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.

1 Million Hits and Counting


We launched in 2006 and it was pretty much a place holder until May 2007 in time for Congress where ResearchImpact had its launch. The ResearchImpact web site at that time had a video or two (Ben Levin’s talk for example) but was mostly explaining what we were. May 2007 saw 17,773 hits total since inception.


ResearchImpact was updated with some new messages, a new look and a blog added for Congress 2008. More videos were added plus more success stories such as the Aboriginal Policy Research Forum. Some of our business started being transacted on the web site by inclusion of our Opportunity Description Form. May 2008 saw 382,204 hits total since inception.


Again for Congress 2009 we recently update our look and added new functionality including links to our web 2.0 spaces such as our Flickr photostream and our twitter page. A new feature is our ResearchSnapshot series of research summaries, look for more of these towards the end of the summer.


Late in May 2009 we surpassed 1 million hits on Today York University released a story on this success. A big THANK YOU to all the faculty, students, funders, partners and administrators who helped ResearchImpact grow to this point.

Now we need to hear from you. Our services continue to evolve but we want to know what you are looking for in a KM web site and a KM service network. Use the comment feature on this blog story to tell us what you’d like to see out of future incarnations of the ResearchImpact web site and the ResearchImpact network.




Knowledge Mobilization at York Looks Forward

On June 5, the KM Unit at York spent a day off-site at the Toronto Centre for Social Innovation embarking on visioning exercises to help define the scope of programs that will be offered in the fall. This is important as the current project funding will be sunsetting and operations will need streamlining to support sustainability.

The efforts from the day resulted in the following, and we welcome your thoughts and comments. Just click on the comments button above this message and share your thoughts!

Vision Statement

National leaders in knowledge mobilization, connecting research and people for social innovation.

Mission Statement

The KM unit at York University is a service unit that:

    Builds a culture of knowledge mobilization
    Fosters collaboration
    Supports co-production of knowledge/research
    Connects policy and practice relevant research to decision makers
    Develops and delivers tools for knowledge mobilization

Our Values

Our service unit is built on the following values:

    Respect – knowledge has many forms and origins and flows in a two way direction
    Wisdom – grounding practice in theory and using practice to inform theory
    Honesty – knowledge brokers are impartial, client-focused and honest brokers
    Engagement – research engages with and is responsive to the needs of the partners
    Impact – real world solutions for real world problems

Mobilizing Minds at the ‘The International Conference on the Use of the Internet in Mental Health’ May 14-16, 2009 in Montreal, Canada

York’s KM Unit is pleased to support the Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health research group. ResearchImpact’s own David Phipps is a co-applicant on this project and is supporting the group by working to identify lead community and practitioner champions, as well as to develop a strategy for community engagement.

Researchers from the Mobilizing Minds: Pathways To Young Adult Mental Health research group presented at the International Internet and Mental Health Conference.

Mobilizing MindsTo learn more about the Mobilizing Minds group check out their recently released web site:

The first presentation by this group focused on how well web sites concerning children’s anxiety disorders answer parents’ questions about treatment choices. Results demonstrated that web sites varied tremendously in the quality and quantity of information provided. The mean readability score across web sites was low, indicating that comprehension of this information may be beyond the scope of many parents. Future knowledge synthesis research is required to answer parents’ questions more comprehensively. This research also demonstrates a need for web sites to support informed decision making by enhancing the quality of information provided. Check out this presentation, WorkshopA3 by Kristin Reynolds here.

The second presentation used an innovative qualitative research methodology. The Internet Blogs of 8 young adults, who were suffering from problems with mood and anxiety disorders, were analyzed in an effort to understand their experiences. These young adults reported a pervasive sense of powerlessness over their all-consuming mental health problems but simultaneously felt that they ‘should’ have control over these experiences. They also reported experiencing a strong sense of disconnection and alienation from others. The results stress the need for a community of practice approach that includes decreasing young adults’ sense of disconnection by designing community systems, which are inviting and give young adults a voice, and include a range of treatment options.

Check out the web site to see this poster.

Looking Back on a Week at CAURA and Congress

We’re tired. Tired but charged. What a week this has been.

  • ResearchImpact was featured in 3 conference presentations; thanks to SSHRC, Harris Centre (MUN) and USask for participating in the ResearchImpact session at CAURA.
  • ResearchImpact was noted by Gisele Yasmeen (VP Partnerships, SSHRC) in her talk “Knowledge Mobilization and the Canadian Community”
  • May 27 at Congress saw the highest web traffic for the month on the new site launched at Congress
  • ResearchImpact shared the podium with SSHRC and The Federation of the Humanities and Social Science
  • ResearchImpact met with our KM colleagues at Harris Centre (MUN) and University of Saskatchewan to map out future KM collaborations and options for the growth of ResearchImpact
  • ResearchImpact supported UVic’s Office of Community Based Research in their leadership of Community Based Research Canada
  • The May 2009 edition of Mobilize This! was the longest newsletter in ResearchImpact history reflecting the excitement that we have generated this month

This is the third year in a row ResearchImpact has had a presence at CAURA and Congress. We emerged on the research landscape two years ago as a new idea and were seen for the KM experiment we were. Well funded by SSHRC and CIHR we were nothing but a good idea whose time had not yet come. In the words of a colleague from Montreal, “we had only started to get nowhere”. Two years later we are definitely getting somewhere. We are Canada’s knowledge mobilization network and even though future funding is uncertain we’re certain we need it and we are committed to growing ResearchImpact as a network of universities and their local research partners.

Look out Concordia, here we come!

YOW pics 005

ResearchImpact's Michael Johnny and David Phipps

Knowledge Mobilization is Content Agnostic

Agnostic.  “Someone who us doubtful or noncommittal about something”.  KM doesn’t care what you’re researching it only cares how you do it.  ResearchImpact recently presented on KM to the Seniors’ Health Research and Transfer Network and Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration and Settlement.  Both groups have a mandate to connect research to policy or practice and asked RI to speak about our experiences developing Canada’s KM network.  We also recently touched base with the Homeless Hub the emerging Canadian Homeless Research Network, two groups based at York with a mandate to connect research to decision making.

It doesn’t matter if you care about homelessness, immigration or seniors; health, KM is KM is KM.  KM is agnostic to the content but it is concerned with the process.  After 3 years of running RI, we are seeking commonalities of methodology:

  • Engage users at ever stage of the research cycle: planning, execution, evaluation, dissemination
  • Focus on push/pull and the co-creation of knowledge
  • Recognize that KM is a skill set that needs training and resources
  • We can evaluate discrete KM interventions but we haven’t a good handle on evaluating KM at the systems level

Seniors Health. Immigration.  Homelessness… and we suspect all other research that has the potential to inform practice and policy can be subject to KM.  KM doesn’t care.  But we do.

Knowledge Mobilization: Maximizing your Career Options — Inside, Outside, and Beside the Academy

I was trained as an immunologist. The title of my major paper from my PhD was “Gallysin-1, an antibacterial protein isolated from hemolymph of Galleria mellonella.” (Dev. Comp. Immunol 18: 13-23). The title of the major paper from my post doc was “Increased enzymatic activity of the T-cell antigen receptor-associated Fyn protein tyrosine kinase in asymptomatic patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.” (Blood 90 (9):3603-3612) which lead to a patent “Methods for the early detection of HIV infection” (WO1997/021102). I was never trained to be a knowledge broker because no one ever grows up wanting to be one.

For this very reason it is important that organizations like the CFHSS include sessions like Career Corner in the program for Congress. The Career Corner session on May 27 featured Research Impact and Peter Levesque speaking about career paths for KM.

CongressAccording to the Congress program “Knowledge mobilization may be a career goal in itself, but may also lead to other career opportunities with academic and non-academic employers. Did you want to be a knowledge broker when you grew up? This session will explore a day in the life of a knowledge broker, and tell some stories of how people find themselves in this role. Learn about how knowledge mobilization can be a connector between your graduate experience now, and your future employers.”

The session was attended by a capacity audience who engaged with many useful comments and questions. Thanks to Nicole Vaugeois who showed up expecting to be in the audience and ended up being a speaker contributing her experience and expertise to the conversation.

Sessions like this are important as they allow us to bring the opportunities of KM to graduate students who are considering careers inside, outside and beside the academy. Knowledge mobilization as an activity isn’t new but ResearchImpact is a relatively new organization in the KM landscape. Thanks to Congress and The Federation for giving us the opportunity to share.

“How can my university get involved in ResearchImpact?”

This is the third year that ResearchImpact has been featured at CAURA and Congress. It is the third day of Congress and second day of CAURA, in Ottawa, and delegates at both events approached ResearchImpact with that common question. The question is even more interesting in that it is being echoed by graduate students, faculty, research administrators and senior academic administrators. It is an exciting situation for Canada’s Knowledge Mobilization Network.

The service orientated and university-wide mandate for ResearchImpact is closely aligned to SSHRC’s priorities for connection and impact across all disciplines in Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as CIHR’s knowledge translation mandate. KM also can have an impact wherever academic research can inform public policy and professional practice.

York and UVic, the founding members of ResearchImpact are exploring opportunities for expanding this network. We appreciate the interest shown in our work and welcome questions, comments and suggestions – both to this overarching question as well as toward the continuous improvement of knowledge mobilization services in Canada.

No decisions just questions at this time. For universities and their research partners… stay tuned.

ResearchSnapshot enhances broader access to research at York

Our new ResearchSnapshot series of clear language summaries of completed research was featured today in YFile, York’s daily news bulletin. You can search the ResearchSnapshot collection on our web site by clicking here.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

How would a community organization or policy-maker access social science or humanities research expertise from York? From the United Way of York Region to the Children’s Aid Society, non-academic audiences can now access ResearchSnapshot, a searchable library of summaries of research projects, completed by York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit and launched at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Carleton University on May 24.


Funded by a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant and led by David Phipps, director, Office of Research Services, the first phase of ResearchSnapshot provides a database of 42 summaries of projects. The summaries – with expertise ranging from organizational behaviour to homelessness and immigration – are searchable by researcher, subject or keyword. Each summary is written in simple language intended to highlight the research expertise at York and inform decisions about public policy or professional practice.

A look at one ResearchSnapshot, about research on the impact of management policies on the nutrition of homeless youth in Canada, informs organizations that research by York education Professor Stephen Gaetz found that the policies intended to help homeless youth are, in fact, having a negative effect. The research identifies that policies are forcing youth to rely on limited emergency food aid and instead of becoming independent they are increasing their chances of malnourishment. Similarly, all summaries identify the research methods, background, results and possible applications, as well as provide a brief biography of the researcher.

“York’s social science and humanities researchers are well-recognized by the international research community. ResearchSnapshot now allows us to systematically extend that reach. Since we had identified the need for policy- and decision-makers to have access to research results that were written in plain language, these summaries are crucial in filling the implementation gap by strengthening the movement for evidence-based policy,” said Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation.

To view the full YFile story, click here.

To search the ResearchSnapshot collection, click here.

York Community Data Sharing Symposium II

The KM Unit at York University is pleased to be co-hosting the second York Community Data Sharing Symposium being held on Thursday, June 4 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

York Community Data Sharing Symposium II

The second in a series of sessions highlighting the power of data to strengthen the capacity of York Region’s human service agencies.

How an Electronic Commons Can Help Us Tackle Poverty in York Region

Thursday, June 4, 2009
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m

Morning Session
How the emergence of the “electronic commons” will help agencies and organizations share data and information?
How can new ways of information-sharing change the way people talk to each other?
How to use the web to create more options for mobilizing action among and within communities?

Afternoon Session
How can we transfer our knowledge to interactive discussions about efforts to address poverty in York Region?
How can we use new information-sharing tools to change the ways we collectively tackle poverty in York Region?

Guest Speakers, Panellists and Interactive Group Discussion
At the end of the day, you will have a better understanding of new and upcoming web-based social networking technologies and how they can be used to share information and knowledge to better serve the needs of children, youth and families in York Region.

Read More

ResearchImpact Hosts KM Session for Research Administrators

For the third year in a row ResearchImpact hosted a session on knowledge mobilization for the annual national meeting of the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (CAURA).  The session was held on May 25 in Ottawa and featured presentations by Craig McNaughton (SSHRC), David Yetman (Harris Centre, MUN), Michael Johnny (ResearchImpact, York), Fiona Haynes (USask) and Laura Milne (ResearchImpact, UVic).

KM @ CAURA 2009

Michael Johnny (York) at the Poster Session

Craig gave an overview of KM for Canada, at least form SSHRC’s perspective, which was followed by brief overviews of KM services at each university.  The group broke into a poster session where the audience was able to meet each knowledge broker one on one.  The group then reconvened for a Q&A with questions from David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York) and from the audience.  As a strong indicator of the growing interest in KM as a service to researchers and their communities, the group continued with Q&A for 50 minutes and could have continued going had the session not ended. Interesting questions and more interesting discussion included the role of evaluation (despite the lack of it), the need to engage people as well as organizations as well as the importance of the relationship between the KM function and the Office of Research Services.

ResearchImpact is also hosting a knowledge mobilization exhibit at CAURA for the second year in a row.  More and more research service offices are being asked to support grant applications with complex demands for knowledge mobilization strategies.  Building a broad institutional capacity for knowledge mobilization as York and UVic have done is one way that universities can support research grant applications in an increasingly competitive environment.

KM @ CAURA 2009

Panelists l-r: Laura Milne (UVic), Fiona Haynes (USask), Michael Johnny (York), Craig McNaughton (SSHRC) and David Yetman (MUN) has a New Look!

After 2 years with our old Web site, we decided it needed a bit of a make-over. We’ve updated the look, added features such as videos, an events calendar, links to our twitter feed and other Web 2.0 tools, as well as a new online opportunity description form. This new form will allow our visitors to submit a potential research opportunity right from our Web site.

Check it out over at and let us know what you think of the changes by adding a comment to the posting.

ResearchImpact's new look

Personal Reflections on the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight: Living Homeless in York Region’ Photovoice Exhibit at YorkU – April 27 to May 1, 2009

The York Region Alliance to End Homelessness (YREAH) was formed in 1999 as concerns about homelessness were emerging in our communities. “The Alliance is a coalition of social service agencies, faith groups, interested community members and government representatives that meets regularly to understand, plan and coordinate services and supports related to homelessness in York Region”. What underlies this statement is an incredible, tireless commitment to support this work. I have had the pleasure of working with this agency as a knowledge broker at York University. The emergence of a KM unit at York in 2006 provided opportunity for this agency to seek opportunities to bolster its limited capacity to perform its work. In the summer of 2008, KM Intern Jennifer Logan (MA Candidate, Geography) worked for the Alliance to lead a Photovoice project that captured the images and voices of York Region’s homeless population. The primary goal of the project was to develop a resource to help raise the awareness of homelessness issues in York Region in helping advance policies and practices for homelessness in York Region.

I was able to visit the exhibit here at York on the afternoon of April 30 and I was the only visitor in the gallery at the time. The pictures tell stories that statistics simply cannot. Seeing those images took me back to my work in adult literacy where each person I worked with had a story to tell. The stories were not always pleasant (although some were) and unfortunately reflected a daily reality of struggle and perseverance. The images I saw brought many of the stories from my early career back to life, in a moving and extremely powerful way. I recall a quotation from Joseph Stalin that has stuck with me, “One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic.” The exhibit I saw helped me to remember we are not dealing with numbers or statistics here, but with people. These people are part of our community.

I applaud Jennifer and YREAH for their work in giving voice to people who are not always given changes to tell their stories. The stories in that room have helped me to reflect on the importance of my work and I am grateful for that lesson!

Open for Ideas Means Open for Business and Fosters Social Innovation

Ok, so it’s an older article but few have yet to seriously adopt open collaboration and innovation. In 2006 Huston and Sakkab wrote about Procter and Gamble’s (P&G’s) Connect & Develop (Harvard Business Review, page 58-66, March 2006). In contrast to the typical pharmaceutical proprietary model of in house R&D, P&G piloted a novel concept called Connect & Develop which presented R&D challenges to outside entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who then develop novel solutions to the P&G’s innovation challenges.

“The model works. Today, more than 35% of our new products in market have elements that originated from outside P&G, up from about 15% in 2000.” These new ideas came from a variety of sources such as proprietary networks but also from open networks such as Nine Sigma, InnoCentive (founded by Ely Lilly), YourEncore (kind of like a technological Handy Man Connection) and (an online marketplace for intellectual property exchange).

Lessons Learned for KM:
– “Never assume that ‘ready to go’ ideas found outside are truly ready to go. There will always be development work to do” – work with your partners to adapt research to new learning and policy environments
– “Don’t underestimate the internal resources required. You’ll need a full-time, senior executive to run any connect-and-develop initiative” – while knowledge brokers support social innovation by connecting research to practice you need support and buy in from senior management
– “Never launch without a mandate from the CEO. Connect and develop cannot succeed if it’s cordoned off in R&D. It must be a top-down, companywide strategy” – knowledge mobilization must be an institutional priority not just a value permeating a handful of community-university projects.

ResearchImpact defines social innovation as the creation or application of research and knowledge to develop sustainable solutions to social, environmental and cultural challenges. Social Innovation results in more efficient and effective human services, more responsive public policies and a greater cultural understanding. As P&G learned to open its doors to outside innovation so universities, community organizations, government agencies, granting councils and Foundations must embrace a culture of openness and collaboration in order to realize the benefits of social innovation. Working through knowledge brokers who foster a culture of openness and collaboration, knowledge mobilization is the means to social innovation.