see the difference that universities make on society, the economy and/or the environment.

Our work in Canada is timely as HEFCE reports it has just finished consultations on REF 2021 and are about to review and analyze over 370 responses. We can continue to learn from each other. The Canadian and UK contexts are different. The main difference is the driver. We don’t have a REF in Canada so we have greater leeway to construct research impact assessment tools that work in our contexts. But our contexts are also not really that different. UK and Canadian funders require grant applicants to express the potential impacts of their research and the plans (and budgets) for creating those impacts. Now Canada also has a mechanism to facilitate the collection and reporting on the evidence of impact that was inspired by the REF but adapted to meet the needs of the Research Impact Canada network.

Give us a call, HEFCE. We’re happy to share as you pour through those 370 responses!

Event: March 29: The Australian KT Experience and Our Move to the Impact Agenda

The Knoweldge Mobilization Unit at York University looks forward to welcoming Tamika Heiden to YorkU for a talk this Wednesday. Please join us if you are in the area!

The Australian KT Experience and Our Move to the Impact Agenda

March 29, 2017

Tamika Heiden, Knowledge Translation Australia

Tamika HeidenThis talk has been organized by the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University. Knowledge mobilization
helps turn research into action.

Tamika Heiden, of Knowledge Translation Australia, has been driving change, advocating for Knowledge Translation (KT), and training researchers and research support staff in KT processes for the past three years. In a country yet to embrace KT and Impact, Tamika has been preparing for the inevitable change to research funding and reward. In 2017, the Australian government is undertaking its first Engagement and Impact Assessment Pilot, with the view to ongoing impact assessment beginning in 2018.

Join Tamika as she shares the KT practices that are happening in Australia and gives insights into the current research impact and engagement evaluation landscape. This conversational style session will look at Tamika’s entrepreneurial approach to KT, examine current KT roles and activities, and discuss the role of KT in the Australian Impact and Engagement agenda moving forward.

Date:
Wednesday, March 29

Time:
1:00pm to 3:00pm

Location:
Room 519, Kaneff Tower
York University, Keele Campus
4700 Keele Street, Toronto

Knowledge Mobilization Officer Position Opening at York University

We are excited to share this job opportunity for a Knowledge Mobilization Officer to lead the VISTA, Vision: Science to Applications program at York University. Here is a summary of the position:

YorkULogoVer(large)Application Deadline: April 5, 2017 Full position details

Purpose:
Under the general supervision of the Manager of Knowledge Mobilization, the Knowledge Mobilization Officer (KMb Officer) works within knowledge mobilization team and more specifically, will be the knowledge mobilization lead for VISTA, the Vision: Science to Applications program. The knowledge mobilization team is part of Innovation York, the innovation unit within the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) at York University.

KMb Officer coordinates the various KMb functions in order to provide effective and efficient service and support to VISTA faculty members, trainees, students, and external VISTA partners in the administration of the University’s practices relating to knowledge mobilization. KMb Officer will advance knowledge mobilization activities for VISTA researchers, specifically VISTA core members by: creating and maintaining effective working relationships with VISTA faculty, trainees and students in order to understand ongoing research projects, assist in creating opportunities for research partnerships with external organizations, work with new and existing research partnerships, and assist with the creation and dissemination of communications materials for VISTA research projects.

KMb Officer will provide outreach to policy makers and decision makers, as well as external organizations, in order to disseminate communications materials and maximize the impact of VISTA research.

Education:
Minimum undergraduate degree is required, preferably in the sciences or communication/journalism.

Experience:
Minimum two years of experience working with a specific knowledge mobilization or communications mandate, either in a university research administrative environment or in the equivalent in government, NGO, community or voluntary agency, in a research or policy environment.

Skills:
Excellent presentation skills. Ability to work independently as well as in a team environment; excellent judgment, oral and written communication, interpersonal, problem-solving and organizational skills; ability to multitask, set priorities and meet tight deadlines; strong analytical skills; professionalism, tact, sensitivity and diplomacy in interactions with internal and external constituencies; flexibility, self-directed and demonstrated initiative, creativity; high level of accuracy and attention to detail; comfort with ambiguity. Knowledge of University research and financial policies and procedures an asset. Demonstrated advanced skills in MS Office, intermediate skill and experience in web design software (such as HTML or Dreamweaver) and basic database software (such as MS Access). Demonstrated experience using and instructing on the use of social media (O3 Platform, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube) required, preferably in a research environment. Ability to work with databases and web content management systems. Demonstrated ability to use Google analytics and other web metrics.

Salary: Annual salary of $59,565 will be prorated based on the number of weeks worked.

Position Start Date: April 17, 2017 Position End Date: March 31, 2023

Application Deadline: April 5, 2017

For full position details, visit http://webapps.yorku.ca/nonacademicpostings/summary.jsp?postingnumber=10366

Éthique de la recherche et du terrain en contexte autochtone – 12 Avril

Éthique de la recherche et du terrain en contexte autochtone (aussi en webdiffusion)

https://t.co/kuHqQN6uXH

Boîte à outils des principes de la recherche en context autochtone12 Avril 2017
13h00 à 15h00

Pavillon Roger Gaudry – Université de Montréal
Salle S-116
2900, boul. Édouard-Montpetit, Montréal
Montréal (Québec) Canada H3T 1J4

Prix: Entrée libre, places limitées

L’objectif de cet atelier est d’examiner les outils existants en matière de gestion et de pratiques de la recherche de manière à respecter les aspirations des communautés et instances autochtones en matière de recherche les concernant. Lors de cet atelier, nous passerons à travers les différentes étapes permettant d’établir une relation de recherche respectueuse et équitable en vue de recueillir des données pertinentes et d’organiser un transfert de connaissances efficace.

Webdiffusion : Connectez vous pour participer à l’atelier

Avec Karine Gentelet, Suzy Basile et Nancy Gros-Louis McHugh (en visioconférence depuis Wendake)

Introduction par Pierre De Coninck (UdeM), président du comité d’études nordiques de l’Université de Montréal.

Plan de l’atelier

    Les communautés autochtones du Nord du Québec
    Concept de santé globale.
    Histoire du principe de consentement et des protocoles autochtones de recherche.
    Lignes directrices pour les recherches portant sur les femmes et lignes directrice du groupe de travail des Premiers peuples.
    Responsabilité sociale du chercheur et le transfert des connaissances.
    Boîte à outils des principes de la recherche en contexte autochtone (2015)
    Questions et discussions.

Karine Gentelet est professeure en études autochtones au Département des sciences sociales de l’Université du Québec en Outaouais. Ses champs d’intérêt portent sur la reconnaissance des droits des Peuples autochtones, l’éthique de la recherche, la responsabilité sociale des chercheurs et l’anthropologie/sociologie du droit. Dernièrement elle a codirigé la “Boîte à outils de la recherche en contexte autochtone” à laquelle participaient Suzie Basile et Nancy Gros-Louis McHugh. Elle est fortement engagée dans la promotion et la défense des droits de la personne, notamment des droits des Peuples autochtones auprès d’Amnistie Internationale Amnistie Internationale depuis 2007.

Suzie Basile est professeure à l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue à l’École d’études autochtones. Ses champs de spécialisation sont l’anthropologie culturelle, peuples autochtones (Premières Nations et Inuit, femmes autochtones, éthique de la recherche et développement nordique.

Nancy Gros-Louis McHugh est gestionnaire du secteur de la recherche pour la Commission de la santé et des services sociaux des Premières Nations du Québec et a piloté la mise sur pied du Protocole de recherche des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador.

Cet atelier vise à rejoindre :

    les étudiants-chercheurs du Programme de formation scientifique dans le Nord (PFSN),
    les chercheurs désirant amorcer ou effectuant des recherches en contexte autochtone.

Cet atelier est présenté par le Bureau Recherche – Développement – Valorisation de l’Université de Montréal.

https://t.co/kuHqQN6uXH

Canada is looking for a Chief Knowledge Broker / Le Canada en quête d’un courtier de connaissances en chef

Canada is searching for a Chief Science Advisor. They are looking for someone with an outstanding track record of scholarship. What they really need is a Chief Knowledge Broker.

Le gouvernement canadien cherche à pourvoir le poste de conseiller scientifique en chef. La personne recherchée doit posséder un bagage de connaissances hors du commun. Ce dont le gouvernement a besoin, en fait, c’est un courtier de connaissances en chef.

See the full job ad here

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

>

Justin Trudeau and Kirsty Duncan are seeking a PhD scientist with a strong record of peer reviewed publications and research management. They are seeking a PhD scientist to “focus on how scientific information is disseminated and used by the federal government, and how evidence is incorporated into government-wide decision-making”. Sounds like knowledge mobilization to me!

To be clear, they are not looking for a PhD in implementation science (although that would be excellent). They are looking for one of Canada’s greatest molecular biologists, cosmologists, mechanical engineers, neuroscientists, nanotechnologists etc. to step into a role that defines knowledge mobilization. Tell me how someone with an H Factor of +50 is going to know the first thing about how scientific information is disseminated and used in government decision making?

To be fair they do consider that “experience in one or more of the following areas would be an asset:

• involvement in scientific reviews within legislative or regulatory processes;
• public scientific communication;
• promoting transparency and integrity in scientific research; and
• evaluation of scientific or research programs or projects.”

Public scientific communication and involvement in legislative processes are considered to be one of four things (hence optional) for a job that is all about “how scientific information is disseminated and used”.

Kirsty and Justin, these need to be at the top of your list of mandatory experience, not buried as an optional nice to have. You need to be looking for someone with expertise in the research to policy interface. Canada’s best particle physicist will not be able to provide much help when asked to advise on sensitive topics such as vaccines, GMO foods or First Nations. You don’t need a specialist PhD. You need a process specialist who has demonstrated excellence facilitating evidence use in all sorts of disciplines.

Good luck with the search. Don’t forget to come back to Research Impact Canada for advice on seeking science advice.

[Sorry gentle readers, the competition closed February 13, 2017. You don’t need to rush to update your resumé for this job. But maybe the Chief Science Advisor will see that a PhD in whatever actually needs a knowledge broker to be successful.]

The “Guide of Guides” Series for Knowledge Translation

This week’s guest post comes from Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet).

Kids Brain Health Network (formerly NeuroDevNet) is a Network of Centres of Excellence funded by the Federal government of Canada. There are three discovery programs focused on the early diagnosis and treatment of: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cerebral Palsy. Three Cores serve the researchers and trainees within the Network as well as the other Cores: Neuroethics, Neuroinformatics, and Knowledge Translation (KT). The KT Core is hosted by York University’s award winning Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit and provides 7 services within the Network:

1- Knowledge Brokering
2- Support for KT Events
3- Support for KT Products
4- KT Capacity Building
5- Evaluating KT
6- Support KT Planning
7- Stakeholder Engagement

A couple of years ago, one of our researchers asked us for guidance for using social media for KT. We realized while searching for what was ‘already out there’ that there are a lot of guides for social media, but not all of them are targeted towards use by researchers. In collaboration with York University’s KMb Unit, we produced our first “Guide of Guides” that is a compilation of carefully selected and vetted guides for social media that are relevant. The “Guide of Guides” format resembles an annotated bibliography, where the reference information is provided for each guide along with a summary paragraph about the tool, how it can be used and why you may wish to use it. The “Social Media Guide of Guides” became the start of a series. This post serves as a “guide” to the “Guide of Guides” series.



Soon after, we produced the “KT Planning Guide of Guides”. We were doing a search for existing KT planning guides because another project we were working on was to provide KT planning support for 4 key projects within the Network and we wanted to see if there was a tool out there that we could use. What we ended up doing was creating our own, that was specific to our own needs (the Hybrid KT Planning and Project Management tool). However, we had conducted an exhaustive search of existing KT Planning tools so we reviewed and vetted them for quality and relevance, and created a similar “Guide of Guides” for KT Planning.



We received several requests from researchers for support and resources for creating infographics. After searching for existing guides, we realized that surprisingly there weren’t any guides for researchers about infographics, only blog posts. So, we vetted the blog posts, searched the literature and wrote a comprehensive evidence-based guide, followed by an annotated list of what we deemed were the best blog posts on infographics. Some blog posts pointed to examples of infographics, while others explained step by step how to create an infographic and what tools were available (usually free, online) for creating your own. While the content wasn’t really a “Guide of Guides” per se, we titled this product the “Infographic Guide of Guides”. We were fortunate to have one project team pilot test a draft of this guide and provide feedback before it was finalized and posted. This is the first guide that included an appendix with form-fillable fields to help research teams work through the process of creating an infographic.



Finally, we produced a “Stakeholder Engagement Guide of Guides”. There are many guides for doing stakeholder engagement, and it is becoming more important for KBHN to do stakeholder engagement in a more formalized way. After searching, reviewing, and vetting guides available online, we created a similarly formatted “Guide of Guides” for stakeholder engagement that also included a form-fillable appendix to help facilitate planning. Since there are many different reasons (goals/objectives) for engaging with stakeholders and many different formats for doing so, we created a summary table at the beginning of the guide that separates the types of engagement into three tables: mostly sharing information with stakeholders, sharing and listening, and mostly listening. The list of specific formats within each category was visually coded so that the user can easily find the corresponding guide for detailed information.



The KT Core may produce one more “Guide of Guides” on evaluation methods for KT.

Six Actions to Mobilize Knowledge / Six actions pour mobiliser les connaissances

On January 31, 2017, Bev Holmes and Allan Best summarized their recent paper in Evidence & Policy that seeks to make sense of the complexity of knowledge mobilization by pointing to six key actions that can be taken by initiative managers and key influencers.

Le 31 janvier 2017, Bev Holmes et Allan Best ont résumé leur récent article, paru dans Evidence & Policy, dans lequel ils cherchent à expliquer la complexité de la mobilisation des connaissances. Ils indiquent six actions clés qui sont à la portée des gestionnaires d’initiative et des grands influenceurs.

Puzzle piecesOn February 9, 2017, I wrote in Mobilize This! about a paper I published with colleagues that outline five determinants of successful knowledge brokering. Bev Holmes and Allan Best have done something similar. The paper I did was based on a transnational comparison of knowledge brokering practices. Holmes & Best come at it from complexity studies. They advocate working with complexity rather than trying to avoid it.

Their six key actions are: co-producing knowledge, establishing shared goals and measures, enabling leadership, ensuring adequate resourcing, contributing to the science of knowledge-to-action, and communicating strategically.

Our five determinants of successful brokering are: build trust; develop capacity; co-construct knowledge; understand the political, social and economic context; and build culture.

The differences are interesting but so are the similarities. Both articles reference co-producing/co-constructing knowledge. Ensuring adequate resources is similar to building capacity. Enabling leadership is part of building a culture of knowledge brokering. You need to understand the political, social and economic context (Phipps et al) before you can establish shared goals and measures (Holmes & Best).

What is also interesting from Homes & Best is they identify two types of knowledge mobilizers who can be involve in each of their six actions. They identify “those who: (1) are managing specific knowledge mobilization initiatives (initiative managers), and (2) are in a position to make the environment more receptive to change (key influencers).”

This distinction is important as we consider the increasingly professionalized cohort of knowledge mobilization practitioners. These different cohorts of knowledge mobilization practitioners are managing projects (initiative managers) and environments (key influencers) and this starts to create organizational structures for resourcing knowledge mobilization. This may not be relevant to the many knowledge mobilization practitioners who work as solo operators in their organization but for those working in units we will expect to see various “levels” of practitioners.

We will always need front line knowledge brokers – the initiative managers of Holmes & Best. But we will also see a managerial level and a leadership level. As we consider the key competencies for knowledge mobilization practitioners (a group @JulieEBayley and I call research impact practitioners) we will need to understand how these competencies map onto different levels of practitioners from the brokers doing the work, the people managing the brokers and the people who are leading systems of knowledge mobilization.

Will the competencies vary or will the types of work undertaken to practice the competency change?

How to Influence Policy / Pour influencer les politiques

Sending your research to policy makers will have little influence on their decisions; however, if you understand these 10 elements then you have a better chance at creating the conditions where your research can inform policy.

Le fait d’envoyer vos travaux de recherche aux décideurs aura peu d’influence sur leurs décisions ; mais si vous comprenez bien ces 10 éléments, vous saurez mettre en place les conditions dans lesquelles vos travaux auront de meilleures chances d’influencer les politiques.

10 Things to know about how to influence policy with research

For all the academic researchers (and their supporters and partners) in the audience, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is the UK’s leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues. I love this short but highly informative summary synthesizing many years of scholarship and practice on research to policy impact. Louise Shaxon is a co-author, someone who has worked on the ground in policy influence.

This document illustrates how difficult it is to influence policy makers and gives tips on how to overcome some of the barriers. The top 10 are below. Check out the document for tips on each of these that will help to move your research evidence towards policy.

1. Know what you want to influence
2. Know who you want to influence
3. Know when to influence – this is often harder to know than the first two
4. Build relationships and networks
5. Policy development is not a linear process
6. Policy making is inherently political
7. Plan your engagement
8. Focus on ideas (not problems) and be proposition (i.e. give them a solution)
9. It takes time
10. Monitor, learn and adjust along the way

A note on three of these:

#6. Policy making is inherently political. A senior bureaucrat said to me once, “Evidence doesn’t vote”. Evidence is only one input into the policy making process. This connects to #4 Relationships and Networks. You (and your evidence) won’t succeed alone. Make the connections to other parts of the broader policy system (advocates, associations, the public, media) to align policy advocacy efforts.

#7. Plan Your Engagement: This document recommends you go beyond dissemination methods to more engaged methods of uptake such as public events and meetings. I don’t think this goes far enough. We know from the PARIHS framework that uptake of evidence needs to be facilitated in the context of decision making. Meetings are good. Facilitated workshops of your evidence with policy makers, especially if the workshop is jointly facilitated by a policy maker, will create greater opportunities for policy makers to engage with your evidence. And yet I will go one step further. Seek opportunities to collaborate with policy makers to co-create the evidence that they need and is also important to your scholarship. This is not them contracting you to do their work (although that also has a role) but about finding areas of mutual interest that produce excellent academic scholarship that can also be used in decision making. See Bowen & Graham for more on engaged scholarship vs. knowledge transfer.

#10. Monitor, learn and adjust along the way. In addition to the actions in the document, I recommend you remain in touch with the policy makers so that you can capture the evidence of the impact of your efforts. You won’t know: 1) if your research was used; and 2) if it was did that use informed a change; and 3) if it did what difference did the change make to anyone. This doesn’t have to be onerous or formal. An e mail or phone call every six months reminding them of your engagement efforts and asking if the evidence was used, implemented and if it made a difference will help you track from your research to your engagement efforts to eventual policy impact.

Thank you, Louise and colleagues, for a concise and useful document to guide policy influence. It’s not an easy process but you have provided guidance to overcome some of the barriers.

The document can be downloaded from ODI here.

Mobilizing Knowledge to Give Children and Families the Best Start: Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham’s Best Start Network

This week’s guest post comes from Darren Levine, Manager of the Innovation and Research Unit in the Social Services Department of the Regional Municipality of Durham, on behalf of the Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham Region’s Best Start Network.

Durham Region logoOver the past several months, the Research and Knowledge Mobilization Sub-Committee of Durham Region’s Best Start Network has begun to mobilize local EDI (Early Development Instrument) data to inform practice across Durham’s early learning community. This sub-committee is comprised of representatives from The Region of Durham’s Social Services Department, Innovation and Research Unit, and Health Department, local academic organizations including the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College, and community agencies.

EDI data is gathered every several years to examine school readiness in young children and is led by the Offord Centre. Following each gathering of the data, a research report is written and is used to inform planning. Our sub-committee has taken recent EDI research and, earlier this month, completed our first two resources – an at-a-glance poster to be placed on the walls of early learning centres, and a two page “research-to-practice” highlight to be circulated amongst early learning professionals. These resources translate areas of the EDI that suggest opportunities for improvement into tangible, evidence-informed strategies for early learning professionals. These initial prototype resources have been very well received and we have begun to receive requests to put up the posters and distribute the summaries in early learning and childcare centres across Durham Region.

We are very excited and, in the new year our sub-committee will be scaling up to translate and mobilize other parts of Durham Region’s EDI data into tangible products for early childhood professionals, as well as explore digital platforms to support and enhance this work. We will also be exploring ways in which we might evaluate the impact of our work. Equally exciting is the very strong academic-community relationships that have been formed, and the shared leadership to co-create these resources that has emerged from all members of our sub-committee. Knowledge mobilization is truly a team effort!

Our sub-committee could not have gotten here without inspiration and all that we have learned from York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit!

Members of this sub-committee include:

Darren Levine – Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department (Co-Chair)
Ann LeSage, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Co-Chair)
Alison Burgess, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Denise Cashley, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Erin O’Dacre, Durham Farm and Rural Family Resources
Gloria Duke-Aluko, Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department
Jackie Dick, PRYDE Early Learning Centres
Jane Thompson, YMCA of Greater Toronto
Jason Warga, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Julie Gaskin, Durham Region Children’s Services
Karen Chartier, Lake Ridge Community Support Services
Laura Stephan, Innovation and Research Unit, Durham Region Social Services Department
Lorraine Closs, Durham College
Mary Lennon, Lake Ridge Community Support Services
Nicole Doyle, Durham College
Pam Douglas, Durham College
Susan Mace, Durham Region Heath Department
Taryn Eickmeier, Durham Region Children’s Services
Terra Mucci, Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth, Durham
Tracey Hull-Gosse, Durham College