KM Intern secures $130,000 Trillium Grant for Community Outreach/Education at Peterborough Youth Shelter

Naomi Nichols is a PhD Candidate at the York Faculty of Education who was a KM Summer Intern in 2007. Naomi’s placement was with the Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) in Peterborough.   She began her work at YES as a participant observer: helping in the recreation program; and the Children’s Aid Society day program; attending appointments with shelter residents as an advocate; and helping shelter staff. She conducted preliminary case-file analysis, creating a data-base that points to the various agencies/services YES clients are using. She also conducted interviews with shelter staff, other social service professionals and shelter residents. This fieldwork informed her development of a life-skills/transitioning program for shelter users. The KM Unit’s support of Naomi’s work with YES helped her secure a $130,000 grant for YES to develop a Community Outreach and Education program for their clients. The program includes services like Transitioning Life-Skills, where “[a] coordinator leads a team of one-on-one workers who pair up with and mentor individual young people. Each young person and his or her mentor enact a “transitioning plan” based on an individual’s lived experiences and goals” (Nichols, 15). The plan is meant to help the young person develop greater autonomy and gradually transition to independent housing, employment, and health management (Nichols, 15). Thanks to Naomi’s work, the Trillium grant continues to enhance the delivery of social services by YES to marginalized youth who often face difficulties accessing the available resources.



Nichols, Naomi. (2008). Walking the line: Doing community-situated institutional ethnography. A paper presented at the Society for Social Problems Annual Meeting, Boston, USA.


KM in the AM – Collaborative Planning and Partnership Building

On September 30, 2008, the York University KM Unit held its first KM in the AM for the 2008-2009 academic year. KM in the AM is our flagship event: a thematic breakfast that provides space for community and government agencies to meet and interact with York faculty and graduate students. The KM Unit has been holding these breakfasts regularly since 2006, and our September 30 event was one of our most successful yet.

This month’s theme was Collaborative Planning and Partnership Building, featuring a panel of five experts sharing their own experiences and research findings.

– Prof. Debra Pepler of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution
– Jane Wedlock of the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness
– Prof. Celia Haig-Brown of the York University Faculty of Education
– Susan Taylor Simpson of ProAct Ideas
– Prof. Uzo Anucha of the York University School of Social Work

Each panelist gave a thorough and illuminating presentation, outlining their organizations’ histories, successes, collaborative projects, and challenges.

Prof. Pepler explained the four strategy pillars used by her organization, PREVNet, to build relationships with other organizations. Jane Wedlock discussed the infrastructure challenges facing her organization, and explained how these were overcome via collaboration with another organization. Prof. Haig-Brown’s presentation revolved around on her work in the Aboriginal community, and the importance of working to maintain relationships. Susan Taylor Simpson discussed the importance of leadership to collaboration. Prof. Anucha focused on the need for trust and community dialogue in order to achieve a successful collaboration.

The panelists then took questions from the other attendees on various topics, including the advancing use of technology to facilitate collaborations, the need for catalytic leadership, and the need for someone to “own” any project.

Using our unvalidated but objective measure of engagement, one community partner stayed chatting GIS mapping with a graduate student for 3 hours after the session – that’s A LOT of mobilization!

If you are interested in learning more about any of these panelists’ work, or about future KM in the AM breakfasts, please contact Michael Johnny ( or Krista Jensen (, or visit

Knowledge Mobilization and Technology Transfer– chapter 2

Last time in KM and TT- Chapter 1, I described how KM and technology transfer are frequently compared as analogous services offered to our faculty. I also described how they are similar. This blog entry describes how they are different. To recap, since the passage of the U.S. Bayh Dole Act enacted on December 12, 1980, (P.L. 96-517, Patent and Trademark Act Amendments of 1980) academic institutions have increasingly supported university-industry partnerships through technology transfer (TT). An entire university-based industry with professional associations has grown world wide including the Association of University Technology Managers and the Alliance for the Commercialization of Canadian Technology. TT seeks to commercialize the results of (mainly) science & technology research that can be patented, licensed to a company and brought to the market in the form of new products and services. In turn the successful company pays the university back in the form of royalties (cash) and equity (in the case of a new company). Assuming readers have a base knowledge of KM (or else why read this blog) I am not going to review KM but suggest you watch our KM presentation here.

The table below shows the differences in almost every aspect between KM and TT. This in part reflects the different stages of development of KM and TT as professions but also reflects the fundamental differences in their audiences, processes and objectives. TT is a monetized transaction using a producer push method to find a licensee in a linear process: invention disclosure, due diligence, patenting, technology marketing, license negotiations, license agreement, product development, product marketing, product sales, and royalty payments to university. KM is an iterative process that creates sustained relationships between researchers and research users so that research and evidence can be available to inform decisions. There are no formal tools, formal training nor professional associations for KM (yet).

There is a role for the commercialization of (i.e. making money from) social sciences products such as survey instruments and the commercialization of humanities products such as books and films but this is not knowledge mobilization.

Stay tuned to this blog for the final entry in this series that discusses a better science & technology analogy for KM.

Meet a Mobilizer – Andrei Sedoff, York University

My name is Andrei Sedoff and I am a third year York University student pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminology. I had the great privilege to join the KM team through the RAY (Research at York) program in May of 2008 as a Research Translation Assistant. I spent this summer working closely with Jason Guriel to prepare research summaries of some of the finest social science research conducted at York. My career aspirations are to one day get my PhD and become a university Professor. It was hence a great privilege to become part of KM, where I experienced daily interaction with academics and analyzed their research on subjects as diverse as homelessness, immigration, and healthcare for marginalized populations. The RAY program gave me a fantastic opportunity to test-drive the world of social science research and helped sharpen my career goals. I am grateful to stay on as part of the KM team into the school year. KM has also been a unique social experience for me. It was great to always feel included in a team where I had the least experience and education. I think that the most important quality for knowledge mobilizers is to be a team player, since KM is about collaborating to make knowledge accessible and useful to all parties involved. I am grateful that my university experience has included KM and I look forward to continuing my work with the project.

Andrei Sedoff

Andrei Sedoff

Collaborative Planning and Partnership Building KM in the AM

The YorkU KM Unit will be hosting its first KM of the AM event of 2008-2009 on Tuesday, September 30th, at York’s Keele Campus. The topic of the event will focus on collaborative planning and partnership building, with a panel of York University researchers and community agency representatives, followed by ample time for questions, discussion, and networking.

Confirmed Panelists:
– Prof. Uzo Anucha, School of Social Work, Atkinson
– Prof. Celia Haig-Brown, Faculty of Education
– Prof. Debra Pepler, Lamarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution
– Jane Wedlock, York Region Alliance to End Homelessness
– Additional panelist to be confirmed

Date: Tuesday, September 30

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

Location: 280J York Lanes
York University, Keele Campus
4700 Keele Street, North York
Map to Location (York Lanes is #24 on the map)

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP to confirm your attendance.

Scholarship in action: Knowledge mobilization and the academic process

KM and practice of connecting academic research with the Canadian public was the topic of a recent article in Dialogue, an online publication produced by SSHRC, featuring ResearchImpact’s own David Phipps:

“Knowledge mobilization is not new to researchers,” says David Phipps, who is the director of the office of research services at York University and whose work is funded in part through a SSHRC Knowledge Impact in Society grant. “What’s new is that we’re developing the institutional capacity to support these activities.” Read the full article…

Knowledge Mobilization and Technology Transfer– chapter 1

Every public research institution in the country has a technology transfer (TT) office or is a member in a technology commercialization network that provides services (commercialization, due diligence, patenting, licensing and company creation) to researchers seeking to connect their research with the private sector to bring new products and services to the benefit of consumers. Knowledge mobilization is a novel service being offered by York and UVic to researchers seeking to connect their research to research users so that academic research can inform decisions about public policy and professional practice. KM is often referred to as a service analogous to technology transfer. While there may be analogies the two services are sufficiently different to warrant critical separation of the two concepts. In a series of brief blog postings, ResearchImpact will differentiate the services offered by technology transfer and knowledge mobilization.

Let’s start with the similarities- KM and TT managers both act as brokers between research/researchers and research users. The audiences may differ (TT speaks primarily to the private sector and KM to the public and voluntary sectors) but the role of brokering relationships between the academy and non-academic audiences is similar. The TT and the KM manager seek “receptors” for academic research (in part) through a producer push methodology [see John Lavis, Suzanne Ross, Christopher McLeod and Alina Gildner (2003) Measuring the impact of health research: assessment and accountability in the health sector. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 8(3): 165–170] and seek to forge sustainable relationships between researchers and research users; however, the form of these relationships and the means to sustain them differ.

Furthermore, locating TT and KM within research projects or research units (i.e. TT only for the life sciences or KM only for immigration and settlement) fails to maximize the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of academic research. KM and TT need to be developed at the institutional level.

Stay tuned to this blog for more musings about TT and KM.

Student Led Research Grant Announcement from UVic

The UVic Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit is pleased to announce an excellent funding opportunity that will allow Graduate and Undergraduate students at UVic to participate in KM.

The “Student Led Research Grants” initiative connects the B.C. Government with university students and their professors to conduct research that addresses public policy issues. It provides students with unique opportunities to apply their research skills to challenges faced by government and society.
To support the implementation and development of the research projects cross government, the BC Government is providing a one time funding grant to the University of Victoria to support student led research. The intent of the grant is to promote partnerships with post secondary institutions and to facilitate student research. The research generated from these grants will be used to aid in decision making and policy formation in various Ministries across the BC Government.

The funding available is up to $1500 per student, and may be used by the student to support new or ongoing research projects. To be eligible, students must receive written support from a supervising faculty member. The UVic KM Unit will be responsible for allocating and administering the student grants. The funding is provided directly to students in the form of honorariums, or in the form of travel and education grants to attend and present research at conferences.

The grant guidelines include a document from the BC Government outlining the current areas of research interest in the various Ministries. Students are encouraged to read through this document to see if their research is eligible for funding.

To view these grant guidelines, application forms, and support forms, go to:

The deadline for proposals is October 3rd, 2008

meet a mobilizer – Jason Guriel, York University

My name is Jason Guriel, and I’m a Ph.D. Candidate in English at York University, with an interest in contemporary American poetry. I’m a published poet and critic, but for the last few summers, I’ve also helped to craft research summaries for the Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit at York University. Some of my professors would probably be scared of the vaguely militaristic term, “Knowledge Mobilization,” but they have nothing to be afraid of! KM is about communication, and this job has been more than just a summer gig that pays the bills between teaching assignments; it certainly has involved more than just summarizing academic research. The KM Unit has given me the chance to not only learn about the very best of York research but to help make some of it more accessible to a wider audience. The KM Unit is also a fun group to work with, and not a bad bunch of bowlers!

ACCELERATE Ontario – Ontario’s Graduate Research Internship Program

ACCELERATE Ontario is a unique program which connects the province’s up-and-coming highly-skilled researchers – grad students and post-doctoral fellows – with Ontario companies through short-term applied research projects.

The formula is simple; a 4-month research project is identified which is of interest to an Ontario company, a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow – the intern – and his/her supervising professor. Over the 4 months, the intern undertakes research on the identified business issue under the supervision of the professor, all the while remaining a student at his/her university

Half of the intern’s time is spent on site with the partner company, researching the identified issue, collecting data and gaining an in-depth understanding of the challenge while the balance of his/her time is spent at the university, further advancing the research under the guidance of a professor and developing an innovative tool, technology or solution to the company’s challenge.

For each four month internship, the partner company contributes $7.5K, which is matched dollar-for-dollar by ACCELERATE Ontario, through the support of the Government of Ontario, the NCE Program and NSERC. The result is a $15K research grant to the intern’s supervising professor with the intern receiving a minimum of $10K for the 4-month period. The remaining $5K can support other costs associated with the internship, such as intern travel, computer equipment, laboratory materials etc. The program is managed by MITACS, a federally-funded research network connecting Canadian researchers with companies, government agencies and other organizations through collaborative research projects.

To facilitate research opportunities, MITACS has an Ontario-based team of business development personnel hosted by York University. With diverse backgrounds in information technology, business, biotechnology and chemistry, the team will work companies to clearly define their research challenges and find the ideal research expertise to tackle the problem. They will also help university-based researchers identify companies which could be interested in their research.

Any faculty is eligible for an ACCELERATE Ontario internship – from nursing to computer science and engineering, to biology to anthropology to social work. For more information, visit and click on “Ontario” or contact Namrata Barai at .

York’s KM Unit Continues to Forge Relationships between Researchers and Community Agencies

On July 24, 2008, York University played host to the first ever Knowledge Mobilization Peer to Peer (P2P) Network meeting. The meeting brought together students, researchers, and community partners engaged in knowledge mobilization (KM) – the active, two-way exchange of information and expertise between knowledge creators and knowledge users.

“This is an extraordinarily innovative undertaking,” said Dr. David Dewitt, Associate Vice-President Research & Innovation, at the start of the P2P Network meeting. “York is not just trying to impart info to the outside world,” he noted. “We are here to work with our colleagues outside the university.”

Knowledge mobilization (KM) is not a new process. Traditionally, tech transfer offices have provided universities with a mechanism for patenting scientific discoveries, like new vaccines, which can then be moved out into the world. But no comparable mechanism exists for research from areas like the social sciences and humanities – research that can have a profound impact on shaping public policy and professional practice. The KM Unit at York, one of two such Units in the country which have received grants from CIHR and SSHRC, provides just that mechanism. Along with the University of Victoria, York’s KM Unit has created ResearchImpact, Canada’s emerging KM network.

“We have an opportunity to complement and redefine scholarship,” said Michael Johnny, Manager of York’s KM Unit. “KM depends on relationships that we need to actively broker.”

Some of the relationships that the KM Unit has brokered were in evidence at the P2P Network Meeting. Attendees included homelessness researcher Dr. Stephen Gaetz, an Associate Dean with the Faculty of Education at York, and numerous graduate students who, through grants made possible by the KM Unit, now work with community agencies throughout the GTA.

Dr. Joanne Cummings, a York researcher, gave a brief talk on the Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet), a project for which she serves as Partnership Manager. The goal of PREVNet is to translate and exchange knowledge about bullying to enhance awareness, to provide assessment and intervention tools, and to promote policy related to the problems of bullying. PREVNet, as Cummings noted, is trying to mobilize knowledge about bullying to the community.

“The importance of creating relationships can’t be overemphasized,” Cummings told the assembled participants.

The meeting ended with a roundtable discussion that set the agenda for the Knowledge Mobilization P2P Network as it continues to encourage new relationships that will help to build and sustain vital research partnerships over time.

Knowledge Mobilization and Community-Based Research at UVic

The UVic Knowledge Mobilization Unit and Office of Community-Based Research have been working closely together under the institutional banner of “Civic Engagement” for a year. It is quickly becoming apparent that the goals of both of these initiatives would be realized more efficiently and thoroughly if there was an official amalgamation. The upcoming merger of the Knowledge Mobilization Unit and the Office of Community Based Research will create greater capacity for impact on all levels.

The coming together of Knowledge Mobilization and Community-Based Research functions at UVic will allow the knowledge brokers to pool resources, exchange expertise, and expand networks, leading to greater capacity to support various research collaborations with community organizations and policy makers. This merger will create one cohesive, organized, and productive office with a civic engagement mandate relating to positive social change.

University researchers awarded CIHR grant

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Mental Health Commission have awarded a grant of $1.5 million to a team of researchers, including a contingent from York University. According to a July 22 YFile article, they will be researching “how young adults who suffer from mental health problems, and those who support them, make decisions about their mental health. The project also promises to develop methods to help the mental health care sector better address the needs of Canadian youth by transferring knowledge to them in optimal, timely formats.”

The York researchers involved in the project include Henny Westra, Lynne Angus, John Eastwood, Madalyn Marcus and David Phipps.

KM intern making a difference with West End Heat Registry

Tanya Gulliver, an intern with the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, appeared in the July 18 edition of the Toronto Star, discussing her role as co-ordinator of the West End Heat Registry. The Heat Registry is a project funded by the City of Toronto, designed to ensure the safety of at-risk residents on days when the City issues heat advisories.

The KM at York Internship Program offers summer internships to York graduate students working in partnerships with community organizations, including government, NGOs, labour, private sector and community-based agencies. The community organization must provide the graduate student with the opportunity to apply her/his research and expertise to the benefit of the organization.

You can read the Toronto Star article here, or follow this link to find a video about the Heart Registry’s services.