Research Impact Canada Annual Meeting – What Are We Saying About Ourselves? / Rencontre annuelle du Réseau Impact Recherche Canada – que disons-nous de nous-mêmes ?

Once each year in September the Research Impact Canada (RIC) members get together to review the previous year and plan for the next year(s). It is a chance to renew existing and forge new relationships. It is also a chance to take the pulse of the Network.

Chaque année, en septembre, les membres du Réseau Impact Recherche Canada (RIRC) se réunissent pour faire un retour sur l’année écoulée et planifier les suivantes. C’est l’occasion de renouveler les relations existantes et d’en tisser de nouvelles. C’est le moment aussi de prendre le pouls du Réseau.

Picture this: September 12-14, 2017. Vancouver, British Columbia. 24 research impact practitioners from 15 universities. We welcomed University of Alberta, University of Winnipeg and Dalhousie University to their first RIC annual meeting. We worked hard and dreamed big. We worked on effective management today. We dreamed about where we want to grow:

  • Hiring a set of helping hands as the day to day work is becoming too much for even an enthusiastic group of volunteers
  • Planning and advocacy to reinforce our national voice
  • Going Global: connecting to international experiences of research impact, demonstrating Canada’s leadership

RIC AGM dinner group photo

Thanks to Moura Quayle (UBC) and Cathy Edwards (Carleton) who facilitated us through some human centred design processes where the group determines the agenda and drives the success. This was not a routine agenda style meeting. We had to – sometimes with angst – give in to and trust the process.

Moura and Cathy started off the meeting with an activity that asked everyone to write down the first thing that comes to mind when we think about RIC. These first thoughts are below and are an unfiltered snapshot of what RIC members are thinking about RIC. These first thoughts show an almost universal recognition of the support that RIC members, often solo practitioners in their institutions, find by interacting with their peers.

  • Enthusiasm
  • Passion
  • Local to global
  • Collaboration for change
  • Partnerships
  • Community
  • Safe and mutually beneficial partnership
  • Great potential
  • Colleagues to collaboration
  • Support and fun
  • Trying to find focus
  • Network of networks
  • New and helpful
  • Light in the dark
  • Connection and fun
  • Work and support
  • Sharing for common good
  • New frontier for universities
  • Responsibility
  • Connection
  • Shared experience
  • Knowledge for the common good
  • Uncertainty

Because of the number of universities and the human centred design processes this RIC annual meeting felt like a meeting of very diverse but complementary minds. We are thinking of how to create benefits on our campuses, but we are also thinking about the national – and now international – perspectives.

We also discovered possibly lost siblings as Moura Quayle (UBC) and David Phipps (York) worked together to keep the momentum.

Moura and David

Next year York University will host the 2019 RIC annual meeting in Toronto as we prepare to pass the leadership to a new Lead Institution who will take up the reins on July 1, 2020.