RIC’s Future Skills Team reports back on the 8th Annual ARIS Summit

The 8th annual ARIS (Advancing Research Impact in Society) Summit was held virtually, April 28-30, 2020 and RIC’s Future Skills Team was thrilled to attend the conference. This year’s Summit explored the multiple layers of connections that are associated with broader impacts. Topics included science communication, partnerships, public engagement, and more.


We virtually attended a great presentation by Michael Johnny, Manager of KMb York. Michael spoke about building knowledge mobilization capacity at York University through the Mobilize YU course. We learned about the evaluation results from the course, as well as long-term plans to scale this program for broader and bigger audiences.


David Phipps, RIC Network Director, led an informative workshop discussing key KMb tools and concepts and introduced participants to the Institutional Impact Health Workbook (co-authored with Julie Bayley, University of Lincoln, U.K., from Emerald Publishing). Participants worked through the Workbook inventories of five key elements (Commitment, Connectivity, Co-production, Competencies and Clarity) and discussed distinctions between assessment-driven vs. mission-driven impact measurements. As well, we were able to learn about different public engagement initiatives such as Northwestern University’s model program for senior citizen-centred STEM outreach.


The Summit ended with an inspiring lecture from Kelvin K. Droegemeier, Interim Director, National Science Foundation; Director, White House of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Droegemeier led a discussion on the broader impacts coming out of COVID-19. This crisis is bringing us together in ways we haven’t prioritized before. We left his talk thinking about broader impacts at the institutional level.


Overall, it was a great summit. In particular, the facilitators greatly streamlined the virtual summit experience, from going over technology/Zoom “how to’s” and encouraging different ways to engage. We give kudos to the ARIS Summit organizing team that they were able to facilitate engaging discussions and breakout “virtual” workshops.