The Who, What and How of Research Impact / L’impact de la recherche : le qui, le quoi et le comment

David Phipps has just returned from three weeks in the UK for his Fellowship funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Working with his Fellowship partner, Julie Bayley (Coventry University), he became immersed in research impacts mediated through public engagement, commercialization, entrepreneurship, internationalization and knowledge exchange. This affords the opportunity for a trans-Atlantic comparison of the people who are creating and assessing the many impacts of research. You can help by participating in a survey to help us figure this out.

David Phipps rentre tout juste d’un voyage de trois semaines au Royaume-Uni, où il a avancé les travaux qu’il réalise à titre de boursier de l’Association of Commonwealth Universities. Avec sa partenaire de subvention, Julie Bayley (de la Coventry University), il s’est penché sur l’impact produit par l’engagement dans le domaine public, la commercialisation, l’entrepreneuriat, l’internationalisation et l’échange de connaissances.Cela ouvre la porte à une comparaison transatlantique des personnes qui créent et qui évaluent les multiples impacts de la recherche.Vous pouvez les aider à mettre de l’ordre dans tout cela en participant à un sondage.

Julie Bayley and David Phipps

Julie Bayley and David Phipps

If research impact were a coin it would have two sides: heads (research impact assessment) and tails (knowledge mobilization that creates impacts of research). My Canadian experience is almost wholly knowledge mobilization – the practices and tools that help to maximize the economic, social and environmental impacts of research. Driven by the REF (see below), Julie’s UK experience is almost wholly capturing the evidence of impact and connecting the steps in the narrative that describes the pathway(s) from research to impact beyond the academy.

But despite our different perspectives on impact we have a lot of common language that allows us to navigate to our collaboration which explores the skills and competencies of knowledge brokers. These similarities among differences is reminiscent of a previous post where I attended the International School of Research Impact Assessment.

The primary difference between the two approaches to research impact is the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF). The REF allocated funding to universities based, in part, on their ability to articulate the impacts of their research beyond the academy. The evidence of impact, predicated on as established body of codified scholarship, was presented in a narrative case study that was then assessed by panels of academic and non-academic expertise. REF was a research impact assessment exercise affecting the entire post-secondary system in the UK. Administering the REF cost the UK £250 million although some estimates are up to four times that amount.

But here’s the thing….REF assessed impacts arising from pre-existing research. Outside of supports for commercialization and entrepreneurship there are few institutional and no system wide support networks for non-commercial impacts in the UK. This is in contrast to the Canadian experience where there is no system wide assessment of impacts beyond the academy but there are institutional efforts to help researchers and their partners create impacts exemplified by the 12 university members of ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network.

Canada has developed the tools and processes to create impact (the “how” of impact). The UK has developed methods to assess and articulate impacts (the “what” of impact). My work with Julie began with these differences and progressed to focus on the “who” of impact: the public engagement officers, knowledge brokers and REF staff. We know how to support impact. We know how to assess impact. We know less about the people actually working across the spectrum from stakeholder engagement to partnership development to impact assessment.

You can help us out. If you are a working in a role that supports research impact, no matter how tangentially, then we welcome your participation in our survey. In about 20 minutes you can let us know your experiences practicing different skills and competencies in your job. You can take the survey at http://goo.gl/r3INlw. It will be live until January 31, 2016.

Recapping the Top Five Most Popular Posts of 2015 / Résumé des 5 billets les plus populaire de 2015

For this year’s annual recap of our most popular blog posts, we looked to our twitter feed @ResearchImpact. Here’s the list of the top 5 most popular blog posts according to our twitter followers:

#1 with 3478 Impressions, 85 Engagements, 9 Retweets and 10 Likes

Five Steps to Research Impact / Cinq étapes pour que la recherche ait un impact

Knowledge brokering, the formation and support of community campus collaborations, is a key knowledge mobilization method that helps to maximize the social and economic impacts of research. A recent article from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit breaks that method down into five steps.

Le courtage de connaissances, c’est-à-dire la formation et le renforcement de collaborations entre le campus et la collectivité, est une méthode de mobilisation des connaissances essentielle qui aide à maximiser l’impact social et économique de la recherche. Dans un article récent, l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York décrit les cinq étapes de cette méthode.

#2 with 1260 Impressions, 18 Engagements, 4 Retweets and 6 Likes

Merry Mobilizing!

The annual holiday greeting from the KMb Unit at York. Thanks to Anneliese Poetz, Manager of the NeuroDevNet KT Core, for her mad Photoshop skills!

Merry Mobilizing 2015

#3 with 523 Impressions, 17 Engagements, 2 Retweets and 2 Likes

Impact is Measured by Talking to Partners Not Researchers / L’impact se mesure en parlant aux partenaires plutôt qu’aux chercheurs

Researchers either don’t know or overestimate the impact of their research beyond the academy. Here are some ways to foster closer connections between researchers and policy makers and identify stories where research had an impact beyond the academy.

Soit les chercheurs ne connaissent pas l’impact de leurs travaux à l’extérieur de l’université, soit ils le surestiment. Voici quelques clés pour favoriser les liens entre chercheurs et responsables des politiques, et pour reconnaitre les cas où la recherche a bel et bien eu un effet sur le monde extérieur.

CRFR#4 with 524 Impressions, 16 Engagements, 1 Retweet and 2 Likes

Partnerships for Impact: Making Research Partnerships Work

This guest post came from CRFR (Centre for Research on Families and Relationships) located in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships in consultation with ResearchImpact in Canada and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) have developed a Manifesto for Partnerships between Universities and Non-academics. In this post, Executive Director Sarah Morton explains what’s in the manifesto and how it can be used.

#twitter bird5 with 616 Impressions, 15 Engagements, 1 Retweet and 1 Likes

The Advantages of Live Tweeting a Research Talk

This guest post came from Dr. Allison McDonald, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. This post outlines some of the opportunities Dr. McDonald experienced while live tweeting a research talk.

Merry Mobilizing!

 

Merry Mobilizing 2015

Merry Mobilizing from the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University!

From left to right:

Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization

Anneliese Poetz, Manager, NeuroDevNet KT Core

David Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services

Krista Jensen, Knowledge Mobilization Officer

Rebecca Giblon, Research Translation Assistant

Amber Vance, Research Translation Assistant

Meghan Terry, Design Communications Assistant

Stacie Ross, KT Assistant, NeuroDevNet KT Core

Rainwater research / Recherche sur l’eau de pluie

At the University of Victoria, the Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit (RPKM) is a campus and community-wide portal to support the development of transformative research. We bring outstanding researchers together with community partners to co-create knowledge for action –knowledge that is mobilized to improve the social, cultural and economic well-being of communities throughout our region and around the globe.  Here’s a look at some of our projects with community partners in 2014.

À l’Université de Victoria, l’unité Partenariats en recherche et Mobilisation des connaissances (Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit, RPKM) est un portail ouvert aux gens du campus et de la communauté, destiné à soutenir et à renforcer la recherche transformatrice. Nous réunissons des chercheurs exceptionnels et des partenaires de la communauté afin qu’ils créent ensemble un savoir en action – un savoir mobilisé dans le but d’améliorer le bien-être social, culturel et économique des collectivités de notre région et du monde entier. Voici quelques-uns des projets en cours en 2014.

UVic grad student Catherine Orr

Graduate student Catherine Orr working with students during construction of the rain garden at Oak & Orca Bioregional School

UVic researcher answers the city’s call for rainwater management solutions.

With Victoria’s changing climate of wetter winters and more frequent, more intense storms, rain gardens will play an increasingly important role in keeping our water clean and managing the flow of rain in our community. For this reason, the City of Victoria has partnered with environmental studies master’s student Catherine Orr to find better ways of managing our city’s rainwater.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Valentin Schaefer in UVic’s Department of Environmental Studies, Orr has constructed a rain garden on the campus of Victoria’s Oak and Orca Bioregional School.

The rainwater system runs nearly the entire length of the school site and is designed to manage the majority of rain that falls during the year, using gravity to collect water on the roof and disperse it through an educational play feature into a native plant rain garden.

In addition to the City of Victoria, this research was supported by several other community organizations. The Real Estate Foundation, Vancity, and Mitacs helped fund the construction of the site, while the Capital Regional District donated soil and plants and Murdoch De Greeff Inc.’s landscape architects provided professional design input.

Orr’s research will lead to new knowledge of rain garden systems that will help the city develop improved rainwater guidelines and eventually construct more rain gardens in other locations, providing a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the city’s storm drains. “We need to treat rainwater better in cities,” says Orr. “We have this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude towards rainwater… [but] the city is a place where natural systems don’t stop happening.”

Call for Content: Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum #CKF16

Institute for Knowledge Mobilization logoOn behalf of the Board of the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization and the Chair and Planning Committee of the 2016 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum #CKF16,  it is our pleasure to announce the Call for Content for #CKF16

The theme for this year is: Systems and Sustainability – Creating enduring Knowledge Mobilization

The deadline for contribution is March 31, 2016. 

Download Call for Content: FinalDraft_CKF16 Call for Content

Download this form to contribute content: CKF16 Call for Content Form

________________________________

The Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum was created in 2012 as a professional development forum for practitioners, researchers, students and professionals working in knowledge mobilization across fields and sectors.

It has become recognized as a premiere learning and networking event in Canada – friendly, open, limited in size, and creative. Events have been held in Ottawa (2012), Mississauga (2013), Saskatoon (2014), and Montréal (2015) and is scheduled for June 28-29 in Toronto (2016)

The theme for 2016 is: Systems and Sustainability – Creating enduring Knowledge Mobilization

This theme will challenge us all to consider our interests in knowledge mobilization in the context of the world around us. Being the fifth annual Forum, we invite participation that will push thinking and engagement of the knowledge mobilization community further. The Forum will be hosted by York University at The Hospital for Sick Children’s Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning. This world class venue will facilitate active participation, networking, reflection and learning. Further, the planning committee is offering some additional alternative sessions, some of which will be held in other downtown locations to provide unique experiences for participants.

We are driven by an objective of allowing you to design your own conference experience that reflects your interests, experience, priorities and learning styles. Drawing on the assets of the Greater Toronto Area, leaders in knowledge mobilization from all across Canada and beyond, it is our hope you will come away from #CKF16 enriched, energized and engaged in this field like never before.

Our objectives are:

Build on the past successes of the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum, making this a preeminent event to learn and engage about knowledge mobilization in Canada
Build individual and organization capacity for knowledge mobilization
Learn about work in other sectors to enable innovation, partnerships and collaboration
Engage with leaders to influence future directions
Meet the next generation of leaders and create opportunities to mentor and coach
Access the latest tools, techniques and opportunities.

The 2016 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum is seeking contributions for content, which addresses the overall theme of Systems and Sustainability, and links to the subthemes of:

Subtheme 1 Structures – What (for example: KMb across sectors; funding KMb; role of brokers)
Subtheme 2 Processes – How (for example: KMb tool boxes; networks; communities of practice)
Subtheme 3 Technology – Technology and Tools (for example: KMb and social media; yaffle; web 3.0)

We are also introducing a something new, The Knowmo Scale. Here, we’re inviting presenters to consider their audience. Consider this our own unique variation of the Scoville Unit scale.

Is your presentation targeting early KMb professionals? If so, you would check off Knowmo 1.

Will you focus on more experienced practitioners in KMb? If so, you would check off Knowmo 2.

Does your presentation seek to engage KMb leaders in the field? If so, please check off Knowmo 3.
Knowmo 1 Early KMb Professionals / Students
Knowmo 2 KMb Practitioners / Researchers
Knowmo 3 KMb Ninjas! (leaders in the field; a more advanced conversation on KMb issues)

We are seeking the following:

1) Catalyst Presentations of 7 minutes each.

For each session, a small group of presenters will each engage the audience with a focused 7-minute presentation.  Feel free to be provocative or pose questions.  This will be followed by a 45-minute group discussion of the ideas presented, the connections that emerge, and implications for knowledge mobilization practice.  People can apply individually or identify other presentation proposals they would like to be considered grouped with.

The value of these sessions emerges from the EXCHANGE of all participants.  The presenters create a catalyst to conversation.  Each session will be moderated by a session Chair.

2) Poster Presentations

Recommended max poster size is 36”/92cm high by 60”/152 cm wide.  The posters will be juried by an expert panel of knowledge mobilization practitioners.  Posters will be profiled at a specific event and you will have two minutes to share ‘what you need to know’ about your poster with all participants.

There are 20 openings for poster presentations.

3) Professional Development Workshops or Information Presentations of 40 minutes each

Workshops are an opportunity to share methods and tools useful to the practice of knowledge mobilization professionals in an interactive and engaging format.  The aim is to help participants to improve their skills and understanding of KMb and to become better mobilizers.

Alternatively, people are welcome to submit presentations which are less interactive and more informative.

For both, participants are welcome to consider non-traditional approaches for this exchange process: Fireside Chat; Debate; Panel Presentations or others.

4) Film and Fine Arts Dissemination of Collaborative Research – Approx. 15-30 minutes

Collaborative teams are invited to share examples of knowledge products within Fine Arts (movies, documentary, music, dance, visual art, poetry etc.) for an evening performance (think TIFF, but for KMb).   3 teams will have 30 minutes to both preview and speak to their knowledge products, sharing what they did, why they chose that and the desired impact using that medium.

There are 3 openings for Fine Arts Dissemination of Collaborative Research.

All contributions will be reviewed by an independent selection committee and judged for quality of content, the opportunity to advance our understanding of knowledge mobilization, and relevance to the theme of the 2016 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum.

The deadline for contribution is March 31, 2016. 

Please fill the Call for Content Form and send to: peter@knowledgemobilization.net

Note: Selected content must be presented by a registered participant at the 2016 Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum in Toronto, Ontario, June 28-29, 2016.

Further details will be posted on the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization’s website: www.knowledgemobilization.net

Competencies and Skills for Knowledge Mobilization and Knowledge Exchange (Survey Request)

The following is a request for participation from David Phipps, RIR-York in his collaborative research project on priority competencies and skills for KMb and KE.

https://goo.gl/r3INlw

Two speech bubblesI am conducting a collaborative research project on priority competencies and skills for knowledge mobilization and knowledge exchange. My collaborators are Monica Batac (graduate student, Ryerson University), Julie Bayley (Coventry University) and Ed Stevens (University of Bath). Ryerson University’s Research Ethics Board has approved this study (PI: Monica Batac, supervised by Dr. Charles Davis).

I am looking for a diverse group of participants to complete the online survey on the practice of knowledge mobilization/exchange. Potential participants include knowledge mobilization researchers, knowledge brokers, intermediaries, and knowledge transfer/translation practitioners.

What you will be asked to do:

This study asks you to read and rate knowledge broker competencies based on how often you practice that skill. You will be asked to rate each of 80 competencies according to the following scale:

Crucial (practiced almost every day)
High alignment (practiced almost every week)
Medium alignment (practice monthly)
Low alignment (rarely practice)
Unrelated to my post (never practice)

The survey should take you about 30 minutes to complete.

The survey can be found at:

https://goo.gl/r3INlw

Your choice of whether or not to participate will not influence your future relationships
with me or any of the project collaborators and our affilitated universities.

Please feel free to forward this recruitment message to those who may like to
participate.

Informing policy and practice / Modeler les pratiques et les politiques

At the University of Victoria, the Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit (RPKM) is a campus and community-wide portal to support the development of transformative research. We bring outstanding researchers together with community partners to co-create knowledge for action –knowledge that is mobilized to improve the social, cultural and economic well-being of communities throughout our region and around the globe. Here’s a look at some of our projects with community partners in 2014.

À l’Université de Victoria, l’unité Partenariats en recherche et Mobilisation des connaissances (Research Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization unit, RPKM) est un portail ouvert aux gens du campus et de la communauté, destiné à soutenir et à renforcer la recherche transformatrice. Nous réunissons des chercheurs exceptionnels et des partenaires de la communauté afin qu’ils créent ensemble un savoir en action – un savoir mobilisé dans le but d’améliorer le bien-être social, culturel et économique des collectivités de notre région et du monde entier. Voici quelques-uns des projets en cours en 2014.

Masters students tackle BC-related research questions through UVic course.

GS505 photo

GS 505 students, instructors and mentors from the course’s 2013 / 2014 session

Students at UVic have an incredible opportunity to develop their research skills while helping to improve the lives of BC’s children and families, thanks to a course titled Graduate Studies 505.

GS 505: Research and Evaluation in Children, Youth and Family Services Policies is a multi-disciplinary internship, spearheaded by UVic Knowledge Mobilization Services and instructed by Drs. Gord Miller and Wayne Mitic, (School of Child and Youth Care). Students in the course learn about research and evaluation techniques and select one research question to explore, aided in their investigations by mentors from the MCFD.

“Through this experience, I was able to research an issue close to my heart and work with professionals directly engaged in the topic area,” explains a GS 505 student from the 2013/14 session. After the students complete their research, they share their findings with Ministry officials, enabling these government practitioners and policy-makers to address pressing research needs within their areas of responsibility.

“[Our office] has greatly benefited from UVic students involved in the research course,” says a ministry official from the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV). “[The students’] hard work, diverse perspectives and involvement has enriched PODV’s work in the last two years and is greatly appreciated.”

With projects including research on adoption, special needs, youth justice, mental health, early years and child welfare, this innovative course develops UVic students’ research skills while giving them a chance to change the lives of BC families.

For more information on the course, click here.

Impact is Measured by Talking to Partners Not Researchers / L’impact se mesure en parlant aux partenaires plutôt qu’aux chercheurs

Researchers either don’t know or overestimate the impact of their research beyond the academy. Here are some ways to foster closer connections between researchers and policy makers and identify stories where research had an impact beyond the academy.

Soit les chercheurs ne connaissent pas l’impact de leurs travaux à l’extérieur de l’université, soit ils le surestiment. Voici quelques clés pour favoriser les liens entre chercheurs et responsables des politiques, et pour reconnaitre les cas où la recherche a bel et bien eu un effet sur le monde extérieur.

LSE Impact Blog logoThe LSE Impact Blog posted a blog by Michele Ferguson, Brian Head, Adrian Cherney and Paul Boreham (University of Queensland) about their study examining the use of academic research evidence by policy makers. One key finding is that academics overestimate the use of academic research by policy makers. “Our results demonstrate a disparity between academics’ perception of the impact of their research and the opinions of public sector staff surveyed.”

This is reminiscent of the findings of SSHRC’s evaluation of their Connections program which evaluated all of their knowledge mobilization funding programs from meeting grants, to journal grants to partnership grants. SSHRC published their findings in September 2013. They found that end of grant reports were not effective for identifying impacts beyond the academy. Consistent with the Queensland post they found that researchers were also not very effective at reporting on impacts. Only partners on knowledge mobilization grants were able to indicate the impacts that occurred.

Makes sense. Since it is the partners who are going to use research to make the products, develop the policies or deliver the services that will eventually have an impact on Canadians then it makes sense to assess research impacts at the level of our partners, not our researchers.

My #1 rule of impact is that impact is measured at the level of our partners.

Don’t ask researchers to tell you about the impacts of their research. Stay in touch with your partners for many years following the conclusion of the research. Although, neither our funders nor any institution without a knowledge mobilization unit is structured to collect these stories of impacts.  See below for our approach.

Obvious question: Why do we still rely on researcher reporting for evidence of impact?

Back to the LSE Blog post: The authors cite challenges policy makers face when trying to use academic research to inform policy decision. None of the observations are new or surprising but what the authors do that is helpful is make suggestions to help researchers and research institutions enhance the connections between research(ers) and policy (makers). This serves as a useful checklist for knowledge mobilization practices and is illustrated below with examples from our practice at York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit.

For academic research to have an influence, it must be accessible.

  • York trains researchers and students to write according to clear language writing and design principles and we have produced over 200 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries in a searchable database. Read more about these in Scholarly & Research Communications.

Take the time and effort to build and maintain relationships

  • We routinely attend meetings of policy partners including the Human Service Planning Board of York Region and as recently as November 2 we attended the policy research forum of the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities hosting a booth to present our knowledge mobilization services.

Ascertain preferred modes of communication and maintain regular contact.

  • One of our four service streams is acting as a knowledge broker to identify and support collaborations between non-academic partners and academic researchers/students. We received over 400 requests for cialis 2006. These 400 requests come from over 200 non-academic organizations so we have a number of repeat customers.

Create opportunities for bringing academics and policy-makers together.

  • One of our service streams is supporting knowledge mobilization events. Our flagship event is KM in the AM where we hold events off campus addressing research opportunities identified by our partners. You can read more about KM in the AM and our research forums in another paper in Scholarly & Research Communications.

And I would add an additional suggestion:

Stay in touch with research partners to identify the stories of impact

  • At York every partner for whom we brokered a project with one of our researchers receives a phone call every year until we are told that nothing further came of the research or until we get a story of impact such as a new social service or public policy that arose as a result of the collaboration. Note “receives a phone call”. We do not survey our partners. Our partners do not respond to surveys (who does?). We stay in touch with our partners over the course of years, often 3-5 years following the research because research doesn’t inform decisions overnight. You can read about one such impact study in the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship and see the video of this example where the researcher talks about the impact of a research collaboration on a youth emergency shelter. The research undertaken in 2007. We told the story in 2012.

As illustrated by the Queensland research and the SSHRC evaluation, impact is measured at the level of our partners. Listen to your researchers. But proactively stay in touch with your partners.

KMb in the City / MdC dans la ville

On October 31, 2015, We The City featured speakers from community, municipalities and universities including SFU, UNBC, Queen’s, Ryerson, UofT, Mt Royal, OCADU, McGill, U Calgary, Dalhousie, UBC and David Phipps from York University. The event featured about 80 participants, three cities and four buses. We The City was a great showcase of KMb in the City.

Le 31 octobre 2015, We The City présentait des conférenciers issus de la communauté, des municipalités et d’universités comme Simon Fraser, Northern British Columbia, Queen’s, Ryerson, Toronto, Mount Royal, OCADU, McGill, Calgary, Dalhousie et UBC – David Phipps, de York, était là aussi. Environ 80 participants, trois villes et quatre autobus : We The City, une fenêtre ouverte sur la MdC offerte à toute la ville.

There are a number of University based units that create opportunities to connect campus to community. SFU Public Square is one of those. Sponsored by the RECODE program of the JW McConnell Family Foundation, SFU Public Square hosted We The City, a day of events featuring projects, courses and programs that support research and student experiences engaged with partners from community and municipal organizations.

David Phipps and Rui Tang

David Phipps and Rui Tang

I had the pleasure of delivering a break out session with Rui Tang, a fourth year Poli Sci student from UofT. We presented on community camps collaborations. Our breakout session was on a bus (yes, on a bus…more on that later). Rui spoke about her experiences working with communities in China and with immigrant women in Canada. She reflected that her engaged student experiences were instrumental in her learning but that she didn’t find any unique supports on her campus for helping her to connect to community. I was then able to speak about the institutional supports provided by York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit that help connect students and researchers to research partners to maximize the economic, social and environmental impacts of University research.

There were great questions on the bus (I’m getting to that unique feature) and reflections on the differences between working with community or municipal partners. To illustrate the municipal perspective I told the story of the collaboration we helped to broker that undertook an evaluation of the York a Region Welcome a Centre, a hall mark of the Inclusivity Action Plan. Citing the evidence from the “York University evaluation” the Regional Municipality of York invested over $20M to expand the Welcome Centre program from one to five Welcome Centres (now expanded to Durham Region) creating 86 jobs and delivering over 48,000 services to newcomers in York Region.

We the City bus tourThe best part of the daylong event was the format. We met for breakfast at SFU Surrey and had a traditional plenary panel. Then we grabbed coffee and snacks and went to one of four breakout sessions. Each session was on a tour coach that took various routes from SFU Surrey to SFU Burnaby. We then had lunch and another traditional panel following a walking tour of the sustainable residential development called UniverCity that is neighbour to SFU Burnaby.  Then back on the buses for more breakout sessions en route to SFU Vancouver. From there we had a choice of many walking tours to see cultural, social, environmental and health community innovations. This showed off some of the amazing work underway in Vancouver’s communities. I toured the lower east side and saw the incredible work helping community address poverty and its associated challenges of mental illness and substance abuse. We visited the Incite safe injection clinic, a brave and pioneering innovation in harm reduction.

The format of this event was amazing. My only observation is that it would have been difficult for someone with limited mobility to participate if they couldn’t climb onto the bus or easily join the walking tours. But accommodation could certainly have been arranged if needed.

Thank you Shawna Sylvester of SFU Public Square who, along with an incredible team of student organizers, was the driving force behind We The City. Interesting day. Even more interesting format.

Social R+D

This week’s guest post first appeared on SiG’s (Social Innovation Generation) website and is reposted here with permission. 

In July 2015, an emerging cross-sector alliance of social innovators, thinkers, activists, pragmatists and advocates came together to explore how R&D for social impact could become more accessible, supported, integrated, diffuse and intentional. The result? A Declaration of Action.

All are welcome to join this alliance of activity and inquiry – please email info@sigeneration.ca to sign this declaration for a robust, networked and cross-sector social R&D ecosystem and/or to sign-up for news & updates as the ecosystem develops.

An audacious opportunity

 As an emerging alliance of front-line innovators, professionals, advocates, academics, nonprofit and foundation leaders, entrepreneurs, and public policy professionals: We declare a commitment to generate intentional, networked, and shared Research & Development (R&D) capabilities for lasting, positive social outcomes.

Our view is Canada’s innovation culture and ecosystem requires a networked, cross-sector R&D approach if we are to achieve the positive social outcomes we seek.

Creating the conditions for innovation requires our collective commitment to enable and advance R&D for social impact.

Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday in 2017 is an audacious opportunity for this country to lead the world in advancing breakthroughs in complex social, economic and environmental challenges through open, networked and distributed R&D for societal well-being. Over the past 12 months, a common call has been heard at gatherings, in research, around milestones and in working groups across the country around tackling entrenched challenges by animating cross-sector innovation and R&D.

We see R&D as complementary and reinforcing activities that unleash continuous process, product, policy, service, structural, and systems innovation across society.

These activities include, but are not limited to:

Looking:

Exploring, community-led inquiry, ethnography, lit review, case studies, data sourcing

Thinking:

Brainstorming, generating hypotheses, leveraging small, big and open data

Developing:

Designing and testing, piloting, prototyping, evaluating, designing feedback loops, co-production

Diffusing:

Building/sharing capacity, aggregating/sharing lessons from success, failure and process development, leaping by learning

A cross-sector social impact R&D approach will significantly enhance the work of Canada’s innovation ecosystem and propel us towards long-term social and economic prosperity.

Declaration

Now is the time to seed and lead a vibrant ecosystem of public good R&D-enabled innovation across corporate, academic, public and community sectors to generate lasting positive impact.

We believe that an advanced R&D approach necessarily:

  • Focuses on transforming entrenched structures, policy and systems
  • Designs for thriving communities and enriched lives at all stages of life
  • Strives to be open, networked and distributed, supporting all contributors from the passionate amateurs to the large-scale innovation hubs
  • Operates in a spirit of abundance
  • Activates various forms of capital including data, talent, knowledge, infrastructure, finance and social capital (networks)
  • Pursues connection by diffusing from, to and across the margins, the grassroots, the labs, the R&D “arms,” and ongoing organizational silos
  • Targets systems innovation, engaging in the complementary co-development of institutional, scientific/technological, business, and social innovation
  • Facilitates social organizations and enterprises to pursue a “fifth dimension” of core activity: innovation
  • Leads from a new ethical framework for R&D for public good

This declaration is a living document. It serves as a reminder of our commitment to action. We invite others to join in the development of this R&D approach to enable lasting impact.

Declaration Participants:

Tim Draimin SiG National

Vinod Rajasekaran – Impact Hub Ottawa

Kelsey Spitz – SiG National

Lee Rose – Community Knowledge Exchange  

Sarah Schulman – InWithForward

Andrew Chunilall – Community Foundations of Canada

Stephen Huddart – The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Jason Pearman – Public Servant, Co-Founder Impact Hub Ottawa

Rohit Ramchandani – Antara Global Health Advisors/ColaLife

Amy Mapara – Canadian Red Cross

Anil Patel – Grantbook

Jess Tomlin – MATCH International Women’s Fund

Indy Johar –  00:/

Dave Farthing – YOUCAN

Andrew Taylor – Grand Challenges Canada

Bruce MacDonald – Imagine Canada

Jean-Noé Landry – Open North

Ben Weinlick – Skills Society & Think Jar Collective

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation

Marilyn Struthers – Consultant, Former Eaton Chair in Social Innovation, Ryerson University

David Phipps – York University, ResearchImpact-ReseauImpactRecherche

Liz Mulholland – Prosper Canada

Claire Buré

John Brodhead

Reading Resources:

The Top 8

  1. Doing Good Better: Upping Canada’s Game with an R&D Engine By Tim Draimin & Vinod Rajasekaran (2015)
  2. Conference Board April 2013 Public R&D Spending By The Conference Board of Canada (2013)
  3. Introducing Kudoz & Fifth Space By InWithForward + partners (2015)
  4. Netiquette 2.0: Moving Forward at the Speed of Trust By Marilyn Struthers & Penny Scott (2015)
  5. Fueling Nonprofit Innovation: R&D Vigor Trumps Randomized Control Trial Rigor By Peter York (2011)
  6. Impact by Design: Making R&D Work for the Social Sector By Meg Long (2012)
  7. Making Evidence Practical for Development By Joe Dickman & Samir Khan (2015)
  8. The point of no return By Sarah Schulman (2015)

And…

Campus to City: Colleges, Universities, and City Building – October 31, 2015

David Phipps, RIR-York, will be presenting at this upcoming event taking place across all three SFU campuses in Metro Vancouver. The full conference schedule and registration details are available here.

Campus to City banner

When: Saturday, October 31, 2015  9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Where: SFU Vancouver, SFU Surrey, SFU Burnaby

SFU Public Square, in partnership with RECODE, an initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation is hosting a day-long, national conversation on the role of colleges and universities in city-building.

Designed by students from across Canada, this participatory, moving conference will bring together students, university faculty and staff, city building leaders and community partners to reimagine how colleges and universities can be a driving force in creating vibrant, livable, and sustainable cities.

With visits to SFU campuses in three Metro Vancouver cities and case studies from campuses across the country, participants will have the opportunity to discuss national perspectives against the backdrop of living examples of community collaboration and city-building.

Campus to City participants will explore the three key roles that campuses play as hubs of innovation, as landowner and developers and as community animators. Themes such as sustainability, design for inclusivity, social finance, and First Nations perspectives will be interwoven into the day during moving breakout sessions on tour buses. Participants will be challenged to bring back the ideas, the energy and the project possibilities back to innovate in their campus communities.

Whether you are a student, faculty or staff at a university, a community partner or a leader involved in city building, you have a role to play in shaping this national conversation.

Join us for an interactive, experiential and solutions-focused conference and help us co-create the future of our cities!

Full conference schedule and registration details are available here.

Putting the Social into R&D / Du social dans la R-D

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (David Phipps, RIR York and Cathy Edwards, RIR Carleton) participated in a two day design workshop to develop the basis for an R&D agenda for Canada’s social sector. Or was it to develop a national agenda for R&D with social impact? Whatever it was we won’t be able to do it alone.

Des membres du RéseauImpactRecherche-ResearchImpact (David Phipps, RIR York et Cathy Edwards, RIR Carleton) ont pris part à un atelier de conception de deux jours qui visait à poser les fondements d’un programme de R-D pour le secteur social au Canada – ou peut-être à mettre au point un programme national de R-D ayant un impact social? En tout cas, peu importe ce que c’était, on n’y arrivera pas tout seuls.

For two days Cathy and I joined a meeting of national Foundations (including Community Foundations Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Vancouver Community Foundation, McConnell Family Foundation, Trico Foundation, Rideau Hall Foundation, Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation), social entrepreneurs, Imagine Canada and intermediaries like Tim Draimin and Kelsey SPITZ from Social Innovation Generation who organized the event with Vinod Rajasekaran from Hub Ottawa/Rideau Hall Foundation.

We came together as a follow on to work over the summer that was inspired by a SIG blog titled “Doing Good Better: Upping Canada’s Game with an R&D Engine”. The summer work generated a Declaration of Action that called on social innovators/entrepreneurs and their allies to imagine the impact of joining the heart of community and lived experience with the R&D capacity found in other sectors.

We fortunately didn’t get stuck in definitional dystopia. We resisted the unproductive challenge of agreeing on a definition of “research” or “development” but we did discuss if this this was social R&D or R&D for social impact.  I prefer the latter. Universities already do lots of research on social and environmental issues (although we do some “innovation” but little “development”). We can also develop technology or analyze open data; however it has social (and environmental) impact when we work to reduce disparities, encourage reconciliation, work on climate change and/or improve the health of our local and global communities rather than making money as the primary objective. Money isn’t bad as a byproduct of R&D with a social impact but it means we pay attention to the triple bottom line: people, planet and profits.

We were all asked to make a commitment to one of five working streams arising from the design workshop. I signed up for the conversation about working across sectors in a polycentric fashion. No one sector will be able to achieve social impact from R&D working alone. We need governments and we especially need corporations at the table to achieve lasting impact at scale. Cathy Edwards volunteered to continue the conversations with Hub Ottawa to build up connections and conversations in the region.

Universities, represented by RIR, are at the table. Our role is to represent the role that academic research institutions can contribute to this planning stage and, eventually, to broker to specific research expertise. We will first broker to academic expertise on the social/community/charity/voluntary/NGO (chose your descriptor) sector to ensure the right governance, finance and tax instruments are available to maximize the ability for the social sector and people with lived experience to participate as equals in these R&D efforts. Live long and prosperSubsequently, as domain and subject priorities are identified, RIR will be able to broker research collaborations with faculty and students from across Canada.

If you believe in this work you can contribute by adding your name to the Declaration of Action by emailing info@sigeneration.ca.

For me, the entire event can be summed up in the words of Anil Patel (TimeRaiser) who commended us to “share strong and prosper”.

David Phipps named a Fellow of the Association of Commonwealth Universities

Congratulations to David Phipps, RIR-York, who was recently awarded a Fellowship from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The following story first appeared in York University’s YFile on September 18, 2015 and is reposted here with permission.

David Phipps

David Phipps

David Phipps, executive director research & innovation services, has been awarded a Fellowship from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) to collaborate with colleagues from the United Kingdom on a project that will develop capacity for university-based knowledge mobilization professionals. Phipps was awarded the Gordon and Jean Southam Fellowship that is open to applicants from any Canadian ACU member university.

The Fellowship is funded under the ACU “Titular Fellowships” Program, which aims to enable the universities of the Commonwealth to develop human resources for their institutions. It also supports the interchange of people, knowledge, skills and technologies globally. During the Fellowship in December 2015, Phipps will be hosted by Coventry University as well as colleagues from the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement.

“This Fellowship is testimony to David’s decade long development of knowledge mobilization at York and with ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation. “This achievement is also an indication of the growing international recognition of engaged scholarship at York that is creating impacts on public policy, professional practice and social services.”

“Coventry University is pleased to host Dr. Phipps in his Fellowship. We have a national reputation for impact, demonstrated through excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework (2014) and support research impact centrally through an award-winning impact and behaviour change specialist, Julie Bayley,” says Tim Horne, head of the Research Excellence Unit, Coventry University. “Supported by this Fellowship, Coventry University is exceptionally well placed to support and outwardly communicate a scalable and replicable model for knowledge broker competencies.”

Phipps will be joined by other 2015 ACU Fellows from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Trinidad.

For more information, visit the ACU Titular Fellowships webpage.

Partnerships for Impact: Making Research Partnerships Work

CRFRThis week’s guest post comes from CRFR (Centre for Research on Families and Relationships) located in Edinburgh, Scotland . It was originally published on October 1, 2015 on the CRFR blog and is reposted here with permission.

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships in consultation with ResearchImpact in Canada and the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) have developed a Manifesto for Partnerships between Universities and Non-academics. Here Executive Director Sarah Morton explains what’s in the manifesto and how it can be used.

There is broad agreement amongst research funders in the UK (http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/pe/embedding/) that if academics work more closely with partners from outside the academy their work is more likely to have impact. It helps to embed research in real world issues, creates a group of willing and ready stakeholders, linked to wider networks and can help academics learn about the kind of language and methods required for effective take-up of research. At CRFR we often work together with range of public and third sector partners. We wanted to draw together what we have learned from this and make it more widely available. A partnership manifesto was the way we decided to do this.

Where did the manifesto come from?

In my own research (Creating research impact: the roles of research users in interactive research mobilisation) I investigated partnership and found that there were many ways in which CRFR working in partnership with ChildLine Scotland had led to the impact of that research. I presented these findings about impact to the Scottish Third Sector Research Forum in 2014, and the level of interest led to the idea for a manifesto for partnership research.

Findings from my research were discussed at a workshop at the NCCPE national conference in 2014, with a range of experienced researchers and KE professionals adding their experience. It was then discussed by the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Community of Practice and the ResearchImpact network in Canada:

“At ResearchImpact we were happy to be invited to collaborate on the Manifesto.” says David Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, York University, Canada. “We shared it among our members who provided feedback to Sarah and her CRFR team. Working closely with partners creates the conditions for research to have an impact beyond the academy. The manifesto provides guidance and tips to help support community-campus collaborations.”

The final version has taken on board all comments received and we are confident it is based on the most recent research and informed by the key experts in this field.

What is in the partnership manifesto?

The manifesto takes a process approach to thinking about partnership. It looks at identifying partners, and then goes through the stages of partnership research: starting partnerships, developing funding bids, developing partnerships, and sharing research findings. Advice includes being explicit about what both sides in a partnership can gain, and what commitment is needed, recognising knowledge and resources, and being clear about the difference between research, evaluation and commissioning. A few final comments suggest the need to choose partners carefully where possible, create spaces to reflect on what is and isn’t working, and to include impact assessment so that everyone can show what difference is being made.

How can the partnership manifesto be used?

We hope that the manifesto will provide a useful tool for people interested in research partnerships, whether from third or public sector organisations, or researchers themselves. Whatever stage of partnership people are in, we imagine the manifesto being a useful tool for discussion, development and reflection during partnership research. It can be a means of ensuring everyone is on the same page, by setting out key considerations for open discussion. When partnerships are not going well it might be a tool for reflecting together or separately on what the issues are and how they might be addressed.

Download a copy of the partnership manifesto

Five Steps to Research Impact / Cinq étapes pour que la recherche ait un impact

Knowledge brokering, the formation and support of community campus collaborations, is a key knowledge mobilization method that helps to maximize the social and economic impacts of research. A recent article from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit breaks that method down into five steps.

Le courtage de connaissances, c’est-à-dire la formation et le renforcement de collaborations entre le campus et la collectivité, est une méthode de mobilisation des connaissances essentielle qui aide à maximiser l’impact social et économique de la recherche. Dans un article récent, l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York décrit les cinq étapes de cette méthode.

At York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit we feel it is important to not only develop effective knowledge mobilization methods but to document those methods so that other knowledge mobilizers can adopt and adapt them to their own contexts. While we present these methods on our SlideShare and YouTube accounts and on our blog, we also feel it is important to document these in the peer reviewed literature for two reasons: 1) peer review is the gold standard in an academic context like ours; and 2) peer review provides an independent validation of the method.

We published our “recipe book” in Scholarly & Research Communications in 2011. This paper presented our seven institutional knowledge mobilization services. We also published our clear language writing in Scholarly & Research Communications in 2012. We published on graduate student interns in Education & Training in 2011 and on social media in a book chapter in 2012.

We then spent 2013 and 2014 writing about community campus collaborations and social innovation. In 2015 we are pleased to have published on our knowledge brokering process, the core of our business. “An institutional process for brokering community-campus research collaborations” was published in the first edition of a new journal called the Engaged Scholar Journal housed at our ResearchImpact partner University of Saskatchewan. This paper was co-authored with Jane Wedlock from United Way York Region so was itself a community campus collaboration. We walk the talk of co-production and as often as possible to co-author with non-academic authors.

The paper presents the five step process we have developed to broker collaborations between community and campus stakeholders. The process is illustrated in the figure and consists of:

  1. Opportunity received and in progress (assessment, seek match, contact match, introduction)
  2. No match
  3. Match and no activity
  4. Match and activity (shared activity such as panelist or speaker at an event but falling short of collaborative project)
  5. Match results in a collaborative research project potentially with impact on the non-academic partner (=5a)

Brokering Flow Chart

Each stage is described in detail in the paper. During development of our method we had a failure (=stage 2) rate of 37%. We queried project partners in that 37% to understand some of the barriers. We made some adjustments to our process in response to feedback and are currently running an 18% failure rate, which we feel is just fine. Many of those 18% are ones that are withdrawn voluntarily because they are not ready for partnering.

We illustrate the brokering process with two stories: Mobilizing Minds and the York Region Food Network. And most importantly we describe the impact on our knowledge brokering process when we introduced Jane Wedlock as a community based knowledge broker. To our knowledge having a knowledge mobilization officer embedded in community and brokering into the university to complement the campus based brokering out to community is a unique model and has provided benefits to both partners:

  1. Greater outreach in the community increased the quality of knowledge mobilization opportunities
  2. Having a community-based knowledge broker provided more time for YorkU knowledge brokers to work on campus and resulted in the launch of on campus workshops which raised the capacity for researchers, students and research staff to engage in knowledge mobilization.
  3. Tracking and data sharing was refined as brokers from YorkU and United Way York Region were engaged in similar opportunities and needed to share data.
  4. With almost 2/3 of opportunities originating outside the university placing additional resources outside the university allowed for greater and more meaningful engagement with community leaders and organizations.

This paper also allowed us to explore issues related to power and to the formation of democratic partnerships. By creating collaborations that respond to the needs of community, building capacity for authentic participation in research and acknowledging the value of academic and community/practice based expertise the campus and community based knowledge brokers diffuse power and help collaborators to create new knowledge that is relevant to both community and academic partners.

Thanks so much to Jane Wedlock for her incredible role in our knowledge mobilization practice.

You can read all our peer reviewed publications posted in York’s institutional repository. And stay tuned to that space for our latest forthcoming article:

Phipps, D. J., Cummings, J. Pepler, D., Craig, W. and Cardinal, S. (2015). The co-produced pathway to impact describes knowledge mobilization processes. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, In press.