Cage Match: Tapscott vs. Weinberg (I’ll take them both, and the margarita…)

Grown Up Digital and The New Community Rules

I just finished two books that have received a lot of press of late – Dan Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital” and “The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web” by Tamar Weinberg.  “Grown Up Digital” is an exploration of the Net Generation (31 years old and younger) who grew up in the digital age while “The New Community Rules” explores the social media tools those NetGeners use and how they can be applied to marketing your business.

Tamar WeinbergLet me say off the top that I enjoyed both books but for different reasons.  “New Community” gives detailed descriptions of social media tools including blogging, microblogging, social networking sites, social bookmarking, social news, new media (videos and photography) and informational social media such as wikis – and check the end of each chapter for the chapter summaries and a snapshot of key messages.  Each chapter explores a different aspect of social media with leading product offerings and case studies of how businesses have used each tool for marketing purposes.  “Grown Up” explores how NetGeners different from previous generations in education, work, consumerism, family, democracy and civic engagement.  Of note are the eight NetGen norms: freedom, customization, scrutiny, integrity, collaboration, entertainment, speed and innovation.

TapscottIf you want to learn how to maximize your use of (and maybe return on investment in) social media you should read “New Community” but if you want to learn how to work or live with someone under 31 (and a lot of people over 31 as well) then you should read “Grown Up”.  Face it, you should read them both.

ResearchImpact has been blogging for over 1 year and on twitter since May 2009.  We have launched some knowledge mobilization videos and have more in production but I found the advice from Tamar Weinberg particularly useful, especially the chapter on blogging which has some great tips for new and experienced bloggers.  But working with ResearchImpact and the rest of the Office of Research Services at York University ( I work with a lovely and diverse group of staff from 20 to 62 years old.  The description of the Net Generation in “Grown Up” helps me manage the different work and life experiences that all staff bring to their jobs.

However, the comparisons need not stop at these books.  Both Tamar Weinberg (@tamar) and Don Tapscott (@dtapscott) are on Twitter and have 8672 and 8167 followers respectively (as of August 16, 2009) although Tamar has posted 3100 tweets to Don’s 858.  Both also have social media sites connected to their work.  Tamar can be found at and Don Tapscott’s site for his book is  Both of these sites dig into their subject matter in different ways allowing the consumer to contribute and in Tapscott’s words become the Margaritaprosumer.

If I were to be stranded on a desert island which book would I want?  If I had access to the internet I would want the “how to” information provided in “New Community Rules” but if I were trapped on a desert island with internet access and people under 31 I would want “Grown Up Digital”….of course if I were trapped on a desert island with internet access I’d just swim up to the pool bar of the resort and order another margarita because why else would I be on a desert island in the first place?

The KM Solution Part 1: “What”

If knowledge mobilization is the solution then what is the problem?

On June 18 I was at lunch with my friends from SSHRC Wayne MacDonald (Director, Corporate Performance and Evaluation) and Craig McNaughton (Director, Knowledge Mobilization and Program Integration).  We were enjoying sushi at Festival Japan discussing all things KM and research impact evaluation when Wayne asked me, “What is the problem to which KM is the solution”?

Tekka Maki RollI stopped mid maki.

Having been a KM evangelist since I wrote our first KM grant application late in 2004 this should have been an easy question to answer.  After I finished masticating my maki I promised Wayne I’d get back to him with an answer.

I asked the knowledge brokers in the ResearchImpact network and we started a wiki and associate discussion.  I tweeted and got the following feedback from @petertwo:

“Sustaining innovation – nurture trust, design & implement collaboratively, monitor & adjust in real-time, share value”

I asked my friend and colleague Charles Ungerleider of the Canadian Council on Learning (Director, Research and Knowledge Mobilization) who said, “Put as succinctly as I can, the question to which knowledge mobilization is an answer is: How might the benefits of investments in research be enhanced?”

Sandra NutleyWe then turned to the electronic equivalent of the library stacks and started reading some really interesting literature that took us to the “two communities” work of Nathan Caplan (American Behavioral Scientist (1979), Vol. 22, No. 3: 459-470).  Sandra Nutley and colleagues ( pointed out the limitations of the two communities approach (Journal of Health Services Research & Policy (2008) Vol. 13 No 3: 188–190) so we looked to the university-industry literature on cultural difference to inform our thinking about KM as a bridge between the different cultures of research and action.

Julie Ferguson at CHSRF also discussed the cultural divide between researchers and policy makers in international development (

CHSRF logo

If KM bridges this cultural divide then knowledge brokers are cultural ambassadors.

We were getting closer but still had a little way to go. What is the problem that manifests in cultural differences?

Transparency: Digging deeper we propose that a lack of transparency between researchers and decision makers reinforces this cultural divide. While researchers and decision makers might co-exist even within co-creative collaborations, our institutions continue to reinforce barriers to full participation. These cultural barriers include tenure & promotion, academic jargon, academic publishing, exclusivity of university libraries, exclusivity of graduate student dissertation committees which all privilege academic scholarship.

Ettiene WengerKnowledge brokers increase transparency by acting as guides to researchers seeking to step out of Ivory Towers and to decision makers reaching in. Etienne Wenger illustrates how to increase cultural transparency through participation in communities of practice ( and Christian Dalsgaard and Morten Flate Paulsen illustrate the power of social networking to enhance transparency in learning environments (International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (2009) Volume 10, Number 3:1-22).

So, Wayne, cultural transparency (or lack thereof) between researchers and decision makers is the problem to which knowledge mobilization is the solution.

An effective KM infrastructure including investments in knowledge brokers and social media to support communities of practice will increase transparency between researchers and decision makers and help turn research into action.

This is the first in a series of blogs on knowledge mobilization and cultural transparency. You’re read the “What”. Stay tuned for the “So What” and then “Now What” (thank you Levesque Peter Levesque)

Items of Interest to Ontario Community Groups and Especially those in York Region – Help with Social Media and Access to Infrastructure $$$

York Region covers 1,776 sq km and encompasses nine municipalities north of Toronto, Canada and had a total population of 983,100 in 2007. With a five year growth rate of 22% (2001-6) and with new Canadians making up 43% of the population (almost twice that of Ontario), York Region is one of Canada’s fastest growing and most diverse communities. It has elements of inner city (i.e. downtown Markham), high wealth creation (i.e. Vaughn), an Aboriginal reserve (in Georgina), rural agriculture (i.e. East Gwillimbury) and environmentally protected areas such as the Oakridges Moraine.  This diverse region has diverse opportunities for collaboration with university researchers to co-produce and mobilize knowledge for social innovation.

Brent MacKinnonFacilitating this co-production and knowledge mobilization, York’s KM Unit is pleased to work closely with partners in York Region such as illustrated in our recent publication with the United Way of York Region (read it here).  One strong supporter of community development in York Region is Brent MacKinnon.  York’s KM Unit first met Brent when we brokered a relationship between him (then at Street Kids International) and Uzo Anucha (School of Social Work, York University).  You can see them talk about their collaboration here.  Brent recently launched his consulting company, Social Media Tools for Work and Learning. Brent provides consulting services to nonprofit organizations interested in harnessing the power of the social web to meet their Vision, Mission and Values. Brent’s focus is to support staff in developing their social media strategy and using the right tools to engage supporters and stakeholders. His first issue of his newsletter, MacKinnon’s Cloud was launched this week and features services as well as stories from York Region including a story on the York Region data symposium, which was also featured on Mobilize This! (read it here).

Social Media Tools logoBrent will also be featured at a workshop on social media for knowledge transfer and exchange downtown Toronto on October 5 “What’s the point of 2.0”. Kudos to Brent for being a leader in social media for York Region community organizations and a champion for knowledge mobilization.  You can contact Brent at and follow him on Twitter @brentmack.

One more item for all York Region not for profits is the non profit stream of the federal government’s stimulus package “Creating Jobs, Building Communities”.  Released by Infrastructure Canada, this program will fund infrastructure projects in the following areas: temporary housing shelters; community centres; community services and cultural institutions.  “Projects must be for the substantial renovation or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure or new capital infrastructure”.  Applications are due August 18, 2009.

Knowledge Mobilization & Technology Transfer – Chapter 3: KM as an emerging paradigm for university-industry engagement (and a shout out to Bea Arthur)

No, I haven’t forgotten.  On October 2, 2008 I posted chapter 2 in the series KM & TT (read it here) and now, better late than never, Chapter 3.  I have previously written about how KM and TT are different but there is a common ground where TT officers and knowledge brokers might find they have something in common.

As part of my preparation for this post I tweeted the following on July 31:

1. Simplified: knowledge mobilization is an iterative 2 way socialized exchange that fosters collaboration between researchers and community

2. Simplified: technology transfer is a 1 way push of university research to industrial licensee(s)

3. If knowledge mobilization is analogous to dating then tech transfer is analogous to what?  Suggestions please…

There are many names by which university Tech Transfer Offices (TTO) are known but among them is the name “”University Industry Liaison Office” (UILO).  In a brief phone survey of colleagues in Canadian TTO/UILO I inquired about the balance between tech transfer (the push of patents to licensees) and industry liaison (the brokering of research based relationships between university and industry).  The balance was overwhelmingly on the business of patents and licensing and much less on the active brokering of research collaborations, which is surprising when you look at the stats. In 2006 research contracts attracted $286,667,000 for Canadian university research compared to $59,689,000 received for commercialization of IP (Statistics Canada).  However these relationships generate more than just money.  University industry collaborations are eligible for matching programs from NSERC, CIHR and OCE and provide great training opportunities for graduate students. They also contribute to the university’s reputation.  Furthermore, university-industry engagement doesn’t need to start with IP for science & technology companies.  Companies that derive their inputs from social sciences and humanities (management, law, finance, cultural and heritage industries) account for $696 billion of annual GDP output for Canada exceeding by half the GDP output driven by firms associated with science, technology, engineering and medicine ($431 billion)( Universities can support the broader innovation system by engaging their fine arts departments, business schools, law schools, computer science departments and service learning units with local business and support business and process solutions as well as technology and product opportunities.  But with this opportunity comes a responsibility to invest in and develop an institutional capacity for knowledge brokering (KM and industry liaison) as they currently do for technology transfer.

P&G connect + developAs Larry Huston (who led Procter & Gambles P&G Connect Develop) said, “What we’re talking about is moving from inventing to connecting” ( which is what KM is all about.  With its focus on brokering research based relationships through connecting not inventing, KM is an emerging paradigm for university-industry engagement across the broader innovation system.

Bea ArthurBy the way, in response to my tweeted question, @luisemarie weighed in suggesting that if KM is dating then tech transfer is a forced marriage.  I suggested that if the IP is owned by the institution this is likely correct but if the IP is inventor owned perhaps it is more like an arranged marriage.

Let’s send our faculty out on more research dates and support more of these research marriages. Bea Arthur played Yente the Matchmaker in the premiere of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway in 1964. Let’s hire more Bea Arthurs for research and as the song says:

♫“Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match…”♫

Clear Language Writing and Design Workshops

Matthew Shulman

Matthew Shulman

On July 29, the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York hosted a half-day workshop for York graduate students and non-academic research collaborators on Clear Language Writing and Design.  The session, titled “Write for the Reader” says it all.  The hands-on workshop, led by Matthew Shulman, Executive Director of the Peel Halton Dufferin Adult Learning Network  provided principles and examples of reader-centred writing.  Adopting an action-oriented approach to writing – what do you want the reader to do – supports effective communication.

The common interest for all participants was the development and utilization of clear language research summaries. York’s KM Unit has developed a library of research summaries (read the  Mobilize This! story here). Graduate students present, will produce two ResearchSnapshot summaries which will be added to the library in exchange for the training they received. For the graduate students, who are emerging academics, this training enhances their academic skills and supports their capacity to promote the utilization of their own research and their own engagement with non academic research partners.  Dr. Sandra Cunning, Director of Research and Evaluation with Kinark Child and Family Services,  along with two of her colleagues also attended, demonstrating that this workshop provides great value for our non-academic collaborators as well. 

Clear Language WorkshopFor more information on Clear Language Writing and Design workshops please contact me, Michael Johnny, at There is a workshop tentatively scheduled for August 18.

P.S. Seems I need to attend more of Matthew’s sessions as this blog post is registering at a Grade 13 level.

What do Machiavelli and Dr. Seuss have to do with Knowledge Mobilization?

Machiavelli and The Cat in the Hat

Concludero’ solo che al principe, e necessario avere ilpopolo amico – I will conclude then that it is necessary for the prince to have the people as friends.

Lesson: No silo research. Research partnerships must be broad and most importantly, engage the people impacted by the outcome.

ResearchImpact and a key community partner, the United Way of York Region recently published an article in Issue 22 (June 2009) of Research Global, the magazine of the Global Research Management Network published by the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

All we could do was to sit, sit, sit. And we did not like it, not one little bit. Then something went bump. How that bump made us jump.

Lesson: Enter all partnerships with an initial plan, a willingness to change depending on the circumstances and, when something goes bump, be present. Full commitment, engagement and openness are critical. If not, do not enter.

Research Global June 2009The article titled “Lessons learned from knowledge mobilisation: turning research into action” is a whimsical look at 10 lessons learned from 3 years of growing Canada’s first institutional knowledge mobilization unit broadly serving the needs of university faculty, graduate students and their non academic research partners.  Each lesson is inspired by and offered with apologies to either Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli’s The Prince or Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and we back up each lesson with a real life example drawn from our own knowledge mobilization practice.

The lessons are instructive and the stories are real.  The article concludes “Universities need to work hard to develop relationships that include but also transcend individual researchers, projects and partners, in order to maximize the impact of the university on its communities, both local and global. Collaborating is not easy and you will encounter bumps along the road. The key to riding out the bumps is trust, a shared commitment, and never forgetting to communicate, communicate, communicate with funders, faculty, students and collaborators.”

Read the article and all 10 lessons here and see a PowerPoint presentation of the 10 lessons here.

ResearchImpact says O3 is an Overall Outstanding Opportunity

O3 Play Day July 2009

O3: ORION’s new social networking platform for Ontario researchers and their collaborators provides the most comprehensive suite of social networking and collaborating tools for research and knowledge mobilization.

Launched for early adopters at Discovery 2009, O3 serves the needs of: researchers “O3 enables researchers across groups, institutions and geographies collaborate on specific projects or build a community share ideas”; students “O3 is perfect for graduate students who need a place to collaborate on research wherever they are or create and share content that supports their learning” and educators “educators can build repositories of curriculum and teaching strategies to share across schools, boards and subject areas or interact with students.”  O3 has elements of social networking (blog, profile, messaging, comment board, photo gallery, chat) combined with the collaboration tools of a wiki and discussion forum combined with a document management system.  No other platform that I know of combined all of these elements.

And it’s free to Ontario researchers, educators and their collaborators both inside and outside Ontario. Members of the Ontario R+E community can contribute to the O3 community at large or have their own sub-community for their organization that can be as public or as private as they want to be. Throughout the summer, ORION is looking for keen early adopters to try out the service and help it tweak it for its official October launch at the ROM.

ResearchImpact has been a featured project on O3 since its launch and we have been exploring the functionalities for a couple of months.  On July 14 ResearchImpact hosted a morning of O3 play where we got to play with the features and provide technical and user feedback to ORION.  York’s KM Unit welcomed participation from ABEL, the Steacie Library, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Canadian Mental Health Association, Institute for Work and Health and Mobilizing Minds a large mental health knowledge mobilization project hosted by York and U. Manitoba (see our previous Mobilizing Minds blog posting here) as we explored O3.

According to Liz Lambert (IWH), “O3 has many of the features that will allow IWH to manage our systematic reviews and other knowledge exchange projects. We look forward to exploring these features in greater depth.”

Certain features need to be improved such as the wiki (but we understand that a new wiki is forthcoming) and the message feature which needs to embrace more than 1-to1 messaging.  Overall the greatest attraction is the degree of flexibility of the system.  We were able to imbed a blog and twitter feed widget into the ResearchImpact O3.  We are also able to adeptly manage a variety of permissions to allow differential access to different features.

In addition to ResearchImpact, York University Information Technology is piloting O3 as a collaboration platform for research at York.  O3 promises to be the most useful tool for network enabled knowledge mobilization.  ResearchImpact will begin using O3 as a social networking platform for its main operation platform and we will encourage ResearchImpact associated projects such as Mobilizing Minds to adopt O3.

For more information on O3 please contact Gary Hilson  at

Community Based Research Canada (CBRC) Symposium “From Recession to Renewal: The Vital Contribution of Community Based Research”

Last month in Ottawa Community Based Research Canada (CBRC) held a working Symposium “From Recession to Renewal: The Vital Contribution of Community Based Research”. This event was co-hosted by the Faculty of Public Affairs at Carleton University, and saw a number of speaking panels comprised of both academic and community leaders. A paper titled “Funding and Development of Community University Research Partnerships” was presented by Rupert Downing and Budd Hall, and opportunities for networking and discussion occurred throughout the day.

CBRC is a network of people and organizations engaged in Community-Based Research to meet the needs of people and communities. CBRC came into being through the Community University Expo Conference held in Victoria, BC in May of 2008.

Since that time many more universities and organizations have joined . The Universities of Carleton (Dean Katherine Graham), Quebec at Montreal (Dr. Jean-Marc Fontan) and Victoria (Dr. Budd Hall), have stepped up to take on the roles of Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary, with Tim Simboli of the Ottawa Community Based Research Network and Ottawa Family Services as a community representative on the Executive Committee. There is also a Steering Committee of community organization and university representatives. A website and newsletter is about to be launched, and resources are being developed from a variety of sources. An Action Plan has been developed that focuses on: Building community-based research (CBR) capacity; mobilizing knowledge on CBR practices and outcomes; influencing policy and institutional environments to strengthen support to CBR, and; providing networking and learning opportunities. Rupert Downing, the former Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network and Co-Director of the Canadian Social Economy Research Hub, is assisting with the formative work to establish CBRC.

For more information, please visit:

Everything is ready to go for another GS 500 Interdisciplinary Graduate course at the University of Victoria!

BC Ministry of Housing and Social DevelopmentThese courses match interdisciplinary graduate students up with real life research questions coming from a partnering agency in the community. For the fall 2009 course the Community partner is the BC Ministry of Housing and Social Development. Questions coming from the Ministry will focus on topics such as: homelessness in our community; rental market and market housing; housing needs in Aboriginal communities; sustainable and green housing, and much more.

The course will be co-taught by Dr. Bernie Pauly from the UVic faculty of nursing, and Dr. Cecile Lacombe, director of housing research for the BC Government. The Knowledge Mobilization Unit will facilitate the matching of graduate students to research questions appropriate for their area of study. The students will then work one on one with a research partner from the BC Ministry of Housing and Social Development, with a focus on action and recommendations to the Ministry. The end of the term will be marked by student presentations at a knowledge dissemination event that will open to all people who are interested in the topic.

The Power of Social Networking: Knowledge Brokers Broker Knowledge about Knowledge Brokers

Peter WestPeter West uses the name WestPeter on Twitter. According to his Twitter profile he lives in London, ON and is interested in “scholarly articles, books & proceedings of interest to knowledge workers.” On July 1 he posted the following:

WestPeter Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems & settings (Environ Sci & Pol) #KM $ is a shortened url that takes you to the following url:

Sarah Michaels… which is why we use shortened urls but that’s not the purpose of this blog… this url is an abstract of a paper from Sarah Michaels (U. Nebraska) titled “Matching knowledge brokering strategies to environmental policy problems and settings”. Only the abstract was available so I contacted Sarah who was kind enough to send me the pre-print (thank you Sarah). Two things are important here:

1. There is a whole body of literature on knowledge brokering for environmental policy that I never knew about. I have never heard of the scholars (except Lindquist) listed in her references yet it appears that knowledge brokering for environmental policy aligns well (see table below) with those of us who inform our practice using a health frame of reference. ResearchImpact draws its knowledge brokering practice mainly from Lavis et al [Journal of Health Services Research and Policy (2003) 8(3):165] using the producer push, user pull and knowledge exchange methods plus our description of co-production [Evidence & Policy (2009) 5(3):211]. But Sarah introduces us to a new term – capacity building: “intensive knowledge brokering is about creating and sustaining capacity for innovation”.

Michaels vs Phipps & Shapson

It is nice yet surprising to see a whole body of literature that has arisen independently but consistently with our practice and yet to learn something new.  I wonder if Sarah is aware of the work we draw from: Lavis, Landry, Estabrooks, Grimshaw, Nutley, Levin…

2. The second important observation is I found this on Twitter.  Sarah published her paper, WestPeter found it, tweeted, and because ResearchImpact follows WestPeter I saw the tweet, got the link, e-mailed Sarah, read the paper and now you’re reading the blog and maybe you will read her paper.  That is the power of social networking.  Sarah’s paper found a wider audience, I read some new literature and I “met” a like minded colleague – all thanks to less than 140 characters.

Unlike how it markets itself, Twitter should be “what do you want to share” not “what are you doing”!

Go on… log on to Twitter and connect to lasting value in less than 140 characters.

Those who can do…

CIHR does a great job creating training spaces for emerging KT (their acronym for KM) researchers. CIHR has posted KT learning modules on line and they hosted a KT summer institute which was recently written up from the perspective of some of the students at the institute, available here. Michelle E Kho and her fellow students wrote about some of the take home messages learned at the CIHR KT Summer Institute:

    • KT is interdisciplinary and collaborative
    • Negotiation skills are integral
    • The KT process is complex, confusing, and multifaceted
    • Use the most rigorous methods of inquiry to answer different research questions

They conclude by recognizing “the importance of relationships, the complexity of interactions, the significance of timing, and the potential for ingenuity and innovation in the field of KT.”

As a practitioner of KM I want to say, “Well, duh!”. It is great that CIHR creates these learning environments for new KT researchers but why hasn’t it occurred to those of us in the field to publish these conclusions that are evident to us on a daily basis? I think we spend so much time “in the trenches” that we forget there is a body of academics and their literature that we need to embrace to inform our practices. As practitioners of KM we need to practice what we preach. If we don’t use theory and evidence to inform our own practices what good are we as role models to researchers and their partners?

This is doubly important for those few university based KM practitioners who are “in the trenches” within the ivory tower. We always talk about bridging the theory-practice gap but we’re so busy practicing we forget the theory is being made just down the hall. Conversely the KM theorists and KT researchers need to look down their hall and recognize the amount of evidence on their own door steps. ResearchImpact is a network of KM Units that are each KM laboratories. We’re testing and trying things out all the time. We work with community and government based practitioners who have their own data, stories and expertise but for our own reasons we don’t get around to writing it up (except look for a forthcoming paper from York University’s KM Unit in Evidence & Policy 5(3):211-217).

So, a challenge to KM practitioners everywhere: practice what you preach.

And an invitation to KM researchers: talk to us, please. Break down those barriers you write about.

ResearchImpact wishes Sarah Dickie all the best in her move to Prince George, BC.

Sarah has been the Administrative Coordinator for the UVic Office of Community Based Research for almost two years. Along with being a bright and smiling face in the office and dealing with the piles of day-to-day administrative tasks, Sarah has been vital to OCBR’s Community outreach work, and has also been the main coordinator for countless OCBR events and workshops. Sarah leaves very big shoes to fill, and will be missed dearly by those of us in the Office, across the campus, and also by our community partners and friends.

Good luck Sarah! Come back and visit soon.

O3 Open House


Last week York’s KM Unit co-hosted an Open House to demonstrate ORION‘s (Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network) new online professional networking and collaboration platform O3. “Introduced as a new value-added service for member institutions, O3 helps deliver on ORION’s mandate of supporting Ontario’s research and education community. O3 seeks to encourage collaboration, the sharing of ideas and research results, and connecting with colleagues across academic disciplines. It is a unique professional networking and collaboration platform developed by and for the research and education community (ORION newsletter, May 2009). ”

Gary Hilson, ORION’s Projects and Alliances Consultant, was on hand to give attendees an overview of the platform and its various features, which include a number of Web 2.0 tools such as member profiles, user created blogs, wikis, discussion forums, as well as document management. ResearchImpact is currently exploring how we can use the O3 platform to facilitate and foster collaboration between KM brokers and researchers. David Phipps of ResearchImpact said, “Social networking is an important, emerging tool for knowledge mobilization.  As our work naturally connects people over distance and time, a robust social networking platform with features that allow us to connect and collaborate with partners will enhance the KM services that York can offer it’s graduate students, research and their partners.” Omar Mohammed, Manager of Research Computing at York, stated, “We are pleased that ResearchImpact has taken the initiative to explore O3 as a collaboration platform for research and knowledge mobilization. The O3 initiative leverages the ORION research network and we will follow the emergence of O3 with interest.” The Open House was attended by over 20 people including York faculty and staff members, students working in a number of York’s Organized Research Units, as well as representatives from the York Region community.

If you are interested in more information about O3, please contact Gary Hilson at

Re-Launch of the Homeless Hub

The KM Units of York and UVic are pleased to support Stephen Gaetz and homelessness research including the Homeless Hub.  Mobilize This! recently wrote about some of this work and we are pleased to feature the re-launch of this knowledge mobilization website.

As featured in Yfile on Friday the Homeless Hub will re-launch providing researchers, students, schools and decision makers with enhanced access to research on issues related homelessness. From the Homeless Hub web site “Launched in 2007, the Homeless Hub is a web-based research library and information center representing an innovative step forward in the use of technology to enhance knowledge mobilization and networking. The Homeless Hub has emerged as a place where community services providers, researchers, government representatives, and the general public can access and share research, stories, and best practices.” The new and improved Homeless Hub continues this work, makes research even more accessible and interactive, it includes resources for educators and it hosts a downloadable e book “Finding Home”.

Stephen Gaetz (Faculty of Education, York University) is the principal investigator of the Homeless Hub which is supported by a SSHRC Cluster Grant and with support from Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. He is also leader of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network.

New Homeless Hub Web Site

New Homeless Hub Web Site

Federal Partners in Technology Transfer Welcomes ResearchImpact


John Biles, Director of Partnerships and Knowledge Transfer for the Metropolis Project (on the left)

Craig McNaughton, Director of the Knowledge Mobilization and Program Integration Division at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (on the right)

Peter N. Levesque, Director of Systems and Operations at Knowledge Mobilization Works (second from right)

David Phipps, Director, Research Services & Knowledge Exchange, York University and ResearchImpact (third from left)

What do all these guys have in common? We all shared the stage at the opening plenary panel at the annual meeting of the Federal Partners in Technology Transfer. “The Federal Partners in Technology Transfer (FPTT) initiative is a unique example of people in Canada’s federal science-based departments and agencies (SBDAs) working together to establish common approaches, practices and policies to effectively transfer research and technologies from government laboratories to the private sector”. The theme of the 2009 annual meeting was “Marketing and Mobilizing Your Technology” and ResearchImpact’s David Phipps was invited by FPTT to organize their first ever session on knowledge mobilization.

This session brought together perspectives on KM from the university (York), a federal funder (SSHRC), a long term (+17 years) project housed within a federal Ministry (Metropolis) and the private sector (Knowledge Mobilization Works!) so that technology transfer professionals could begin to appreciate connecting research to application outside of patents and licensing.

This session built on an earlier Mobilize This! blog entry about the differences between technology transfer and commercialization. Common themes that arose from our discussions were the need to connect research to application and we dug into the use of web 2.0 technologies and other tools to support this. We also had some discussion on evaluation (a recurring topic).

My feeling is that while there is interest and appreciation, the job of a technology transfer officer is specialized. The skills are transferable to a knowledge mobilization setting but unless the technology transfer office changes it’s mandate to embrace a broader concept of innovation and supports a broader range of partnerships with industry (beyond patents, licensing and company creation) technology transfer and knowledge mobilization will continue to be on opposite sides of the coin instead of on a continuum of research support services.

Thank you to FPTT for the invitation. This was ResearchImpact’s first opportunity to engage the technology transfer profession.