ResearchImpact Funds Homelessness Research and Knowledge Mobilization

“At this time, there is a dearth of information on the effectiveness of our responses to homelessness and our service models, including housing programs. That is, there is very little evaluation research of programs in Canada…In an era of increasing solutions to homelessness, it is increasingly important to know what works, why it works and for whom it works.”

Stephen Gaetz

Stephen Gaetz

ResearchImpact has a mandate to link researchers and decision makers in Victoria and Toronto but such collaborations need to be seeded in order to develop into full partnerships. ResearchImpact is investing in collaborative research and KM projects that address social challenges that are common to the two cities. Through a competitive process York has made a $30,000 grant to a project lead by Stephen Gaetz (York University), Bernie Pauly (University of Victoria) and their community partners Rachel Gray (Eva’s Initiatives), Kathy Stinson (Victoria Cool Aid Society) and Jill Clements, (Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness). Stephen and Bernie are joined by colleagues at York (Uzo Anucha, Stephanie Baker Collins, Michaela Hynie and Daphne Winland) and at UVic (Jutta Gutberlet, Aleck Ostry, Margo Matwychuk and Darlene Clover).

Their project, Ending Homelessness: “What works and for whom?” will establish a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of programs that address ending homelessness and it has three components:

• Based on a review of the literature and expert consultation, develop indicators for assessing programs and practices aimed at ending homelessness;

sub-profiles-body-hs-pbernadette2

Bernie Pauly

• Develop and test an evaluation framework for assessing the effectiveness of programs for ending homelessness

• Using plain language summaries, technology to enhance access to the project and dissemination using the Homeless Hub the project will mobilize knowledge related to best practices in ending homelessness and guidelines for program evaluation in order to enhance community capacity and to allow other communities to use the evaluation methodologies developed.

The project will run jointly in both cities and results made available during Fall 2009. Good luck to the team. Stay tuned to Mobilize This! for more information on this and other investments ResearchImpact is making for social innovation.

UVic Research Partnership Strategies Recognized in Europe

Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator Laura Milne, who works in the UVic Office of Community Based Research, was invited as a guest speaker to the STACS (Science Technology and Civil Society) Policy Meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium to discuss UVic’s innovative approach to collaborating with Community and Government organizations on Research Partnerships.

The various researchers involved in the STACS project have recognized that Canadian Universities, and UVic in particular, have taken a leadership role in engaging stakeholders from multiple sectors in research that relates to social issues and public policy. The Knowledge Mobilization initiative and the Office of Community Based Research are two excellent examples of how UVic supports Civic Engagement and continues to make the connection between the university research and the larger community, and the opportunity to discuss these strategies with researchers and policy makers in an international context is extremely valuable.

ACCELERATE Ontario Internship Workshop – April 27

YorkU’s KM Unit is pleased to be working in partnership with ACCELERATE Ontario and their graduate student internship program. Click here to learn more about the internship opportunities offered by YorkU’s KM Unit in partnership with ACCELERATE Ontario. We are also happy to announce this upcoming workshop hosted by MITACS ACCELERATE.

Build on your skills for success! Join MITACS Skills Enhancement Program for this one-day interactive, workshop and improve your networking skills!

As part of MITACS Skills Enhancement Program, this workshop was developed to provide opportunities for students to build on skill sets necessary to succeed in both the academia and industry setting.

Limited funding is available for student travel and accommodation for participants coming from outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Please contact Amanda Casorso, Events Coordinator, for eligibility.

***Registration is open to all MITACS students and past, present, and prospective MITACS ACCELERATE Interns – including all postdocs and students at the graduate level***

Monday April 27, 2009
Register Here!

or Go To:
http://www.mitacs.ca/conferences/ASPPN/

What: Effective Networking!
When: Monday, April 27, 2009
Where: 89 Chestnut Street, Toronto, ON
Time: 8:30AM-4:30PM (Registration 8:00AM Sharp!)

You’ve all heard the saying “you are only as good as your network”, but have you ever wondered how to get one?

Maximize your conference experience and Join MITACS Skills Enhancement Program to experience firsthand the power of positive networking. From academia to industry to your personal life, these skills will help you succeed!

All students attending MITACS 2009 Annual Conference are eligible to attend this pre-conference workshop and are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to immediately apply advanced learned networking skills in the following conference days.

What you will learn:

    Participants encouraged to works on strategies to build relationships with present network as well as cross-network between disciplines.
    Confidence, social intelligence skills.
    Learn to build extensive, long-lasting connections;
    Fuelling and maximizing existing connections.
    Making networking a priority, where to locate relevant networking opportunities and events beyond ‘business only events’.
    Dealing with networking roadblocks – getting comfortable handing out business cards

Speaker:
Donna Messer, ConnectUs Communications Canada

Donna Messer is an author, speaker and trainer for ConnectUs Communications Canada, her networking training has been added to the curriculum of colleges, universities, boardrooms and government offices around the world. Statistics show effective networking has a significant impact on income; that it’s not the quantity of business cards collected, rather the quality of the relationship built. Messer is a journalist and the lifestyle editor for several Canadian publications. Her expertise in networking is recognized worldwide. Her book “Effective Networking Strategies” is a best seller.
She can be reached through the website – www.connectuscanada.com.

***Please note that there is a $50.00 deposit to attend each workshop. This will be reimbursed to you pending confirmation of your attendance***

What’s included:

    workshop materials
    lunch and coffee breaks
    access to recognized expertise
    networking opportunities

***Limited funding is available for travel and accommodation for participants coming from outside of the Greater Toronto Area***

For information and/or to apply for travel & accommodation funding please contact Amanda Casorso, Events Coordinator at acasorso@mitacs.ca.

For more information on the Skills Enhancement Program please contact Kamilla Karoli, Programs Coordinator at kkaroli@mitacs.ca.

Opportunity Description Form

It all begins here, the Opportunity Description Form

In over three years, knowledge brokers at York University and the University of Victoria have supported over 100 collaborative partnerships between researchers and local decision makers. One constant amongst all collaborations is the Opportunity Description Form. This one-page form, found on the ResearchImpact website provides users the chance to state in their own words what they are seeking from a research-based collaboration. The ResearchImpact Brokers then use these, similar to a calling card, to help identify a proper match. It is possible for organizations to produce multiple opportunity description forms each presenting a new request. The range of requests vary considerably; some organizations are seeking expertise in program evaluation, others are looking for capacity to help advance a project, and others are seeking collaborators to jointly develop a proposal.

Give some thought about the research-based needs in your organization then jot them onto the one-page opportunity description form and forward it to a knowledge broker in the ResearchImpact network . It is as simple as that, and the results can be truly transformative!

Stay tuned for new and exciting changes to the ResearchImpact website which will make this process even easier!

Student Led Research Symposium

For the last two years, the Knowledge and Information Services branch of the BC Ministry of Labour and Citizens Services has given all 9 BC Universities $30,000 each to award graduate student grants for Research in the Field of Social Policy.

On February 27th, the UVic Knowledge Mobilization Unit collaborated with the Knowledge and Information Services branch to organize a Symposium for the students who received these grants to present their work to Government officials and University representatives from across BC. There were over 80 attendees from various Ministries, Community agencies, and University departments, and the research that was presented by the graduate students was extremely well received.

The Knowledge Mobilization Unit at UVic has been responsible for administering these grants at UVic, and continues to work closely with the BC Government to encourage Government-University research partnerships and to support evidence-informed policy and decision making.

Social Inclusion for Health and Well Being in Program Evaluation – April 30

York Institute for Health Research (YIHR)
Social Inclusion for Health and Well Being in Program Evaluation
Thursday April 30, 2009, 8:30am-5:00pm, York University

The York Institute for Health Research is hosting a full-day workshop on program evaluation and social inclusion to launch their a program eavluation centre. The day includes a keynote address by Daniele Zanotti, CEO of the United Way for York Region, presentations by academic and community partners, and workshops on evaluation including arts-based evaluation and program evaluation methodology.

This event brings together academic and community researchers and professionals from health and health-related areas to share their knowledge and experiences in evaluating access and equity goals in program outcomes, as well as the strengths and challenges of applying social inclusion principles to program evaluation processes.

Issues of diversity and social inclusion have an impact on how programs and services are delivered to meet a wide range of client needs. Thus, diversity and social inclusion are critical to the evaluation of programs and their effectiveness. Funding agencies increasingly expect community organizations to conduct evidence-based program evaluations to demonstrate that their programs are making a difference for their diverse clients, and that their programs achieve social inclusion goals.

Objectives
Through attending this workshop, you will:
• Learn methods and tools for program evaluation;
• Learn the importance of social inclusion and evaluation in designing your project
• Learn about innovative program evaluation projects;
• Learn about the challenges of doing program evaluations;
• Develop networking opportunities for future research and program alliances, including connecting with the Centre for Program Evaluation;
• Share resources for professional use and development;
• Learn from funding bodies about programs, resources, expectations and trends for social inclusion and doing program evaluation with diverse populations.

Intended Audience
This event provides an opportunity for academics, community and advocacy group members, policy analysts, funders, independent and student researchers to share their experiences and knowledge of program evaluation and research on diversity and social inclusion.

Researchers and professionals from a diverse range of health/healthcare, health-related and policy sectors including, but not limited to, women’s, ethno-specific, disability, lesbian/gay/bisexual/ transgender/queer (LGBTQ), Aboriginal, senior, youth and immigrant health services, and diversity, access and equity groups will attend panel sessions and workshops, and be invited to share poster presentations on the conference topic from a variety of disciplines.

Registration is $25 and space is limited so act now! The registration deadline is April 15th, 2009. To receive a registration form, please contact Dr. Yuka Nakamura at nakamura@yorku.ca.

Immigration and Human Services KM in the AM – April 28

The YorkU KM Unit will be hosting its next KM of the AM event on Tuesday, April 28th. The topic of the morning will focus on immigration and human services, with brief presentations by a university researcher and a community agency representative, followed by ample time for questions, discussion, and networking.

Confirmed Speakers:
Valerie Preston, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) and Professor, Department of Geography, York University
Stephen Lam, Director of Immigrant Services and Community Programmes, Catholic Community Services of York Region (CCSYR)

Date: Tuesday, April 28

Time: 8:45 to 10:45 am. Breakfast will be served at 8:45. The meeting will start at 9:00.

Location: York Regional Police District 4 Station
2700 Rutherford Rd
Vaughan, ON

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP kejensen@yorku.ca to confirm your attendance.

Getting to Maybe

On June 4, 2008 I wrote about Using Evidence by Nutley, Walter and Davies. This book has been my principal KM reference but I have a new, equally favourite, book to recommend to you: Getting to Maybe by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman (of York’s Schulich School of Business, ) and Michael Quinn Patton. Using Evidence is about the science of research utilization (=knowledge mobilization) for policy and practice (=social innovation). Getting to Maybe is about the actors (=social innovators) who operate within a system of social innovation. Using case studies of successful social innovators, Getting to Maybe illustrates how social innovators can maximize the chances of creating an impact and it provides numerous recommendations for social innovators, their organizations (usually NGOs), their funders (usually Foundations) and their receptors (usually policy makers). Getting to Maybe doesn’t guarantee success or present a formula which, if followed, will generate results. Getting to Maybe focuses on key learnings that are important for all social innovators and their stakeholders.

Finally Getting to Maybe about creating the right conditions where maybe, change might happen.

Getting to MaybeThis book contains valuable lessons and will inform much of the work of knowledge brokers. Order your copy here.

Some KM relevant messages from Getting to Maybe:

• Social innovation is a complex (as opposed to complicated) problem. Complexity science can guide approaches to social innovation.
• Relationships, amongst other attributes, are key for social innovation
• Individuals operate in systems and successful social innovators examine their own role in those systems
• Premature evaluation can stifle social innovation by seeking end points; developmental evaluation focuses on learnings not end points
• All systems must go through cycles of exploitation → conservation → release (=“creative destruction”) → reorganization in order to remain innovative and avoid the “rigidity gap”. This is why “success is not a fixed address”.
• Social innovation is catalyzed through connection, confrontation and collaboration.
• It is important to stand still, to reflect and analyze. Reflection is action. This is a particularly important message for me, personally, as I tend to race more than I reflect.
• Social Innovation is like improvising jazz: every player listens, understands and everyone leads from their own place of understanding.

Inspiring Words from Bangladesh Inspire Reflection

I am reading Getting to Maybe by Westley, Zimmerman & Patton (more on this book later) in which they reference the work of social innovator Muhammad Yunus, Head of the Economics Department at Chittagong University in Bangladesh. In 1974 Bangladesh was experiencing a famine but “the university grounds were an oasis”. Yanus wrote, “if a university is a repository of knowledge then some of this knowledge should spill over to the neighbouring communities. A university should not be an island where academics reach out at higher and higher levels of knowledge without sharing any of their findings”.

Theorizing that credit is a human right, he pioneered micro-credit giving small loans to groups of crafts people, many of the women. This process took a number of years of reflection and analysis following engaging many of the stakeholders involved before he took action. What do we learn from this social innovator? He is passionate but he questions. He acts in the face of uncertainty. His success was built on relationships. His success took time. Lessons for social innovation enabled by knowledge mobilization.

I am writing this on vacation in Barbados and I am struck by how all the guests at this lovely resort (see picture below) are white and all the staff are black and I realize this is not unique to the Caribbean. Next time you attend a conference observe how many of the university participants are of European descent and how many people serving you dinner are not and then use that as your opportunity to start your own reflection.

Tell us about your moments of reflection by clicking on the “comment” link above.

Barbados

ResearchImpact meets in Victoria

♫“Though the weather outside was frightful, KM-ing is just delightful…”♪

Seriously though, Victoria had a blizzard while York was visiting and of course York got blamed. York traveled to UVic for our quarterly meeting March 8-10. The group met on a wide range of topics from operational updates to funding to common grant programs. We were pleased that we received applications to our KM grant funding programs: child and youth mental health (2 in York Region, 1 collaborative grant York-UVic) and poverty, housing & homelessness (1 collaborative grant York-UVic). These grant applications are under review and results will be announced early April for funding to start immediately. The most in depth discussion we had was on evaluation. Thanks to Professor Jim McDavid (UVic) who joined us to discuss our evaluation needs and to help us develop an evaluation framework for RI. We are following up on a number of his suggestions so that we can undertake a formative evaluation of RI over the summer.

We were also joined by York’s KM volunteer, Gary Myers, who demonstrated his efforts at developing a shared RI reference database. More work will be undertaken learn how this database can be shared amongst the RI partners but York and UVic, as well as our partners MUN and USask, are behind this effort. Gary also demonstrated his pilot mapping of community and government KM contacts for York. This work was well received and Gary will be extending his efforts to include UVic’s contact data.

Probably the most important meeting was dinner on Monday night at The Mint. Thanks to our server Jason we had a lovely evening of fun, good food, something to do with champagne + gin, and some great networking (otherwise known as conversation). We also took a very cold walk through the UVic flower gardens and while it was too early for the flowers the mobilizers were in full bloom.

MicheliaGarryaDavidia

ResearchImpact helps to launch Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health

David Phipps, ResearchImpact/York University
Tara Syed, Mobilizing Minds/Trent University

Mobilizing Minds is a $1.5M CIHR funded 5 year KM project which is a partnership between young adults and academic researchers (jointly lead by York and UManitoba). The project will develop tools to inform young adults’ decisions about mental health and will also study the process of KM and young adult/adult partnership. This past weekend (Feb 28 and March 1) the young adult leaders and adult mentors met at the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement in Toronto to launch the youth engagement aspect of the project. Young adults received an over view of the project and learned the basics of KM through the KM Rap (which may, or may not, be coming to a video near you…). The young adult leaders brainstormed ideas for young adult engagement on all the project teams and the young adult leaders identified two projects of particular interest to them.

1) By examining key organizations that have already undertaken the integrated health team approach, the young adult team will create a model for the integration of health care professionals into centres where normally only primary care physicians would be accessible. Another goal in this initiative is to develop the structure for a youth advisory board to provide feedback to the health team and to identify a youth advocate to help navigate new comers to the system.

2) Increase public awareness and education about treatment options (includes conventional medicine, alternative therapies, and psychological/cognitive therapies) available to those experiencing mental health issues and disorders. Efficacy, side effects and withdrawal symptoms, if any, will be included in the discussion of each treatment option.

Tara Syed is a 3rd year Biology major at Trent University and, partnered with ResearchImpact’s David Phipps, is the young adult leader on the Community Partnership Team. In addition to getting community and practitioner input into the Mobilizing Minds project Tara identified that it was equally important to get young adult input into policy decisions in community and practitioner organizations. Tara and David agreed to identify lead community and practitioner champions in Toronto and Peterborough and jointly develop a strategy for community engagement on the project.

A big thank you to those community organizations who have already given their support to the project. You’ll be hearing from us.

ACCELERATE Ontario Internship Workshop – March 6

YorkU’s KM Unit is pleased to be working in partnership with ACCELERATE Ontario and their graduate student internship program. Click here to learn more about the internship opportunities offered by YorkU’s KM Unit in partnership with ACCELERATE Ontario. We are also happy to announce this upcoming workshop hosted by MITACS ACCELERATE.

Build on your skills for success! Join MITACS Skills Enhancement Program for this one-day workshop and improve your presentation skills through a day of practice and onsite feedback!

What: Practice your Presentation Skills!
When: Friday, March 6th, 2009
Time: 8:30AM – 4:30PM (Registration 8:00AM sharp!)
Where: 89 Chestnut Street, Room TBD
View Larger Map

What you will learn:

    Create a memorable introduction;
    Understand the main elements of a short speech;
    Learn how gestures can amplify delivery;
    Understand and practice a number of techniques for handling tough questions;
    And More!!!

Prior to attending, participants will be asked to prepare background notes for a 4-6 minute speech. They can choose to either persuade an audience on a point of view or to take a complex subject and simplify it. During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to practice these and get critiqued. Note: They can benefit from the course even if they are unable to do the preparatory work.

***Please note that there is a $30.00 deposit to attend the workshop. This will be reimbursed to you pending confirmation of your attendance***

What’s included:

    workshop materials
    lunch and coffee breaks
    access to recognized expertise
    networking opportunities

If you currently reside outside of Greater Toronto Area, limited funding is available for travel and accommodation.

***Registration is open to all MITACS students and past, present, and prospective MITACS ACCELERATE Interns – including all postdocs and students at the graduate level***

For event details and registration, click here.

For information and/or to apply for travel & accommodation funding please contact Amanda Casorso, Events Coordinator at acasorso@mitacs.ca.

For more information on the Skills Enhancement Program please contact Kamilla Karoli, Programs Coordinator at kkaroli@mitacs.ca, or by phone 778-782-8481.

Health Promotion and Prevention KM in the AM – Feb 24

The YorkU KM Unit will be hosting its next KM of the AM event on Tuesday, February 24th. The topic of the morning will health promotion and prevention, with brief presentations by a university researcher and a community agency representative, followed by ample time for questions, discussion, and networking.

Confirmed Speakers:
– Alison Macpherson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, York University
– Anne Lessio, Senior Planner, Central LHIN

Date: Tuesday, February 24

Time: 8:45 to 10:45 am. Breakfast will be served at 8:45. The meeting will start at 9:00.

Location: York Regional Police District 2 Station
171 Major Mackenzie Drive West
Richmond Hill

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP kejensen@yorku.ca to confirm your attendance.

YorkU KM Expo 2009

Last Friday, YorkU’s KM Unit held their second annual Expo in Richmond Hill. The full day event focused on the topic “It’s All About Partnerships” and was attended by over 80 participants coming from York University, a variety of community organizations from across York Region and the GTA, municipal and provincial government agencies, as well as representatives from both York Region School Boards.

Highlights of the day included the morning keynote address from Angie Hart and Kim Aumann who came in from Brighton, England to speak about the University of Brighton’s Community-University Partnership Program (Cupp), the 3 break out sessions, the afternoon town hall discussion moderated by Murielle Gagnon, Director of Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives at SSHRC, the KM Speakers Corner, the Unconference hour and Daniele Zanotti’s closing speech counting down the top 10 tips on partnership building from The Cat in the Hat and Machiavelli (look for the full list to be posted here soon).

Click here see the full day’s agenda and speaker presentations.

Did you attend the Expo? Use the comments feature to share your favourite KM Expo 2009 story.