ResearchImpact welcomes the launch of Yaffle

A yaffle of wood. A yaffle of fish. A yaffle of research?

A word drawn from Newfoundland English got a new meaning today, thanks to an initiative undertaken by Memorial University of Newfoundland. The university launched a new online resource – called Yaffle – aimed at providing greater accessibility to the university’s research expertise and research projects.
According to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, a yaffle is defined as “an armful (of dried and salted cod-fish, kindling, etc.); a load.”

Memorial’s Yaffle is a sophisticated online resource that allows users to find an expert, query research being done by the university in their geographic region, and even suggest research ideas. Compiled by the university’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development, the new resource is a search engine of Memorial’s expertise and community development resources.
Yaffle enables users, such as individuals, community groups, and governments, to search for expertise in a variety of fields. It contains nearly 1,000 lay summaries on various projects being carried out by the university, everything from marine transportation options for the Strait of Belle Isle to financial sustainability plans for not-for-profit provincial museums. In addition, Yaffle provides a portal on over 400 experts in a range of fields, many of whom are available for media interviews or speaking engagements.

“Memorial University is one of the most innovative research facilities in Canada and Yaffle will make that research easily accessible to people living anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador and, indeed, throughout the world,” said acting Memorial president Dr. Eddy Campbell. “We have a vast store of resources available and Yaffle is how we intend to share those resources. We want our communities to know how our expertise can be deployed for their benefit and improved well-being. For individuals, communities, businesses, governments and all kinds of organizations, finding out what research has been done and what expertise exists on a topic is essential to making informed decisions.”

“We’ve had discussions with partner organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador outside Memorial who see the potential of linking information on their expertise, research and projects, to enable more widespread access and sharing of knowledge,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre. “Any organization, in the public, private or voluntary sectors, that has a mandate to share knowledge, or that could benefit by linking to it, would benefit by linking to Yaffle.”

Dr. Greenwood also noted that Yaffle is getting national attention as a unique and effective tool. “There are knowledge mobilization experts around the country who are looking to Memorial and Yaffle as an example of what could become the Canadian vehicle for knowledge sharing. We have interest from several Canadian universities who are considering how they can use our technology and processes to apply in their own institutions.”

Dr. David Phipps, director, Research Services and Knowledge Exchange at York University, is one expert who’s watching Yaffle’s success very closely. “Yaffle is a compelling experiment on how to identify, develop and manage community-university partnerships. It has the potential to do for knowledge mobilization and community-based research what online dating services have done for interpersonal relationships – enhanced access to opportunities for relationships. I look forward to seeing the impact of Yaffle so that we can evaluate the utility of the system.”

“On behalf of the Provincial Government, I extend congratulations to Memorial University of Newfoundland on the launch of this important new research tool,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. “Yaffle will help Memorial’s researchers get better connected to the broader community, and in turn this will help all of us build a sustainable knowledge-based society and economy for the province’s future.”

“Yaffle is a unique and compelling online resource that will link Memorial’s reservoir of knowledge with communities from Corner Brook to Nanaimo,” said Dr. Chad Gaffield, president of the Social Societies and Humanities Research Council of Canada. “Canada’s universities continue to develop innovative projects like Yaffle which are important components of knowledge mobilization. SSHRC is pleased to support this innovative project that clearly demonstrates the value of social sciences and humanities research to Canadians and the world.”

Today’s launch included local musician Sean Panting who wrote and performed a song about Yaffle. “There is no doubt that this is a celebration,” Dr. Campbell said. “We do feel this is a critical initiative for the province. Memorial University has always been connected to the community, and Yaffle is a tremendous enhancement to our relationship with communities around the province.”

Researchers and community partners on the west coast of Newfoundland and in Labrador gathered to join the celebration via videoconference. At Memorial’s Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, Prof. Gerard Curtis of Grenfell’s visual arts program, and Dr. Greg Wood, Corner Brook regional planner, presented their experiences with Memorial’s research and community outreach. In Labrador, Dr. Ron Sparkes of the Labrador Institute and Marina Biasutti-Brown with the Nunatsiavut Government shared their views on how important Yaffle is to accessing research at Memorial.

Formerly known as the Memorial University Regional Inventory (MURI), Yaffle is also replacing Memorial’s long-running Book of Experts, a media reference guide listing faculty and staff and their areas of expertise. Funding for Yaffle has been provided by the Harris Centre, Memorial University, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canada-Newfoundland and the Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement.

Yaffle is now up and running and being continually updated, and is available on the internet to communities around the province and around the country. To visit Yaffle, go to

The Audacity of Knowledge Mobilization

I’m not the only one, let’s be honest. And this is not a confession that my home office has pens from work, no, like countless others I was watching with great interest the historical Inauguration of President Obama. I thought that the wave of change promises to be exciting, but how far reaching will it be? Following up with that, I wondered how President Obama will impact my world as a knowledge broker. Well, even before he took the oath of office he has been hard at work.

One small step which may have gone unnoticed by some is the naming of Dr. John Holdren as his Science Adviser. While this choice is not overly newsworthy to me, who has a social sciences background, it was President Obama’s comments while introducing Dr. Holdren which resonate, “My administration will value science. We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action”.

So, to our friends south of the border, I would like to introduce you to a Canadian network of university-led knowledge mobilization units which supports evidence-informed decision making – ResearchImpact. We value science too, and view science in the broadest possible terms, including natural, social and human sciences.

Day one for President Obama and the spirit of change feels good to me! How about you? Feel free to use our comment feature to respond to this. Comments on evidence-informed decision making are invited, but no need to come clean about your home office.

YorkU KM Expo 2009- Register today!

You are warmly invited to participate in the 2009 KM Expo: It’s About Partnerships. This event has been organized by the Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit at York University, which operates in partnership with the Human Services Planning Coalition of York Region and the York Region District School Board.

York’s annual Expo celebrates the successes of KM partnerships between York University and York Region while engaging KM stakeholders in planning future collaborations and discussing current issues. The KM Expo creates a space where community and academic stakeholders can meet and interact. There will be presentations by keynote speakers, concurrent workshops, a chance to meet the 2008 KM Summer Interns and opportunities for discussion and networking. The theme of the KM Expo 2009 is “It’s About Partnerships” where we will focus on new models for community and university engagement in research.

Date: Friday, February 6

Time: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Location: Le Parc Conference and Banquet Centre
8432 Leslie St (Highway 7 and Leslie), Richmond Hill Map to Location

Space is limited. Please complete the registration form and return to before Monday, February 2, 2009 or register online by clicking here.

ResearchImpact IPM Grant Extension

Since 2005 ResearchImpact has been supported by SSHRC and CIHR through an Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) grant awarded to York and UVic. This was the first IPM grant in the 10 year history of the IPM program that funded knowledge mobilization for policy and practice relevant research. In Spring 2008 this tri-council program afforded all active IPM grantees the opportunity to extend their existing grants by 18 months. Recently York and UVic received notice from SSHRC and CIHR that the IPM grant for ResearchImpact was extended to November 30, 2009.

The ResearchImpact partners are committed to working locally and networking nationally to create structures and services that enhance knowledge mobilization to maximize the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts of university research. ResearchImpact would like to thank SSHRC and CIHR for their continued support of knowledge mobilization. York and UVic’s Knowledge Mobilization Units provides services and funding for faculty, graduate students, and community/government organizations seeking to maximize the impact of academic research and expertise on public policy, social programming, and professional practice. It is supported by SSHRC and CIHR grants, and by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (York) and Office of the Vice-President Research (UVic), as well as support from local partners.

ResearchImpact 2009 Funding Opportunities

York University and the University of Victoria, as founding members of ResearchImpact –  Canada’s emerging knowledge mobilization network, are pleased to announce the following  opportunities for research funding. Please visit for more details on these opportunities. These investments are intended to maximize the impact of research toward  efficient and effective human services, more responsive public policies and greater cultural  understanding.

Joint Funding Opportunities

1.  Housing and Homelessness Research – One grant of up to $30,000 to be awarded

2.  Child and Youth Mental Health Research – One grant of up to $30,000 to be awarded

These awards require a joint application between York and U Victoria researchers and relevant non-academic partners and must adhere to all guidelines identified in the application.

Graduate Student Internships

1.  University of Victoria – 10 Internships available for the summer of 2009. Click here for  application details.

2.  York University – Internship opportunities in conjunction with ACCELERATE Ontario. Click here for details.

Supporting Social Innovation in York Region

Consultations with leading partners in York Region have identified two priority areas as themes for targeted KM activity:

1.  Child and Youth Mental Health  – One grant of up to $30,000 to be awarded

– Up to 6 internships worth $15,000 to be awarded

2.  Immigration and Human Services – One grant of up to $30,000 to be awarded

– Up to 6 internships worth $15,000 to be awarded

Click here for application details.

York’s KM Expo 2009 – save the date!

Join us on Friday, February 6, 2009, when York University’s KM Unit will be hosting their second annual KM Expo in Richmond Hill.

York’s annual Expo celebrates the successes of KM partnerships between York University and York Region while engaging KM stakeholders in planning future collaborations and discussing current issues. The KM Expo creates a space where community and academic stakeholders can meet and interact. There will be presentations by keynote speakers, concurrent workshops, a chance to meet the 2008 KM Summer Interns and opportunities for discussion and networking. The theme of the KM Expo 2009 is “It’s About Partnerships” where we will focus on new models for community and university engagement in research.

Date: Friday, February 6

Time: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Location: Le Parc Conference and Banquet Centre
8432 Leslie St (Highway 7 and Leslie), Richmond Hill
Map to Location

There is no cost to attend the Expo but space is limited. See below for the day’s agenda (to be confirmed). Register early! RSVP to

KM Expo 2009 Agenda

ResearchImpact visits the Community-Campus Partnership Program (CUPP), University of Brighton

In September 2008, UVic knowledge broker Laura Milne visited the University of Brighton while on a vacation in the UK. The University of Brighton is the home of the Community-Campus Partnership Program (CUPP), which is an organization that builds collaborative relationships between the university and its surrounding community. Given the similarities in mandate between CUPP and ResearchImpact, Laura Milne was invited to attend several meetings and give a brief presentation to the researchers and administrators involved in CUPP.

The University of Victoria and the University of Brighton both operate a “Research Help Desk”, which aims to match up research needs identified by community groups with researchers at the university. By exchanging ideas, models, and experiences from operating the “Research Help Desks”, both institutions were able to examine their efforts and reflect on new approaches.

The model that UVic’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has used to create Interdisciplinary Graduate Courses that respond to needs in the community was of particular interest to CUPP and the Research Help Desk operator. After Laura Milne gave a brief presentation on the model and structure of these courses (known as GS 500 at UVic), further discussion and ideas about the benefits of engaging not only faculty, but also graduate students in Knowledge Mobilization were constructive and educational for all in attendance.

As the fields of Knowledge Mobilization and Community-Based Research continue to grow, the value of these exchanges and meetings cannot be understated. The University of Brighton and CUPP are hosting a conference on April 2nd and 3rd 2009, which will bring together community members, academics, students, administrators, policy-makers, and funders to discuss the importance, relevance, and utility of community-university partnerships.

Networking and Strategy Session on Housing and Homelessness hosted by UVic

On October 30th, UVic hosted a Networking and Strategy Session on Housing and Homelessness. This event was intended to create dialogue around the various issues related to housing and homelessness in Victoria, and to broker connections between academics, policy makers, and community members. Over 50 people from various non-profit organizations, government branches, local businesses, and faculties attended. Representatives from the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness shared their research objectives with the group, and BC Government official spoke about the provincial government’s perspective on the issues. Success stories were emphasized, as the group discussed the need to support models that are already working, and to share ideas, visions, and resources in order to solve the problems associated with homelessness and lack of housing.

This was also an excellent opportunity for researchers to talk about their work in this area, not only to other researchers, but also to the community and key government officials.

Sponsored by the UVic faculty of Human and Social Development, the Office of Community Based Research, and the United Way of Greater Victoria, this event was a wonderful success. A second event, focused on Housing Policy and Politics, is being planned for spring 2009.

How do immigrants overcome “No Canadian Work Experience challenges”? survey

The Work Skills Centre (WSC), a community-based, non-profit organization that supports immigrants, has developed a survey for their research project which aims at answering the important policy question: How do immigrants overcome “No Canadian Work Experience challenges”? The survey is a research initiative of WSC to understand the challenges faced by immigrants and they are interested in learning about the perceptions and difficulties immigrants faced in getting Canadian work experience upon arrival in Canada.

Click here to learn more and participate in the survey. The survey will remain open until December 6th.

Meet a Mobilizer – Laura Milne, University of Victoria

My name is Laura Milne. I grew up in Calgary Alberta, but moved to BC 10 years ago to go to the University of Victoria. After graduating in 2003 with a double major in Sociology and Anthropology, I worked a research assistant in Social Psychology for a while, waitressed on the weekends, and then somewhat spontaneously moved to Xi’an, China in 2006 to spend a year teaching at an English College. Upon returning to Canada in 2007, I stumbled upon the fascinating world of Knowledge Mobilization and Community Based Research, and was offered a job as Coordinator of Knowledge Mobilization here at UVic. The best part of my job is the challenge of coordinating the research needs of various stakeholders and encouraging and supporting collaboration. I also get great satisfaction of seeing how the experiences of individuals and communities can both influence research as well as impact policy.

Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, gardening, reading, attempting to surf, travelling as much as possible, and good, strong coffee. When I am not in my office, I am rarely seen without my dog, Parker. Parker and I really enjoy the active lifestyle and mild climate here on beautiful Vancouver Island, and spend a lot of time hiking and camping with friends. I love music and collecting CDs and vinyl, and I can often be spotted with friends checking out live bands in Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle.

Laura and Parker

Laura and Parker


Laura Milne

KM Highlighted in York University President’s Report to the Community and “hold the date” for KM Expo 2009

York University President Mamdouh Shoukri recently released his 2008 Report to the Community outlining accomplishments made during his first year as President. Reflecting on York’s University Academic Plan President Shoukri states that the UAP “sets the intensification and expansion of research as the paramount objective”. Included in the intensification of the research enterprise is Knowledge Mobilization. President Shoukri used York’s KM Unit as an example of “showcasing collaboration between York University and York Region partners through the Knowledge Mobilization Expo”. On January 9-10, 2008 York’s KM Unit welcomed York Region and Ontario Public Service partners, York faculty and graduate students and special guests, Gisèle Yasmeen (VP SSHRC), Sharon Manson Singer (President & CEO, Canadian Policy Research Networks) and Budd Hall (Director, Office of Community Based Research, University of Victoria). The KM Expo was a chance to provide a retrospective of 2007 and a look forward to 2008.

Be sure to join York University and our local KM partners for KM Expo 2009 on February 6, 2009. It’s About Partnerships – while a simple and possibly obvious theme, we will be unpacking this easy concept, looking at barriers and success factors and imagining a new way of doing business between universities and research stakeholders from community and government. Check for announcements about the upcoming KM Expo 2009.

York Community Data Sharing Symposium I

On Friday November 14, the KM Unit at York University co-hosted a York Community Data Sharing Symposium, with the objective of supporting community capacity-building in utilizing data. The Symposium also introduced the York Children’s Services Data Station, a web-based portal which houses child-relevant data to help inform service-based decision-making.

75 attendees participated in the day-long event that was broadcast live across three separate sites (Georgina Trade Training Inc., Bill Crothers S.S. in Markham and York University). Diane Patychuk from Ottawa shared her experiences using data in program development in a spirited keynote opening. There were two panels in the morning, with practitioners and researchers sharing their experiences using data to inform their practice. In the afternoon there was an opportunity for participants to demo the Children’s Data Station. And the day closed with a plenary session that paved the way for subsequent symposia to support the ongoing challenges of capacity building in data utilization.

The success of this event was the strong leadership demonstrated by several community agencies in York Region in conceptualizing and delivering on this initiative. The complete symposium will be made available for viewing on the ResearchImpact website early in 2009.

RE$EARCH MONEY publishes on Knowledge Mobilization

RE$EARCH MONEY recently published an article by David Phipps. The article provides a brief theoretical framework for KM and illustrates KM activities with examples of how KM can create value for faculty, graduate students and research users. The article makes a distinction between project based KM and institutional KM services such as those supported by York and UVic. In addition the article ends with a call to action.

“To sustain [KM] activities, research funding organizations need to invest in KM through institutional programs such as Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) and Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS). Foundations need to look to social innovation as a target area for support and institutions need to invest in institutional KM practices as they currently do for technology transfer.” Read the full article here….

RE$EARCH MONEY is Canada’s premier source of intelligence on research and development, science and technology and innovation. See for more information.

AUCC Releases 2008 Report on University Research and KM

The following media release, which references ResearchImpact partners YorkU and UVic, was taken from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada’s Web site. You can view the original article here.

AUCC report shows universities are major contributors to Canada’s economy and quality of life

Ottawa, October 21, 2008 — The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has launched a report on the state of Canadian research and development (R&D), with a particular emphasis on university research, at an event that included partners from government, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector.

The report, entitled Momentum: The 2008 report on university research and knowledge mobilization, shows universities are major players in R&D in Canada, performing more than one-third of the country’s research and contributing at least $60 billion to the economy in 2007. However, analysts agree that the world competition for talent, knowledge and innovation is fierce and Canada cannot be complacent with its accomplishments.

“The rest of the world is not standing still and the global race for research talent is becoming more and more intense,” says AUCC chair Tom Traves, president of Dalhousie University. “We expect this report to stimulate public debate on the required level and mix of support for university research in Canada.”

“This is a time when we cannot afford to cut back on public investment, but should instead see the potential for stimulating economic growth at the local and the national level by investing in people and knowledge. Having a highly skilled labour force is undeniably a major asset for any country,” notes AUCC president and CEO Claire Morris. “In these uncertain economic times, Canada must continue to improve its innovative capacity to ensure long-term prosperity,” she adds.

Momentum 2008 focuses on the importance of partnerships in university research and looks at the variety of forms collaboration takes – from university partnerships with private companies to research projects with governments, communities, the not-for-profit sector and international partners. It provides a comprehensive account of Canadian R&D, particularly the activities of the university sector and the resulting progress achieved. It also presents detailed research and analysis of national and international trends that will drive changes in university research and the Canadian R&D landscape in the future.

Momentum 2008 documents the wide range of benefits to Canadians such as new products, services, processes, policies and new ways of understanding society.

This is the second edition of Momentum produced by AUCC. The first was produced in 2005 as a way of providing information to decision makers and policy-makers about the benefits from investments made in university research.

The Momentum report is available online. Download the report.