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.