Planning for an institutional research impact office

Recently some members of the US network Advancing Research Impact in Society were asking about resources for starting an institutional Broader Impacts office. Since Research Impact Canada is focused on institutional aspects of research impact I took the opportunity to respond highlighting some RIC members’ experiences planning for their own research impact office. Below is the text of the e mail I sent to ARIS members. 


Hi ARIS colleagues, 

Research Impact Canada is a sister network to ARIS and we collaborate on a number of opportunities. The major difference between the two networks is that RIC only has 17 institutional members. Our focus is on building the institutional capacity to support research impact in all its forms and methodologies. Most of don’t have a formal BI office but BI is part of many different roles such as research grants administrators, community/public engagement, librarians, research communicators, undergrad and grad experiential education. However, some do have a formal office supporting this work and their resources might be of interest. 


  • U. Saskatchewan host a pan-Canadian water research program with a strong knowledge mobilization (=BI) focus. It’s not an institutional strategy but most of the elements of BI for an institution are found in this strategy. Their website presents their KMb strategy and white paper. 
  • UNB hosts the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network which has a knowledge mobilization plan as part of their service offerings. Not an institutional BI strategy per se but nonetheless useful. 
  • Our first international member, U. Brighton, has their Research & Enterprise strategy linked to their website. It’s not just BI but impact is an important element 
  • While not (yet) a member of Research Impact Canada, the University of Auckland has recently launched their impact web site which includes links to impact tools. They have an institutional impact strategy linked to their website but they aren’t making it public as it asks for permissions. 
  • And finally working at the systems level Research Impact Canada has a Strategic and Operational Plan (2017-2020). It’s not what you are looking for in terms of a BI office plan but nonetheless illustrates what we are doing to support BI offices across Canada. Our last annual report is attached. 


At York University our BI office is a Knowledge Mobilization Unit which is part of Innovation York in my office which also hosts industry liaison, commercialization and entrepreneurship. We don’t have a dedicated plan for the KMb Unit as it is part of our University Academic Plan and our institutional Strategic Research Plan. We opened the KMb Unit in 2006, were fully funded by the institution in 2009 and have two full time staff who are supported by three students. The services offered by the KMb Unit are at the link above. I have attached the last annual report.