Post Cards from Congress – Day 3

The benefit of being at Congress, aside from the rich conversations about knowledge mobilization which we’re fortunate to engage in, is the chance to attend some interesting and informative lectures and talks.  Today, Michael Johnny was able to attend the Big Thinking Speaker Series talk by His Excellency, Governor General David Johnston on the topic of Innovation and Learning.

The Governor General of Canada; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

The Governor General of Canada; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston

I have had the pleasure of listening to His Excellence speak in the past and he is a very dynamic and inspirational speaker.  It was a pleasure to hear him graciously acknowledge the leadership of Dr. Chad Gaffield, one of Canada’s leading historians and thinkers, who helped contribute to his talk today.  Dr. Gaffield is also the former President of The Federation of the Social Sciences and Humanities; the group which facilitates Congress each spring.

His Excellence wove in the dichotomy of teaching and research as part of learning and there was a significant focus on Neurodevelopmental advancements in Canada (which will be of interest to our NCE friends at NeuroDevNet).

Most notably, I’d like to focus on three points he made in closing, his call to action:

1. Take advantage of new technologies to speak past jargon and language barriers across disciplines – Aside from the fact this ‘translation’ work is central to a knowledge broker, it is important to acknowledge the powerful tool which Memorial University knowledge mobilization utilize within the Harris Centre. is a great resource to support collaboration across geographic, discipline and sectoral boundaries.  Brokers at Memorial help support the two-way exchange process but with a robust technological tool in place, brokers are well positioned to use technology effectively in support of making research relevant to society.

2. Let’s gather around knowledge – creating a diplomacy of knowledge – in knowledge mobilization circles, a field which is relatively new and not always intuitive, we are now able to meet annually to learn, share and debate around our work.  The Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum is important learning space and while it creates a diplomacy of knowledge, it is more around knowledge mobilization.  Still, it is safe to say that knowledge brokers understand the need to meet and interact.

3. Finally, let’s take the best of other disciplines and apply them to our own thinking – this is another area in which we’re advancing our practices and thinking of our work.  Whether it is disciplines like education, health, agriculture or any others, knowledge brokers are assembling communities of practice to share good (and bad) practices.  Further, we look across geographical boundaries to inform our work.  Canadian knowledge brokers are connected to networks in the UK, Europe, Africa and the United States.  This global network helps ensure that innovation supports our learning.

And that is a good place to close.  Knowledge brokers are doing very well in incorporating innovation in our learning.  Reflecting on the messages of His Excellency are very affirming around our direction in knowledge mobilization in Canada.

Post Cards from Congress – Day 2

Today was a day of international connections at the ResearchImpact booth. We met a group funded by the European Union that networks university researchers around knowledge exchange activities. Many of these activities are in KESS Seminars or supporting students working on knowledge exchange projects.

We also had a very engaging conversation with the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Their Humanities Division has a particular interest in knowledge utilization. From their website: “To strengthen this development it is important that humanities researchers participate in and help to shape the debate about societal, cultural and scientific developments. Furthermore, researchers should actively engage in discussions with parties that use humanities research.”

On their website are stories of best practices and a manual titled “Knowledge Utilization in the Humanities” giving practical advice for humanities researchers seeking to engage their scholarship beyond the academy.

It was exciting to have two conversations about international knowledge mobilization activities on the same day at Congress 2016.

Day 3 will have some big KMboots to fill.

Krista Jensen (York U) at the RIR Booth, Congress 2015

Krista Jensen (York U) at the RIR Booth, Congress 2015

Post Card From Congress – Day 1

It’s Opening Day of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities here at University of Ottawa but for the KMb Unit crew from York it is Day 6 of a 12 day conference marathon.  Following the successes of the CARA and C2U Expo were settled in for a week of networking, engagement and conversation about KMb across Canada

We set up our booth Friday afternoon, right after the C2U Expo was completed.   Ottawa is a wonderful location to meet and network with national organizations, fellow exhibitors who we now consider friends and new leaders in KMb and Engaged Scholarship.

For ResearchImpact this is our 8th Congress now.  We are pleased to share both introductory information about our network and services along with more sophisticated messages like published papers and stories of success throughout the network.

Drop by for a visit.  It promises to be an interesting week and we’re excited for its potential.

Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization, York Unviersity

Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization, York University

Mobilizing Hope / Mobiliser l’espoir

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.

linked hands showing collaboration

Research searches for improved ways to reintegrate youth in custody back into society.

Sometimes one mistake can throw your entire life off track. For youth in custody, the challenge of recovering and moving forward is especially difficult. To help BC youth transition from custody back into their communities, Dr. Anne Marshall and a team at UVic’s Centre for Youth and Society (CYS) recently completed a study that explored the question: “What do youth identify as being most important to their past youth justice system success and re-integration?”

This is one of 250 research questions that community agencies, scholars, and BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) agree are vital to the well-being of our province’s youth and families. Assembled in MCFD’s Shared Research Agenda, some of these questions are being explored as joint initiatives between UVic and MCFD.

Building on previous research with the Victoria Youth Custody Centre, Dr. Marshall and her team interviewed both youth and custody professionals to explore supports and barriers to successful transitions.

The team’s findings were presented to MCFD executives and staff across BC in November 2014, underscoring the importance of transition plans that incorporate these youths’ own goals, capacities, and supportive community connections.

For more CYS research, click here.

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

CARA-ACAAR Webinar – Enhancing Research Impact / Webinaire CARA-ACAAR – Renforcer l’impact de la recherche

Alison Ariss of the University of British Columbia (UBC) led a recent webinar for research administrators.  Covering the topic of research impact, she shared insights from a pilot project at UBC on this topic.

Alison Ariss de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique (UBC) a dirigé récemment un webinaire destiné aux administrateurs de recherche. Elle y a fait connaître les enseignements à tirer d’un projet pilote qui s’est déroulé à l’UBC et dont le sujet était l’impact de la recherche.

CARA logoOn April 13, CARA (Canadian Association of Research Administrators) hosted a webinar on Enhancing Research Impact.  This session was led by Alison Ariss, Associate Director, Research Development Officer, Office of the VP Research and International at the University of British Columbia.  This session was open to CARA members and York KMb hosted and had 10 research administrative staff in attendance.  The objective of the session was to create more of a clear and common understanding of what is meant by this term and to explore how research administrators working with researchers can enhance their capacity to build greater impact into projects.  Alison also shared tools that research administrators can use that will support what is impact and what is not?

The session was informed by a case study at UBC, their Research Metrics and Impact project.  Alison made many clear points, sharing what impacts are not when focusing on the inputs and outputs of a research project.  For example, funding and infrastructure (inputs) along with publications and bibliometrics (outputs) are not impacts.  Having an understanding of what is not considered ‘impact’ is very important.

Alison also shared examples of work taking place in other jurisdictions such as the UK.  One interesting point, which I feel has validity, is that the collection of impact data is its own research; to capture what a research team did and how it was helpful are important processes that have a foundation in research.  I would like to express thanks to Alison for her acknowledgement of the leadership of the ResearchImpact network and York University in exploring aspects of impact in research.   Sessions like this, which culminated with sharing of a two-page template which UBC has created that explores – who are you; affiliations; impact summary; funding sources; additional information; and, types of impact – provide additional information and resources for research administrators and knowledge brokers in helping support the increasingly important process of determining impact from publicly funded research.

Creating space for reflection and conversations around this topic are very important.  Thanks to CARA and to Alison for their time and for sharing her experiences and findings to date.  As Alison articulated, there are many challenges to measuring impact of research but along with that there is an increasing opportunity and growing responsibility.  Learning from good practices like this are important.  Creating the space to discuss this is essential.


The Advantages of Live Tweeting a Research Talk

This week’s guest post comes from Dr. Allison McDonald, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. This post first appeared on her DoctorAl blog on April 14, 2015 and is reposted here with permission.

twitter birdLast week the undergraduate and graduate students in our department delivered 15-20 minute research talks at our departmental colloquium. The person who administers our departmental Twitter account @LaurierBiology asked if I would live tweet the talks occurring on the second morning of the colloquium. I agreed and wasn’t sure how this experiment would turn out.

I was a relatively late adopter of Twitter. I’ve only had an account since December 2013 and while I post to Twitter @AEMcDonaldWLU regularly to advertise my blog posts I am certainly not using it to the full extent of the platform’s capabilities. I am slowly mastering the art of the hashtag. I went into the experience of live Tweeting fully expecting that I would be distracted and therefore wouldn’t take in most of the content of the talks.

You can therefore imagine my surprise at how helpful it was to live Tweet a research talk. It forced me to pay attention to the speaker and their content, but it also required me to synthesize and report the major points of their talk in a succinct manner. There is nothing like being limited to 140 characters to force you to be brief and to the point.

I can’t say that I will always live Tweet talks from now on, but I will certainly consider the idea moving forward. I used to assume that people who were using Twitter during research talks at conferences were being rude and not paying attention. Now I know that a fraction of those people are very actively engaged with the speaker, but in a non-traditional way.

Anyone else want to share their experiences with live Tweeting a research talk? Any other benefits or drawbacks that I’ve missed here?

A Driving Need / Un besoin très moteur

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.

Dr. Holly Tuokko

Dr. Holly Tuokko worked with the James Bay Community Project to identify better ways to recruit volunteer drivers

Study searching for ways to connect Victoria seniors with much-needed transport.

For seniors who are no longer able to drive, there remain few viable options for transportation. And while the James Bay Community Project (JBCP) is trying to help by offering free rides to important medical appointments, there currently aren’t enough volunteer drivers to meet the community’s high demand.

This issue is the driving force behind the partnership between the JBCP and UVic’s Centre on Aging (COAG).

Aiming to identify the best ways to recruit volunteer drivers, Dr. Holly Tuokko, professor of psychology at UVic, is working with the JBCP’s current volunteer drivers to explore what aspects of the experience they enjoy or find rewarding, as well as parts of the program that could be improved.

The JBCP is hoping to use the results of this study to better reflect incentives for joining in their recruitment strategies, and to improve the program itself.

Finding new ways to recruit volunteer drivers is a pursuit that goes beyond mere transportation. The study found that while volunteer drivers are a vital part of keeping Victoria seniors physically healthy, they also play an important role in maintaining our elders’ emotional well-being. “Sometimes these volunteers are the seniors’ only form of social contact,” says Dr. Vincenza Gruppuso, research coordinator at COAG. “They’re more than just drivers.”

Other organizations, such as Capital City Volunteers and Saanich Volunteer Services, have also taken an interest and contributed to the study, hoping to use the results to bolster their own volunteer recruitment.

For information on COAG’s research, click here.

Interested in volunteering for the JBCP? Click here.

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

A Baskin Robbins of Knowledge Brokers / Un éventail coloré de courtiers en connaissances

Coming back from the UK Knowledge Mobilization Forum David Phipps saw university and community and government knowledge brokers. Just like ordering ice cream at Baskin Robbins, the 31 flavours of ice cream illustrates there’s a broker for every type of knowledge use.

David Phipps est de retour du Forum sur la mobilisation des connaissances du Royaume-Uni, où il a croisé des courtiers de connaissances des milieux universitaires, communautaires et gouvernementaux. Comme au comptoir de crème glacée, les nombreux parfums montrent qu’il y a un courtier pour chaque type de besoin en connaissances.

BRThe knowledge mobilization functions at the 11 ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities take many organizational forms including: community based research, extension, community service learning, public engagement and research services. Each model responds to local opportunities and constraints and works well in its own context.  This is the same situation in the UK where I saw many different forms of knowledge brokers

And these were just some of the brokers with whom I connected.

This diversity is a strength in that other organizations have many models to examine as a starting point for their own knowledge mobilization activities. This diversity is also a weakness as it challenges drawing conclusions about effective knowledge mobilization practice. Reflecting on some work I did with colleagues from Argentina, Ghana and Vanuatu in 2012 we can’t draw conclusions about implementing specific practices because effective knowledge mobilization practice will be context dependent. However, we can identify principles common across different contexts including:

  • Build trust
  • Build capacity
  • Understand the social and economic contexts of your partners
  • Enable knowledge to be co-constructed
  • Use a mix of knowledge mobilization methodologies
  • Use peer supports

Although these principles make sense across different contexts (community based research, public engagement, extension, community service learning etc) they are implemented in a context specific fashion. For example, all our practices are built on trust but how we develop that trust will vary depending on the local context. I might spend lots of time serving on a community agency committee to build trust. I might also provide a robust literature review to a provincial policy maker to build trust in my expertise. Building trust is a principle that transcends contexts. How we build trust is a practice and is context dependent.

There may be 31-derful flavours of ice cream at Baskin Robbins but they are all ice cream. Similarly although practice details vary there are common principles for knowledge brokering across different contexts and employed across different organizational structures. This diversity is equally apparent in Canada and the UK and that itself is evidence of common principles applying across diverse knowledge mobilization practices. However, principles notwithstanding, if we can’t make conclusions about effective practice across different settings then how do we build capacity for knowledge mobilization?

C2U Expo 2015 Registration Now Open!

C2UExpo 2015 logoC2UExpo is a Canadian-led international conference designed to:

  • showcase best practices in community-campus partnerships worldwide;
  • create a space for collaboration around key issues; and
  • foster ideas for strengthening communities

Held every two years, the conference allows community members, universities, colleges, government, and non-profit organizations to create an innovative learning environment. Activities and sessions are diverse, ranging from workshops to art activities, deliberative dialogue to mobile tours, and everything in between.

This year’s conference will take place at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON from May 26 – 29, 2015. Befitting its location, the conference seeks to explore citizen solutions for a better world by delving into the array of policy work in areas such as health, environment, food security and employment.

Register at

Knowledge Mobilization Product Research / Recherche sur les résultats de la mobilisation des connaissances

Queen’s University student Amber Vance recently completed a three week placement at York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit where she researched knowledge translation products. Here are her reflections on the experience. 

Amber Vance, une étudiante de l’Université Queen’s, a fait récemment un stage de trois semaines à l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York, où elle a réalisé un travail de recherche sur les résultats de l’application des connaissances. Elle partage ici les réflexions que cette expérience lui a inspirées.

Amber VanceI believed I had a clear understanding of what the Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit at York University did prior to coming into this practicum. As it turns out, KMb is so much more then I could have imagined. Over the past 3 weeks I have learned a lot more then I anticipated.

My position with KMb had me researching KMb translation products from around the world.  I researched both KMb Units (like the one at York) and KMb partner organizations likely created with the help of KMb Units.   I was researching their products but while researching products I ended up learned abut brain research as well as bullying, politics, health and substance abuse, just to name a few.

I understood that KMb was important to research because it made research accessible. However I learned that KMb does more powerful then making research accessible, it’s KMb that implements changes for the better. The products they offer to support research and research mobilization are changing our world.

I now know that KMb in much bigger then I had realized and growing rapidly.  I am excited to see the level of sophistication and creativity that goes into the products being created.  I am happy to have played a role in the KMb Unit and I am eager to see the future products that come out of the KMb Unit here at York.

I have had an amazing time working with the team at York.  It is very clear that collaboration and teamwork is not just a strategy developed for the units knowledge brokering but something that they believe in and is at the heart of their unit. Thank you so much for taking me on and I hope to continue these new relationships we have built.

Amber Vance

Infographics for Knowledge Translation

This week’s guest post written by Issac Coplan, comes from the NeuroDevNet KT blog KT Core-ner. It was originally published on April 8, 2015 and is reposted here with permission.

The word infographic is an abbreviation of the term “Information Graphic”. Increasingly, these forms of data visualization have used in knowledge translation as a tool for disseminating research and sharing the findings of evaluations. The overall goal of NeuroDevNet’s KT Core is to influence policy and practice using network generated knowledge. Infographics provide a quick visual representation of the main messages in research. This makes them accessible to busy; decision makers/policy makers, practitioners, researchers, students, parents and families.

The rising application of infographics has been accompanied by conversations about incorporating visualization into post-secondary learning environments. Thompson (2015) discusses the concept of allowing students to create a ‘visual legacy’ through infographics. This meant bringing research projects to broader audiences by incorporating infographics.  Incorporating critical analysis of infographics also allows students to analyze the information that they are receiving, and practice creating a good visualization.

While infographics can be a persuasive tool, one of the overarching challenges of data visualization is the presentation both appealing and representative visualizations. This is the central argument that Tufte (2006) takes up in the book ‘Beautiful Evidence’. The opening pages quote famed Italian Astronomer/Physicist/Mathematician Galileo Galilei:

“What was observed by is the nature or matter of the Milky Way itself, which with the aid of the spyglass, may be observed so well that all the disputes that for so many generations have vexed philosophers are destroyed by visible certainty, and we are liberated from wordy arguments.”

demonstrating that while tools (like infographics) are new, debates around visualization are old and deeply rooted in scientific discussions. Tufte (2006) also argues that creating any good data visualization means paying attention to the quality of information and the accuracy of presentations:

“consumers of presentations should insist that presenters be held intellectually and ethically responsible for what they show and tell. Thus consuming a presentation is also an intellectual and a moral activity.”

It is this ethic that separates a good infographic, produced with attention to research, from an advertisement or infographic that is not based on research or accurate data.

NeuroDevNet has introduced a new KT product, infographics. Here is a quote from one of our researchers who recognizes the value of infographics for dissemination:

“Researchers generate knowledge, but it needs to inform to have impact. As research methods evolve, so do the ways of sharing information to others. Infographics represent a valuable way to do just that – to get main messages across in an accessible way to lay audiences. It’s a way to start a conversation, plant a seed, generate interest and bring people in to learn more.”

– Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Associate Professor, CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research

It is with this in mind that we began the process of creating the first infographic with NeuroDevNet Trainees Tamara Bodnar and Parker Holman. Tamara & Parker worked on a project where they introduced teachers to current scientific research that could be integrated into the  science curriculum. The project was delivered during a professional development day.

The following infographic was created using data collected to evaluate the  professional development day.

NDN Infographic

(Click on Infographic to open in a new window)

What did Tamara and Parker have to say?

“Infographics are a great way to present complicated data in a simplified way to disseminate a clear message about research; even for an activity as basic as our professional development day, infographics really help distill the main point of a project. The infographic really takes the burden of presenting our project to various audiences away from us, allowing the project to really speak for itself; the infographic is a nice, concise snapshot of our activities and response from stakeholders that is informative and easy to follow.”

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and would like to make an infographic, contact the KT Core!

By: Isaac Coplan, KT Coordinator, NeuroDevNet

Mobilizing Minds KM in the AM

York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit partnered with the Mobilizing Minds project team to deliver a KM in the AM event on March 4, 2015.  The project team were interested in meeting diverse stakeholders to share the results of their project, a KT project in support of youth mental health.

L’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York a formé un partenariat avec l’équipe du projet Mobilizing Minds et donné un atelier de MdC lors de l’évènement du même nom, le 4 mars 2015, en avant-midi. L’équipe cherchait à rencontrer différents intervenants afin de faire connaître les résultats de son projet – un transfert des connaissances visant à favoriser la santé mentale des jeunes.

Mobilizing Minds

As KM in the AM events go this one has really come full circle.  A gathering of about 60 people met at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) in Mirvish Village in Toronto.  The event, led by the Mobilizing Minds project and supported by York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, was intended to support the end of grant dissemination efforts of the Mobilizing Minds project which has been supported by a multi-year CIHR KT grant along with the important contributions of several partnering organizations.

Mobilizing Minds, also known as Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health, is a multi-year, multi-province knowledge mobilization research project that focuses on young adult mental health.  The project was not intended to conduct new research around youth mental health, but to assemble existing research and make it more accessible to youth, mental health consumers, professionals and policy makers in formats that are relevant to each audience group.

Mobilizing Minds KM in the AM John Eastwood

John Eastwood

The morning event at CSI brought together numerous project stakeholders to engage the audience and provide them an overview of the project, its objectives, activities, key findings and new knowledge products.  The presenters ranged from academic researchers, leading organizational partners, project staff and included youth who were actively engaged in the project over the years.  Those differing perspectives helped demonstrate the scope and complexity of the project as it spanned across the country and its very distinct audiences.

The event was over-subscribed which reflects the interest in the topic as well as the uniqueness of the project itself.   Audience members had several important practical questions about the utility of the research results and new knowledge products.  With a focus on engagement, the Mobilizing Minds team really embodied key principles of knowledge translation and there were several one on one conversations between team members and audience participants at the end.

So why do I feel this has come full circle?  I’ll share with you what I shared with the audience during my welcoming remarks that morning; our very first KM in the AM event took place in November 2006 in Aurora, Ontario and focused on Youth Mental Health.  It was at that meeting that the concept for a larger national KT project around youth mental health took shape.  While the project proposal was being considered by the faculty presenter, over the course of the morning it grew to something that was national in scope and the concept of Mobilizing Minds was born.  Also, that event helped spawn local engagement in York Region as presenters and audience members engaged as partners in the successful CIHR project.  Not a bad morning of work, I’d say.

And such was the energy on this March morning.  I look forward to following up with participants around this event.  Who knows, in 9 years we may have another knowledge mobilization success story to share!

For more information on the project, please check the following:

LinkedIn for Knowledge Translation: Using Groups for Networking

This week’s guest post written by Issac Coplan, comes from the NeuroDevNet KT blog KT Core-ner. It was originally published on March 6, 2015 and is reposted here with permission. 

LinkedIn logoNetworking is important to knowledge translation (KT), as relationships are a key part of KT processes. This is where social media can be useful in KT. Websites like LinkedIn provide a platform in which to expand your network and meaningfully engage with stakeholders. If used properly, social media can be incorporated into Integrated KT strategies as well as end-of-grant research dissemination.

What is LinkedIn?

In the Social Media for KT resource (What is social media & where to start) I wrote about LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is known to cater to professional audiences. They are also well designed so that search engines (such as Google and Bing) privilege information on their pages. This means that they will frequently be higher up when someone runs a web-search on your name (this process is also called search engine optimization).

LinkedIn was designed with the idea of allowing a place for professionals to connect online. It works as a sort of online resume or CV and online presence that can be populated with links, articles and posts. LinkedIn is not just about seeking employment, it can be an important tool to connect with a wide range of stakeholders. In April 2014, LinkedIn announced that it reached 300 million registered users, up from 200 million in 2013.

LinkedIn Groups

Screen with outlines of peopleOne thing that I should also mention is the power of LinkedIn groups to expand your professional network. In LinkedIn groups, people frequently post questions or scenarios to their group, this allows for a conversation to occur naturally.Research Impact used their LinkedIn group to pose questions to KT practitioners in order to differentiate between knowledge translation and communications.  Analysis from the responses to this question on LinkedIn led to a research paper.

Groups can easily be searched (this Boolean search Tip sheet from LinkedIn is helpful). This provides you with access to over 1.5 Million groups. The search feature easily shows you if any of your existing connections are in groups and the relative popularity. This can allow you to quickly determine the groups that are already relevant to your networks.

How can expanding your LinkedIn network help you with your KT?

There are several benefits of networking that include:

  • Gaining greater visibility in professional circles
  • Being able to contribute to online conversations in your field
  • Providing another place for audiences to discover and contact you

In addition, expanding your research teams’ networks can become a rich source for getting feedback on your work. Two ways that this can be achieved are through:

  1. Gathering feedback from stakeholders to inform your research questions and approach
  2. Evaluating the work you have already completed.

Instead of creating a LinkedIn group that we would have to recruit members for, the KT Core expands our networks (connections to our profile page) by targeting policymakers, practitioners and other researchers that may find NeuroDevNet’s research useful in their work and sending them an invitation to connect.

LinkedIn can also be a part of a strategy to evaluate KT Products. For the evaluation of ResearchSnapshots, the KT Core sent personal messages to selected members of our LinkedIn network.  We asked the same questions of stakeholders in: Cerebral Palsy, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and Autism Spectrum disorder and included a link to the ResearchSnapshots on our website for each of these major projects.  We wanted to answer questions like:

  • Do you find the snapshot a) interesting, b) useful, c) both useful and interesting? d) Neither useful nor interesting?
  • How have/would you use these ResearchSnapshot(s)?
  • If you would not use these ResearchSnapshot(s), why?

This provided the KT Core with valuable insight into the ways that different products are used, or could be used by different knowledge users.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee we can help you learn how to use LinkedIn for KT, or help you advance your existing social media strategy, contact the KT Core!

By: Isaac Coplan (KT Coordinator, NeuroDevNet KT Core)

New Student-Developed Board Game Bridging Academia With Practical World

This week’s post by Susan Hickman comes from Carleton Now, Carleton University’s monthly community magazine and is reposted here with permission. See the original post here.

Anthony Maki with the KMb board game

Carleton master’s student Anthony Maki is one of the creators of the KMb board game.(Susan Hickman Photo)

A game developed in a knowledge mobilization (KMb) class could become a real tool for bridging discussions and building partnerships with the next generation of knowledge brokers.

The students who developed the game were aiming to better inform themselves about the growing field of KMb when they took on the project for Geri Briggs, co-manager of Carleton’s Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) initiative.

Anthony Maki, Alex Maisonneuve, Elena Milicevic and Bojana Bogeljic, all master’s students in the Health: Science, Technology and Policy program, invented the initial board game last winter when they were required to choose a KMb technique for a final project.

The group set themselves up at the Ministry of Coffee on Elgin Street, installed the game-in-progress on a pedestal table and worked on refining the play.

“In research,” explains Maki, who completed his undergraduate degree in psychology, with a minor in neuroscience and mental health, “you often publish and then throw it on the shelf. It accumulates in the Ivory Tower and no one uses it. The underlying theme of this game is to build bridges from knowledge to actions and make players think outside the box. In developing the game, we got to work with people from psychology, biology, health sciences and sociology in a collaborative environment.”

Maki and Maisonneuve further refined the game over the summer and presented it at a KMb forum in Saskatoon in June.

The object of play is to dismantle the Ivory Tower (built out of Connex game pieces) by answering questions about KMb, uncover the knowledge hidden beneath and build a bridge across the board to an “action space” in the centre.

The game’s “action cards” move players forward or, perhaps, backwards on the board if it informs you that your research team failed to consult your community organization, for example. A “scenario card” might present you with a challenge to understand who the stakeholders are in a circumstance that requires mobilizing knowledge in a particular field.

Players can dismantle each other’s bridges to rebuild their opponents’ towers, but can also interact with each other, and contribute to the conversation, making it a shared learning experience.

Maki and Maisonneuve were hired last March by Briggs to work as research assistants for CFICE’s KMb research hub, which is co-led by the Canadian Alliance for Community-Service Learning. This hub – one of five in the CFICE project – focuses on improving the application and relevance of research in the social sciences and the humanities.

Cathy Edwards, research facilitator for institutional initiatives and an advisor to CFICE, finds the students’ board game project exciting.

“It brings together the heart of the Strategic Integrated Plan for the university,” says Edwards, who has been providing guidance and advice to the students regarding further development, management of intellectual property and a target audience.

“Community is the heart of the plan and this element is richly rooted in the three pillars of academia: teaching and learning, research and service. It requires and benefits from integration and co-operation between all aspects of the university itself.

“The game,” Edwards continues, “which started as a class assignment, exemplifies this in a tangible way.”

When Maki and Maisonneuve showed an interest in exploring the potential of what they helped create, Dinesh Kakadia, manager of industry partnership relations, came on board to work with the budding entrepreneurs.

“At the end of the day,” says Maki, “we created a physical product that has the potential to be beneficial to students, researchers, employers and employees. The best case scenario is the game gets commercialized and benefits people in their future career endeavours. While it is designed for newcomers to the knowledge mobilization field, it targets anybody who wants to enhance their organization and can be adapted to other disciplines.”

Quite serendipitously, the game has brought together aspects of the university community that traditionally would not have intersected.

“Because the program required a KMb component that was taught by one of the community leads on the CFICE project,” explains Edwards, “I was exposed to the game. This is the beauty of KMb. At its roots, it is about sharing and exchange of knowledge.”

Documentary to Give Voice to Key Players in Violence Against Women Movement

This week’s post from Maria McClintock comes from Carleton Now, Carleton University’s monthly community magazine and is reposted here with permission. See the original post here.

Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement

Eileen Morrow, Gloria Harris, Andree Cote – and the list goes on.

These women may not be household names, but when it comes to violence against women, they’re a few of the stalwarts who have worked tirelessly in communities across Ontario, making a difference within the shelter movement and battling policy-makers and governments, one issue at a time.

Now, a new documentary is in the works to showcase the stories of five Ontario activists and their work spanning more than three decades.

The project is the brainchild of Leighann Burns, executive director of Harmony House, and made possible through a partnership with the Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) program, which is co-managed by Carleton University and the Canadian Alliance for Community-Service Learning, with the support of a secretariat housed at the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation.

CFICE – made up of five issue-related hubs – is a seven-year, $2.5-million action research project that aims to strengthen Canadian non-profits, universities, colleges and funding agencies to build more successful, innovative, resilient and prosperous communities. The violence against women hub is co-led by Carleton Law Prof. Diana Majury and Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Elizabeth Fry Societies.

“They have been doing this work over a long period of time, over many changes in policy and many different governments … they were there doing the work at a time when you couldn’t even talk about violence against women, right through to it being on the front pages of the news every day,” Majury says about the activists being interviewed for the documentary.

“They are our sources of experience and knowledge on the issue. This is really exciting that we are going to have them on tape for now and for future generations. We’re hoping, ultimately, to be able to do this with women across Canada and then have some of the newer women working in the area comment and respond, and develop a bit of a dialogue between the generations of women working on this issue.”

While the documentary is in the development phase, Majury says it’s a timely project given the numerous stories in the media about sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“Right now, there is huge interest in this issue and huge interest in the question of why women don’t come forward with some of these issues. These are the women who understand the issues more than any of us because they have worked with the women for 30 years,” says Majury.

The violence against women hub has a steering committee made up of women from across Canada representing a number of organizations seeking to develop research partnerships with academics and community organizations.

“It’s rethinking where we are at, as a movement, across the country and how we can move these issues forward onto the policy agenda in an effective way,” Majury says of the hub’s overall goal.

The documentary will not only provide a historical record, but it will highlight what changes have been achieved, what those changes have meant and what the future holds.

If the recent cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault have shown anything, Majury says, it’s that women are still hesitant to come forward.

“It’s just so hard for women, still. In that way, the yardsticks have not changed. How could there be a stigma attached to being a victim of a crime? There is, hugely, and women are uncomfortable and afraid, still. So, on lots of levels the yardsticks haven’t changed.”

For Leighann Burns, the documentary is a critical tool to capture the knowledge of activists before they leave the movement.

“It was occurring to me that a lot of my allies are retiring or about to retire and leaving the movement and I know the wealth of information that they have in their heads,” explains Burns.

“As a sector, we haven’t been particularly good at documenting our history. We’ve been too damned busy making it,” she says.

Burns is working with a Toronto-based filmmaker on this project. Three interviews were completed in November and more are scheduled for December. It’s not yet known when the final product will be ready.

An example of a story likely to be told is about the impact that activists had when Ontario conservatives under Mike Harris released their 1995 “Framework for Action on the Prevention of Violence Against Women in Ontario,” also known as the “McGuire Report,” which was widely condemned by as a move to dismantle the shelter system within the province.

But Burns says the report was essentially shelved and a new strategy developed as a result of the network of those working in the shelter system.

“It very nearly became a reality if it weren’t for a couple of the women, involved in the film, who grabbed the report and threw it out into an audience of activists who distributed it all over the province. That plan came to a rapid halt as a result.

“That is an example of an action that two women took, on the spur of the moment, that literally saved the shelter movement in Ontario. So, we want to inspire that kind of thing … You can make a difference, your one seemingly small action can have a huge impact,” she says.

The documentary, she says, will serve as a tool for the new guard in the movement, and potentially for educators and policy-makers.

“It’s hard to map the future when you don’t remember the past – to have a record of what happened before … that we were here and that we did stuff and that it did matter, particularly at this time in history when things seem quite grim.

“All the national voices have been silenced through funding cuts and policy changes that have gutted them – it’s been hard to do the work.”

While there are times it seems as though progress has been slow, there has been action that benefits women, she says, and points to improvements within the justice system and how the police and Crown attorney handle these cases as an example.

“The big thing is to record, for posterity, that these women were here and made a difference, often in very difficult working circumstances and with little remuneration. It is my hope that people can learn lessons (from the documentary) and get up to speed faster, they don’t have to go through all the stuff we went through.

Burns says the CFICE partnership has opened the door to this and future collaborations.

“This project is providing resources and possibilities for those of us on the front lines to implement things we would like to do but don’t have the resources to do.

“It’s time in our evolution as a feminist anti-violence movement to formalize our relationships with academics in terms of documenting what we know about violence against women, but also partnering and doing more and better research that would be framed with a feminist lens.”