ResearchImpact is pleased to welcome this contribution from our KMb colleagues at OMAFRA and University of Guelph. UGeulph and OMAFRA are collaborating on a program of knowledge translation and transfer (KTT). This work complements the work of the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship who are part of the ResearchImpact network. This piece first appeared in the OMAFRA-University of Guelph Research Yearbook. Thanks to Guelph for permission to re-post this piece authored by Alycia Moore. To all our friends in Guelph – welcome to Mobilize this!
The University of Guelph has a long history of working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the forefront of research and agricultural knowledge extension.
“It’s essential to get this research out to where it’s most useful,” says Bronwynne Wilton, who along with Evelyn Allen, joined the OMAFRA-U of G Partnership management group this year as knowledge mobilization program managers, popularly called “knowledge brokers.” In these roles, they manage Agri-Food and Rural Link, a hub for knowledge translation and transfer at the university.
One of their key responsibilities is matching the appropriate researchers with stakeholders who can use research results. That service is just one example of a wide range of knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) activities that accelerate the transfer of knowledge into use.
KTT, an important component of the partnership, also emphasizes the importance of demand-driven research, in what OMAFRA research analyst Elin Gwyn describes as a “push-pull knowledge exchange.” Stakeholders’ needs determine the research that needs to be done, while researchers disseminate the information using a variety of unique communication channels.
OMAFRA research analyst Duff MacKinnon says stakeholder engagement is essential for effective KTT program formation. “That includes setting research priorities and incorporating user involvement throughout the entire research process,” he says.
One of Agri-Food and Rural Link’s main programs is a call for project proposals for new KTT initiatives. This program is expected to lead to increased collaboration and communication between researchers, industry and the wider community, as they use KTT principles to reach out to audiences through established knowledge transfer methods as well as in innovative and unexpected ways.
The call is open to all OMAFRA and University of Guelph staff and faculty members, although collaboration with other universities, industry groups and businesses is encouraged. There will be calls for proposals three times this year.
“The Agri-Food and Rural Link program will improve the accessibility of research knowledge outside the traditional academic community,” says Wilton.