Way to go Environment Canada – who knew?

Remember when we told you how surprised we were to learn about the body of KMb related literature arising from the field of environmental policy?  No?  My how you forget!  What were you doing on July 13, 2009 (almost one year ago)?  Like other faithful readers of Mobilize This! You were likely reading our story on the work of Sarah Michaels where we reflected on the convergent evolution of knowledge brokering in environmental policy and in our practice at ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche.
Well, it’s happened again, and this time we didn’t have to go to Nebraska to find it.  We found the Science & Technology Liaison Division of Environment Canada in Burlington, in our own back yard.  York’s KMb Unit packed up and went on a road trip!  Despite the easy directions we still managed to get lost but thanks to Burlington/Hamilton native Michael Johnny we found our way to meet with the S&T Liaison Branch who have been pioneers in knowledge transfer/knowledge brokering since 2002.
The S&T Division is housed at the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), part of Environment Canada’s Water Science and Technology Directorate (WSTD) which is Canada’s largest freshwater research facility. “Environment Canada’s S&T Liaison Division is a knowledge translation and knowledge brokering unit.  S&T Liaison focuses on customizing and targeting science knowledge to the user audience to help improve uptake and utility, and on the development of mechanisms for sustained interaction between science and policy/program.  This focus ensures not only the push of knowledge to the correct science user, but also allows the user to inform the research agenda (policy pull).”
This philosophy will sound familiar to loyal readers of Mobilize This!  But wait, there’s more.
“Close engagement between researchers and research users, from the planning phase through to the communication of research, is essential if research is intended to inform policy making and regulation.”
It’s like we’re KMb twins separated at birth.
From a series of Science-Policy workshops starting in 2002 to an expertise database to a series of S&T into Action stories to RSS feeds of the latest Environment Canada research and knowledge products the S&T Liaison Division is using similar tools as ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche to achieve similar goals.  And we share another feature in common.  The leads at S&T Liaison Division, Alex Bielak and York’s KMb Unit, David Phipps have both told their stories on Peter Levesque’s KMb Blog.  You can also read more about Alex in “It’s My Day”, Canada’s Public Service eMagazine.
To paraphrase their own work, Alex and his colleagues help tell the story of how Environment Canada’s research generates tangible environmental, social and economic benefits.  Their research impact[1] studies demonstrate how science & technology influences the environmental decision-making process by supporting regulations, guidelines, strategies, policies, programs and management decisions.
Stay tuned to Mobilize This! for more stories as we explore collaborations between Environment Canada’s S&T Liaison Division and ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche.
Way to go Environment Canada.  Who knew we’d find this gem in our own back yard?

[1] see, they even use our name, but we’ve agreed to waive royalties for their use of our trademark