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.


Welcome University of New Brunswick / L’Université du Nouveau-Brunswick parmi nous

On April 8, 2015 the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) Executive Leads committee made a conditional acceptance to the University of New Brunswick to become the 12th RIR university. On August 24, 2015, those conditions were met and we were pleased to welcome UNB as our newest RIR member.

Le 8 avril 2015, le comité directeur du RéseauImpactRecherche-ResearchImpact (RIR) avait accepté, moyennant certaines conditions, que l’Université du Nouveau-Brunswick devienne le 12e membre du réseau. Le 24 août 2015, les conditions étaient remplies, et c’est avec plaisir que le RIR accueille aujourd’hui son tout nouveau membre.

UNB logo

UNB has a long tradition of supporting knowledge mobilization. UNB leads the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network (NBSPRN) which supports evidence-based public policy by bridging the gap between those making decisions, those conducting research, non-governmental organizations and New Brunswick citizens. NBSPRN envisions a New Brunswick that is a leader in evidence-based public policy development through Networked Governance. NBSPRN achieves this mission through knowledge mobilization connecting UNB researchers with public policy stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

UNB also leads the Pond Deshpande Centre, a catalyst to grow and support a stronger culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the province of New Brunswick. It seeks to ensure that New Brunswick communities are the location of choice for aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs because they are start-up friendly and our post-secondary institutions have best in class entrepreneurship programming. Part of their work includes connecting UNB researchers and students to the social innovation and entrepreneurship community in New Brunswick.

Both NBSPRN and the Pond Deshpande Centre build on a track record of engaged scholarship and community engagement at UNB.

David Burns

David Burns

“UNB is delighted to join ResearchImpact”, says David Burns, VP Research for UNB. “We have already established our knowledge mobilization practices on campus by leading a number of entrepreneurship initiatives such as the NB Social Policy Research Network and the Pond Deshpande Centre which are helping us connect our campus to innovation and entrepreneurship across New Brunswick. We look forward to learning from the diverse knowledge mobilization practices of the ResearchImpact members across Canada and sharing our work here in New Brunswick.

UNB is an important university for RIR. UNB and the Harris Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland are two of Atlantic Canada’s leading knowledge mobilization universities. This is as much a wonderful opportunity for RIR as it is for UNB.

RIR welcomed Nick Scott (Managing Director, NBSPRN) as RIR Director for UNB and Sasha McEachern-Caputo (Research Coordinator, NBSPRN) as RIR Knowledge Broker for UNB at our annual RIR meeting in St. John’s on September 10-11.

Wisdom About Community Campus Collaborations From Those Who Live Them / Sagesse des intervenants dans les collaborations entre l’université et la communauté

In one week I facilitated workshops on supporting awesome community campus collaborations with two very different non-academic audiences. The similarities are interesting, the differences intriguing. The method was fantastic.

Dans la même semaine, j’ai animé des ateliers sur les moyens de produire de remarquables collaborations entre l’université et la communauté, auprès de deux publics non universitaires très différents. Les ressemblances sont intéressantes, les différences, fascinantes. La méthode est tout simplement fantastique.

Lee Rose at CUExpo 2015The method doesn’t have a name, but I call it the CKX (Community Knowledge Exchange) method because that’s where I first participated in it. The CKX method has no power point slides. It has no “expert”. The facilitator engages participants in a 60 minute process to draw wisdom from the room. For 20 minutes participants pair off an interview each other with three pre-set questions. For the next 20 minutes pairs gather in groups of 4-6 and answer three questions:

  1.  Based on what you’ve learned in your 1-on-1 conversation, what are the 1-3 key ingredients for awesome community campus collaborations?
  2. If you had three wishes for what could be changed to engage in awesome community campus collaborations, what would they be?
  3. From this experience, what 1-3 actions could you or will you take to create a future in which enables awesome community campus collaborations?

Then there is a 20 minute report back collecting the key ingredients, the wishes and the actions. And there’s your wisdom. From the room. Not from a presumed “expert” but from participants reporting on their own experiences. See the discussion guide for this workshop- Community Campus Collaboration CKX Discussion Guide, April 2015

The cool thing is you can replace “community campus collaborations” for pretty much any subject and draw the expertise and wisdom from the room, so long as the participants have experience in the area. This is not a space for novices seeking to learn, but a space for practitioners seeking to share their expertise.

I used this method with the United Way Centraide Canada conference (May 21, 2015 in Saskatoon) where I co-facilitated with Janice Chu, Director of Community Investment, United Way Toronto and York Region. We did the workshop after making a 60 minute presentation on our eight year knowledge mobilization collaboration.

I also used this method at the C2UExpo (May 27, 2015 in Ottawa) where I co-facilitated with Lee Rose, CKX Sherpa for Community Foundations Canada. Their responses to the three questions are below:

Question United Way Centraide Canada C2UExpo
Key Ingredients Local representation from community and industry Authentic relationships (x2)
Not just about research Good communication (x2)
Relationships can’t be too rigid Transparency and trust (x2)
Capacity and commitment of all partners Shared vision (x2)
Shared/common vision (x7) Issues identified by community
Engage the students
Money and resources
Connection to UW campaign
Strong relationships at multiple levels
Tangible, relevant, applicable research
Presentation of research results in useful manner
Open and trusting relationships
Wishes Funding to implement the research findings (x2) Have authentic partnerships
Openness Make results accessible (x2)
Help to find out who’s who on campus i.e. a KMb function (x6) Research questions set by community (x4)
Paid resource, not off the side of our desks Clear and transparent communication
More common, accessible language (x2) Collaboration instead of competition
Researchers knowledgeable about their community More time for research and collaboration
Organic relationships Time and money to implement research findings (x2)
Champions who understand our culture Reward the time and efforts of community partners
Culture shift to recognize the importance of evidence informed decisions
Actions National research collaboration focused on poverty Engage more and better
Invite university to community tables Create a community collaboration incubation space
Build stronger relationships on campus Meet with partners regularly
Start conversations to get to know researchers
Strategic use of UW volunteers who are campus members
Create easy access to research outcomes as data/stories for donors
MOU with clear intentions

Some common observations, but nothing surprising:

Relationships: Combined there were 12 references to relationships. It is clear that if we are to support successful community campus collaborations we must pay attention to the authenticity of relationships and balance power, resources and different forms of knowing.

Shared vision: Combined there were nine references to a shared vision as an important pre-requisite to awesome community campus collaborations.

Communications: Combined there were eight references to effective communications including making the results of research accessible to end users.

Some interesting differences:

Only C2UExpo participants identified community as the source of research topics/questions. This is a given in community based research. The more “institutional” United Ways have a predefined set of research priorities so may have already determined the relevant research questions, although UW participants did identify tangible, relevant and applicable research as a key ingredient.

Only UW participants identified a knowledge mobilization function as either a wish or a key ingredient. This might be because their more institutional perspective can imagine such a function – indeed United Way York Region had Jane Wedlock, Community Engagement and Research Manager who was the community based knowledge broker partnered with York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit. For more on this knowledge mobilization collaboration please see a paper we recently published.

One suggestion I found particularly compelling came from the United Way group, “Strategic use of UW volunteers who are campus members”. All our campuses run UW fund raising campaigns. All our campuses have UW volunteers (I am one!). Creating an on campus voice of UW volunteers is an interesting approach to creating more community campus conversations.

And finally, a note on the action desired by a C2UExpo participant: Create a community collaboration incubation space. A number of the ResearchImpact universities have such spaces including 1125@Carleton, Station 20 West (Saskatoon), 10 Carden St, (Guelph) and the Community Engagement Centre (Toronto).

There’s a whole lot of wisdom about community campus collaborations coming from the professionals and practitioners who are actively engaged in the work. Who needs an “expert” to make a presentation?  All you need is a facilitator and a great group of participants.


A Stranger in a (Not So) Strange Land / Étranger en terre (pas si) étrangère

In June 2015 I attended the Research Impact Assessment intensive course hosted by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Being a knowledge mobilization professional with little formal experience in evaluation I expected to feel like a fish out of water. Instead it was like discovering a home I never knew I had. Even down to the same furniture, except that same furniture was arranged slightly differently.

En juin 2015, j’ai assisté au cours intensif sur l’évaluation de l’impact de la recherche proposé par l’organisme de solutions en santé Alberta Innovates Health Solutions. Professionnel de la mobilisation des connaissances, mais peu rodé à l’évaluation, je m’attendais à patauger un peu. En fait, je me suis senti chez moi, comme si j’avais vécu là toute ma vie. Même les meubles étaient familiers, quoique disposés un peu différemment.

Banff 2015

Banff, Alberta. Such a beautiful setting to relax in before taking a four day deep dive into the minutiae of health research impact assessment (RIA). Because I have little formal experience in evaluation this intensive course was perfect, albeit a little daunting (ok…a lot daunting). After spending the weekend in Banff with my husband I sent him home and logged onto the course site to review materials. Included in the materials was a very detailed RIA planning tool. The tool walked you through purpose, goals, stakeholders, activities, indicators, communications, budget….all the things you need to do in order to plan your RIA. But wait…. purpose, goals, stakeholders, activities, indicators, communications, budget are all the things you need to also develop your KT plan. I have frequently used Melanie Barwick’s KT Planning Tool to support researchers and their partners planning for KT. More recently Anneliese Poetz (Manager, KT Core for NeuroDevNet) and I have adapted this tool and combined it with project management activities to create a hybrid KT planning and project management tool. So when I saw the similarities between RIA planning and KT planning I knew I would have a very interesting four days.

Throughout those four days I was struck by the similarities between KT planning and planning for RIA.

  • In the words of Kathryn Graham, Executive Director, Performance Management & Evaluation, AIHS, “the independent variable is KT, while the dependent variable is impact”. I actually had no idea this means that if research impact is “what” (or the effect) we are trying to accomplish then KT is “how” we will accomplish this, something I wrote in 2009.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: engaging stakeholders at the beginning and throughout is key to KT and RIA planning
  • Both RIA and KT planning should be guided by a theory of change / logic model / framework
  • That theory of change / logic model / framework will inform the indicators to be collected at each stage of the plan
  • Communicating impact ≠ KT. For more on this see a paper I published with Melanie Barwick
  • Need to balance the gold standard of what is possible given unlimited resources with what is possible to actually accomplish within the time and budget allowed.

However, here’s the thing that I never appreciated. Jonathan Grant, Professor, The Policy Institute at King’s College London, stated that evaluation needs to move more to the demand side, prospectively planning for impact. This got me thinking about the relationship between KT/KMb and RIA. KT planning happens at the beginning of a research project. RIA tends to happen at the end (ex post evaluation) but evaluators prefer to be brought in at the beginning (ex ante evaluation) so they can help plan for purpose, goals, stakeholders, activities, indicators, communications, budget.

Since KT planning happens at the front end and we consider purpose, goals, stakeholders, activities, indicators, communications, budget it occurs to me that KT planning is ex ante research impact assessment.

This is a very interesting hypothesis and likely requires unpacking and some debate before we make this conclusion; however, the similarity of planning tools, the similarity of aspects of each plan and the ideal of ex ante evaluation creates a compelling hypothesis. One thing I do know is that the more I work with Kathryn Graham the more I realize that we have complementary expertise to bring to a project. We look at a project through a similar lens but with different perspectives. If we were decorating the same room we would use the same furniture but arrange it slightly differently.

What Data Are the Right Data to Show That Public Research Works?

This article was written by Jane Barratt, Chair of the NCE Monitoring Committee, speaking about the need to move investments in research beyond academic impacts to supporting sustained economic, social and environmental benefits. To do this the NCEs will need to evaluate using methods “beyond traditional indicators such as patents, start-ups and publications”. This article is relevant for organizations seeking to support KT/KMb and the impacts of researcher. It was first posted by Re$earch Money on July 13, 2015 and is reproduced here with permission.

Research Money logoCanada is known worldwide as an innovative and thoughtful nation when it comes to studying public health interventions and their impact on current and future generations. The growing prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have a major impact on individuals and families, as well as our increasingly constrained health and social systems. Climate change is another issue that has captured the attention of governments and globally concerned citizens of all ages.

Establishing a connection, let alone a clear cause-effect relationship, between research and success in addressing emerging public health and environmental issues changes is difficult—but it is not insurmountable. Measuring economic, community and societal impact first requires a deep understanding of challenges that inevitably span several sectors and disciplines. It also requires appropriate and effective measures of success over both the short and long term

Accountability for federal (public) investments in research is essential to demonstrating effective economic policy and societal impact. It requires translating outcomes and outputs of research into meaningful messages and actions for multiple and linked stakeholder groups. It’s about maximizing impact vertically as well as horizontally.

Sometimes the impacts are obvious: new drug interventions, technological applications or products can be life-saving and profitable. In other cases, it can take several years, or even generations, to see the full social impact.

The Networks of Centres of Excellence have been living this reality for over 25 years. The NCEs support socially relevant research that will have long-term sustainable impacts. In short, we want to ensure that one of Canada’s most important research programs will result in all citizens leading healthier, happier and more prosperous lives.

Examples of “classic” NCEs include the Canadian Stroke Network, which introduced the ground breaking Canadian Stroke Strategy in 2006, putting state-of-the-art treatment protocols in the hands of health professionals across the country. Another NCE, ArcticNet, has developed impact assessments, adaption strategies and other tools that empower northern communities to promote health and sustainability. A Knowledge Mobilization NCE, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence network) produces science-based resources for schools, parents and organizations like the Canadian Red Cross and Scouts Canada.
Our goal is to understand grassroots impact. How many lives have been saved through the Canadian Stroke Strategy and how much has it reduced healthcare costs? Are the tools developed by ArcticNet being adapted and adopted by other like-communities; and if so, what measurable difference are they making to the lives of people in those communities? Are children less likely to be subject to bullying or act as bullies themselves through the interventions of education?


In Canada and around the world, demand is growing for more accountability and proof of impact from publicly funded research. The NCE uses a variety of formal monitoring, reporting and evaluation tools to measure the relevance and performance of its various programs. A major new initiative was taken in 2011 with the formation of the NCE Monitoring Committee, which I have had the honour of chairing since its inception.

The committee was formed in response to a recommendation by an International Advisory Committee to shorten the funding cycles for NCEs (from 7 to 5 years) and to evaluate each network annually. This review uses data already captured in the networks’ regular annual reporting to the NCE, and allows for much faster assessment of impact. It also reduces each network’s administrative burden by eliminating mid-term reviews that can take up to a year to prepare.

The annual review allows networks to draw on the extensive experience of committee members—many of whom have successfully managed large research networks—to improve their governance, management, end-user engagement, priority setting, project selection, integration of trainees, intellectual property policies and other practices. The committee has brought a new level of rigour to evaluating the knowledge translation plans and the engagement strategies of each network to demonstrate value-added impacts.

The next step is to improve how we measure success, and this starts with measuring the right things. Over the past 26 years, 90 networks and centres have been funded and these entities have been influential in training more than 45,000 people—arguably Canada’s most valuable natural resource—and creating nearly 1,100 companies (143 spinoffs, 943 start-ups). What we don’t know is how many of those trained people have remained in Canada, how many companies continue to thrive and, if so, what have been the measurable social and economic impacts?

Increasingly, research funders are expanding beyond traditional indicators such as patents, start-ups and publications. While these indicators are important, they fail to help us understand the medium- to long-term impacts on society, the economy, human health and the environment.

The NCE and its networks are embarking on an ambitious project to develop improved indicators that capture the social innovation that is happening as a result of its programs. We hope to introduce these new indicators for the next NCE competition in 2019.

Thinking needs to begin now on what we want future networks to look like and what we want them to accomplish. Improving accountability is continually on our radar but, as part of that, we need to raise the profile of the NCE among the general public who pay for this research and will be its ultimate beneficiaries.

NCE networks are envied internationally for their success in bringing together all stakeholders—including world-class researchers, students, industry, policymakers and end-users—to address some of the most pressing issues of our time. These are issues that matter to Canadians today and for generations to come.

This is our responsibility and also our challenge.

Jane Barratt chairs the NCE Monitoring Committee and is the Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing.

Online Recruitment for Research Study on Knowledge Mobilization

Monica Batac, a graduate student, at Ryerson University is recruiting participants for a Q-study to assess priority competencies and skills for knowledge mobilization. Ryerson University’s Research Ethics Board has approved this study.

Diverse participants from academic and non-academic organizations are invited to complete the survey. Potential participants include knowledge mobilization researchers, knowledge brokers, intermediaries, and practitioners.

For more information, please visit the research study page here: http://flashq.rcc.ryerson.ca/mbatac/

The survey will close on Monday, July 27th, 2015.

Please direct any questions about the study to monica.batac@ryerson.ca

Preserving the Past / Préserver le passé

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.

Preserving the past at UVic

Historic charge books are returned to police headquarters after being digitized at UVic

19th century police charge books offer rare glimpse into Victoria’s past.

Imagine a world where you could be criminally charged for merely looking suspicious, or speeding down the road on a horse. This was reality for Victorians living in the 1870s. Thanks to a unique collaboration between the University of Victoria, the Victoria Genealogical Society and the Victoria Police Historical Society, these historical accounts of local law enforcement are being preserved for future generations.

Partnering to preserve a piece of the city’s history, five 19th century charge books from the Victoria Police Department were loaned to the University of Victoria Library’s digitization unit. There, over 2,000 handwritten entries in the charge books were digitized and archived, many of which contain detailed, first-hand accounts of what life was like in Victoria nearly 150 years ago.

Through proper documentation and preservation, these entries will help us gain insight into an important chapter in Victoria’s history.

For more information, click here.

We Know So Much

Tabitha McGowan was the poet in residence at the UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2015 in at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Inspired by the 500 years history of the building and its library as well as some helpful hints from Google on the practice of medicine over the years, Tabitha listened for two days and presented this poem at the wrap up of the Forum. We are pleased to publish this poem with her permission. 

Tabitha McGowan était poète en résidence au Royal College of Physicians d’Édimbourg pendant le Forum sur la mobilisation des connaissances du Royaume-Uni de 2015. Inspirée par les 500 ans d’histoire de l’édifice et de sa bibliothèque, et par un coup de pouce de Google sur la pratique de la médecine au fil du temps, Tabitha a tendu l’oreille pendant deux jours. Lors de la clôture du Forum, elle a présenté ce poème, que nous publions ici avec sa permission.   


Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh

Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh

All Knowledge is Mobile: Royal College of Physicians, 2015

Tabitha McGowan 


We know so much.

We know that miasma makes malaria,

That plagues are a punishment,

That an ill-humoured gentleman may be cured of his affliction by application of leeches and letting of blood,

And women should be watched for signs of Too Much Knowing as there is a fine line between learning and devilment.

So if in doubt, incinerate.

We know that we know as much as there is to know.


We know so much.

We know that pustulent matter can prevent the pox,

That all cures can be found between alcohol and opium,

That scurvy can be broadsided by ingestion of limes,

And that knowledge should be captured and kept safe from the grasping hands of The Wrong Sort.

So if in doubt, isolate.

We know that there are others who know things we know to be false.

But we know that we know as much as we can know.


We know so much.

We know that Knowledge is best owned and maintained by bewhiskered white men, for the good of the benighted masses,

That we can sanitise the human race,

That cocaine will cure your baby’s toothache,

And that hysteria can be fixed with good vibrations.

But if in doubt, incarcerate.

Now we know that we know more than we knew.


We know so much.

We know that the mind can be unwrapped and mapped and if antibiotics can fix the physical, lobotomies can fix the mental,

That as one disease is dealt with another will take its place,

That there is a need for breeding to weed out the weak,

And if in doubt, eliminate.

We know we should know better.


We know so little.

But we know that facts can act as traps for the mind,

That what we know today can be blown away with tomorrow’s news.

Today we sit under the gaze of the thinkers of their age, each convinced of the rightness of his universe,

Even as it shifted beneath his feet.

But if we know we know a little, each of us can throw our tiny fragments of imperfect wisdom into the crucible.

And if in doubt, collaborate.

We know the way.


About Tabitha

Tabitha McGowan is a writer of dark romantic fiction. She lives in the north east of England with a long-suffering husband and a surprisingly tolerant teenage daughter, as well as a small menagerie that currently includes three dogs, four cats, two ferrets, and a rabbit that’s allergic to being a rabbit. She has written professionally since graduating from university with a degree in Theatre Studies, and has worked as a scriptwriter for a theatre company, a writer-in-residence for the National Railway Museum and a copywriter.  She’s also a qualified teacher, and sings in a folk/acoustic band when not hunched, cursing loudly, over her laptop keyboard with a quadruple gin and tonic at her side.  Her hobbies include fire-breathing (yes, really…), and being a feminazi intent on destroying civilisation as we know it.

Her first novel, The Tied Man, was released in January 2013, and has been delighting/shocking/sickening readers (usually at the same time) ever since; she’s now working on ‘Unbound’, a sequel to The Tied Man, as well as planning the adventures – romantic and otherwise –  of the rather beautiful Immanuil and Tolly from her short story, ‘Healing’.

She can regularly be found on Facebook and Twitter (@Tabitha_McGowan), usually procrastinating wildly and providing links to cats doing amusing things, and blogs about her writing on Goodreads.



Knowledge Mobilization Summer Institute, August 17-19, 2015

What is the KMb Summer Institute?
Three days of learning and skill development in the field of knowledge mobilization.  Hands-on workshops and networking with professionals will provide a unique opportunity for early career  KMb individuals to develop a solid foundation of understanding of the key principles of KMb, collaboration, stakeholder engagement, and evaluation.

Who should attend? 
Early career professionals working in the area of Knowledge Mobilization or Knowledge Translation and Transfer; this includes researchers, knowledge brokers, research facilitators, and graduate students.  Participants will come from a broad cross-section of organizations such as universities, not-for-profit organizations, research institutions, government agencies, National Centres of Excellence, and industry.

Where will the KMb Summer Institute take place?
In 2015, we are pleased to offer this institute at the University of Guelph in Ontario (approximately 1 hour west of Toronto).  Accommodations will be available on campus or at nearby hotels and food will be provided by the award-winning U of G Food Services.

Cost: $400 + HST = $452.00

Includes three days of:

  • instruction from leading Knowledge Mobilization practitioners and scholars
  • support materials
  • expert keynote speaker
  • dinner on Tuesday evening
  • breakfast
  • break snacks
  • lunch

Monday, August 17, 2015 at 8:45 EDT to Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 16:00 EDT

University of Guelph
50 Stone Rd E,
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1

For more information and to register, visit http://conta.cc/1IoumDH

Two York Research Administrators Receive National Awards

Congratulations to David Phipps (RIR-York) on receiving the Research Management Excellence Award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA). This story was first published on YFile on May 26, 2015 and is reposted here with permission. 

David Phipps and Angela Zeno

David Phipps and Angela Zeno

The Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) has recognized the accomplishments of two of York’s senior research administrators with national awards. Angela Zeno, manager, research accounting, received the Community Builder Award. David Phipps, executive director, research & innovation services, received the Research Management Excellence Award.

The Community Builder Award is presented to a passionate leader in the CARA community whose efforts have strengthened the community through membership engagement efforts, welcoming and facilitating the integration of newcomers or other forms of leadership specifically advantageous to helping members connect to the broader CARA community. An advocate of CARA, Zeno regularly attends meetings and conferences, both regionally and nationally. She was responsible for the development and delivery of the Research Accounting workshop at CARA National for many years and is currently a key part of a team focused on revamping the finance workshops for CARA into a case-based, full-day workshop.

According to her nominators, Zeno has dedicated her efforts and those of her team to the implementation of “best practices” in post-award research administration at York University. “Within the Canadian research administration community, York is held in high esteem due to their work in this area,” says Trudy Pound-Curtis, AVP finance and CFO. “ I am very proud of Angela and her significant contribution to research grant administration in Canada.”

The Research Management Excellence Award is presented to an exceptional research manager who has made outstanding contributions to the profession, both nationally and internationally, through innovation, creativity, hard work and dedication. Phipps is being recognized for his leadership in two emerging areas of research management: knowledge mobilization that seeks to maximize impacts of research beyond the academy; and implementation of Canada’s controlled goods legislation that implements security assessments to safeguard controlled goods and/or technologies within Canada.

“David’s work across Canada in these two distinct areas has helped to increase York’s international recognition for innovation in research services,” says Robert Haché, vice-president research and innovation. “David is most deserving of this award from Canada’s research administration community.”

The awards were presented at a special celebration on May 25 at the CARA 2015 Annual Conference in Toronto. Haché was also featured on the conference’s opening panel discussing the topic “The Future of Research in Canada.” He spoke about the importance of investing in basic research that deepens our understanding of people and the world around us, as well as investing in knowledge mobilization, entrepreneurship and industry liaison to help maximize the social, economic and environmental impacts of university research.

CARA is a national voice for research administrators in Canada. With almost 1,000 members, the professional organization’s strength is in its diversity and comprehensive approach to research administration. CARA provides a critical interface between all stakeholders in the management of the research enterprise.

First Knowledge Synthesis Grants Workshop, May 2015

On May 5, 2015 SSHRC hosted a meeting of knowledge synthesis grant recipients. Knowledge synthesis grants fund researchers and their teams to assesses and communicate the state of the art of knowledge on particular topics of relevance to public policy. Holding a meeting of researchers isn’t new for SSHRC. What is different is SSHRC invited participants from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to begin the process of knowledge mobilization even before the knowledge synthesis had begun. Welcome to the world of knowledge brokering, SSHRC. The ResearchImpact network is here to help support your connections between knowledge production and its use.




On May 5, 2015, SSHRC hosted the start-up workshop for the first in a series of Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions linked to the Imagining Canada’s Future initiative.

The Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions on future challenges areas are key to SSHRC achieving the broader goals of the Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. This initiative seeks to position the social sciences and humanities as essential in addressing complex societal challenges facing Canadians, to the greater benefit of Canada and the world.

The day-long workshop focused on the future challenge area “What new ways of learning, particularly in higher education, will Canadians need to thrive in an evolving society and labour market?

The event brought together 60 participants, including the 20 Knowledge Synthesis Grant award holders; representatives from government, industry, academia, not-for-profit and community sectors; and SSHRC staff. The funded projects span the scope of themes identified in the funding opportunity description.

Project overviews addressed topics ranging from experiential learning and the needs of Aboriginal learners, to digital literacy skills, STEM curriculum and the development of soft skills, among others.

Workshop discussions focussed on a number of themes, including emerging trends and implications for policy and teaching, among other areas. An intersectoral panel shed light on research, training and labour market needs, with panelists including Marie Audette, president, Canadian Association for Graduate Studies; John Baker, president and CEO, Desire2Learn and member of SSHRC’s governing council; Don Klinger, president, Canadian Society for the Study of Education; and Jonathan Will, director general of economic policy at Employment and Social Development Canada.

One researcher summed up the event this way:

“The opportunity to collaborate, exchange and build on knowledge with colleagues from across the country allows for richer analysis for our own initiatives and opportunities for future partnerships within and across sectors.”

Knowledge Synthesis Grant award holders will submit their final reports in October 2015. All participants will be invited to SSHRC’s next annual Imagining Canada’s Future Forum, November 16, 2015. There, they will present results and continue to engage with representatives from various sectors.

SSHRC will, over the next three years, hold five more Knowledge Synthesis Grants competitions related to the five other future challenge areas.

The next call for proposals will be launched in early June 2015 and will address the challenge area “What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?

Subventions de synthèse des connaissances : premier atelier tenu en mai 2015

Le 5 mai 2015, le CRSH organisait une rencontre pour les lauréats de ses subventions de synthèse des connaissances. Ces subventions permettent aux chercheurs et à leurs équipes de faire le point sur les connaissances dans certains domaines précis qui intéressent les politiques publiques, et de les diffuser. L’organisation d’une réunion de chercheurs n’est rien de nouveau pour le CRSH. Ce qui l’est, c’est l’intégration de participants issus du secteur public, du secteur privé et d’organismes à but non lucratif, dans le but de lancer le processus de mobilisation des connaissances avant même que la synthèse soit amorcée. Bienvenue dans le monde du courtage de connaissances, CRSH! Le Réseau Impact Recherche est là pour vous aider à renforcer vos liens avec la production du savoir comme avec ses usages.




Le 5 mai 2015, le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines (CRSH) a accueilli l’atelier de démarrage organisé dans la foulée du premier d’une série de concours visant l’attribution de subventions de synthèse des connaissances liées à l’initiative Imaginer l’avenir du Canada.

Ces concours, qui portent sur les domaines des défis de demain, revêtent une importance considérable pour l’atteinte des grands objectifs que le CRSH s’est fixés dans le cadre de l’initiative Imaginer l’avenir du Canada. Cette initiative fait ressortir le rôle crucial qu’ont à jouer les sciences humaines pour aider les Canadiens à relever les défis sociétaux complexes auxquels ils font face, et ce, d’une manière qui soit la plus avantageuse possible pour le Canada et le reste du monde.

L’atelier d’une journée avait trait au défi de demain suivant : « quelles sont les nouvelles méthodes d’apprentissage dont les Canadiens auront besoin, en particulier dans l’enseignement supérieur, pour réussir dans la société et sur le marché du travail de demain? »

En tout, 60 personnes ont participé à l’atelier, notamment les détenteurs des subventions de synthèse des connaissances, des représentants du gouvernement, de l’industrie, du monde universitaire, du secteur sans but lucratif et du milieu communautaire, ainsi que des membres du personnel du CRSH. Les 20 projets financés traitent de thèmes figurant dans la description de l’occasion de financement.

Ces projets, qui ont été présentés dans leurs grandes lignes, portent sur un vaste éventail de sujets allant de l’apprentissage par l’expérience et des besoins des apprenants autochtones à la culture numérique, aux programmes d’études en sciences, technologie, génie et mathématiques (STGM) et à l’acquisition de compétences non techniques, entre autres.

Au cours de l’atelier, divers thèmes ont été abordés, dont les nouvelles tendances et leurs répercussions sur les politiques et l’enseignement. Un débat d’experts intersectoriel a permis de cerner les besoins en matière de recherche et de formation découlant des besoins du marché du travail. Y ont notamment participé Marie Audette, présidente, Association canadienne pour les études supérieures; John Baker, président et directeur général, Desire2Learn et membre du conseil d’administration du CRSH; Don Klinger, président, Société canadienne pour l’étude de l’éducation; Jonathan Will, directeur général, Direction de la politique économique, Emploi et Développement social Canada.

Un chercheur a résumé l’atelier de la façon suivante :

« En collaborant et en échangeant avec des collègues des quatre coins du pays, et en tirant parti de leurs connaissances, nous pouvons arriver à une analyse plus complète de nos propres initiatives et mieux apprécier les occasions de partenariat qui existent dans notre secteur et au-delà. »

Les détenteurs des subventions de synthèse des connaissances remettront leur rapport final en octobre 2015. Ils seront tous invités au prochain forum annuel Imaginer l’avenir du Canada organisé par le CRSH le 16 novembre 2015. Ils y présenteront leurs résultats et pourront, là aussi, échanger avec des représentants de divers secteurs.

Au cours des trois prochaines années, le CRSH organisera cinq autres concours visant l’attribution de subventions de synthèse des connaissances, lesquels porteront sur les cinq autres domaines des défis de demain.

Le prochain appel à propositions sera lancé au début de juin 2015 et portera sur le défi suivant : « quels effets la quête de ressources naturelles et d’énergie aura-t-elle sur la société canadienne et la place qu’occupe le Canada à l’échelle mondiale? »

Students Serving / Servir les étudiants

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.

Our Place volunteers

UVic students preparing and serving food during an Our Place breakfast

UVic business students help Our Place serve Victoria’s most vulnerable.

It isn’t easy serving over 1,200 meals per day on a tight budget. This is the dilemma that the Our Place Society finds itself in as it reaches out to Victoria’s most vulnerable.

This fall, Our Place contacted UVic for assistance and RPKM connected them with Heather Ranson, Associate Teaching Professor at the Gustavson School of Business and Associate Director at UVic’s Centre for Social & Sustainable Innovation (CSSI). Ranson’s service management students were ready and eager to help Our Place make the most of its resources. Using skills and training acquired during their education at UVic, these students examined different areas of the Our Place experience and formulated reports on how these areas could be improved.

“The students were very professional,” says Le-Ann Dolan, Director of Operations at Our Place. “Actually, they came in to sponsor and serve a breakfast themselves and got first-hand experience with the work we do before they began their research. We’ve never had that happen before.”

“The reports are fantastic,” adds Dolan. “Some of the report is so valuable we’ve applied for a summer student to come work at Our Place and implement some of these changes.”

For more information on the Our Place Society, click here.

For more information on the CSSI, click here.

This post was first published on March 13, 2015 on the University of Victoria’s Community Current blog.