another funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

By David Phipps (RIR-York)funny-thing-happened-on-way-to-forum

On June 3, 2013 I posted a “A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum” in honour of the farcical play (and movie by that same title) and Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum 2013 (#CKF13) in marvelous Mississauga. That meeting marked the first time all 10 ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) universities got together.

We got together again in October and again in April to finalize our Strategic Plan. Our meeting on June 8 in sassy Saskatoon in advance of #CKF14 marks the third meeting in 9 months and is the culmination of much planning.

  • Finalize Strategic Plan
  • Review Operational Plan draft
  • Operationalize the finalized communications plan
  • Start talking about the Evaluation Plan

Lots of planning. Lots of activity. Lots of mobilizing going on!

This year has seen a wonderful new energy from all RIR universities. Whether contributing to blogs, supporting events, drafting and supporting plans all RIR universities have stepped into active roles. And it is GREAT.

We’ve seen some old friends leave (miss you Steve Dooley) and some step away to start a family (miss you Shawna) and some new friends join us (Tara Tedesco, Arthur Fallick, James Popham, Aubert Landry – welcome all).

We are all looking forward to (re)connecting on Saturday for dinner. The energy will build Sunday during our RIR meeting and we will all peak on Monday and Tuesday for #CKF14. To see why we’re all excited to attend check out the amazing KMb talent on the program.

rir-logos-grouped

Post Cards from Congress – Day 7

ResearchImpact booth

ResearchImpact booth

Krista Jensen, RIR-York

Until next time!

It’s been another great Congress! Here’s what happened this year:

  • Over the 7 days we had more than 170 conversations with researchers from 30 plus universities and 6 community organizations
  • I had 2 great breakfast conversations about knowledge mobilization with community engaged researchers from RIR member universities Carleton and University of Saskatchewan
  • I made  good progress on the sock I am currently knitting and had 7 conversations with other knitters. Like knowledge mobilizers, knitters love to talk to each other about what they are working on and the different methods they use
  •  I had a great time exploring Brock’s campus and the surrounding area. Even though I have seen Niagara Falls many times before, it’s a site that always impresses me

Thanks to the Federation and Brock University for another great Congress!

Picture of knitted sock

Påske Sock #2

Post Cards from Congress – Day 6

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Krista Jensen, RIR-York

How things have changed…

The first Congress I attended was in 2008 at the University of British Columbia. I spent a few days at the ResearchImpact booth talking to people about the work we do. Back then, I spent a lot of time talking about what knowledge mobilization was. People weren’t familiar with the term and were often confused by it. Usually after sharing a story or two about a research project that used knowledge mobilization they would understand.

This time around, I have spent a lot less time explaining what knowledge mobilization and more time talking about how we do knowledge mobilization. I’ve been getting the sense that researchers I’ve been talking to here at Congress get the concept of knowledge mobilization and are actively engaged in it.

And it hasn’t just been researchers from only certain disciplines; I’ve talked to people in Geography, Communications and Culture, Women’s Studies, Political Science and more. I’ve also talked to a lot more community based researchers than I have at other academic conferences.

It has been a great to see a shift in the conversation and to have substantial discussions about different knowledge mobilization activities and methods with researchers from across Canada.

Post Cards from Congress – Day 5

Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake

View of Lake Ontario from Niagara-on-the-Lake

Krista Jensen, RIR-York

What are the chances?

On Wednesday morning at breakfast, I grabbed the first seat I could find at a table where five people were chatting with each other.  Unlike my fellow York KMb colleagues, Michael and David, I am decidedly not a morning person and don’t have a lot to say before I have some coffee, so I was concentrating on my breakfast when I suddenly heard, “I think Yaffle is the best example of that”. For readers who may not know, Yaffle is an online platform that connects innovators in Newfoundland and Labrador with knowledge and expertise at Memorial University and is a tool used by RIR members The Harris Centre.

It turns out the topic of their conversation was the development a database to help match up researchers and community partners for collaborative research projects. I talked to them about our brokering activities at York and how we mainly rely on our networks to identify possible partnerships.

But this question of using a database to identify potential research partners came up a few more times during the day. I was asked by a few visitors to our booth if we use a database in our brokering activities. This got me thinking about the value of using this type of tool for research collaborations.

Besides the usual technical complications of developing and maintaining this type of database, I wonder about its role in identifying and supporting research partnerships- Would it replace face-to-face brokering? Would it compliment it? Would it just be a starting place for the partnership or could you potentially establish a “virtual” partnership, say on a global research project?

Not sure I have the answers to these questions. I would be interested in hearing other people’s views on the subject. Does anyone have any experience using databases for knowledge brokering? How does it fit in with face-to-face brokering?

Post Cards from Congress – Day 4

Michael Johnny, RIR – York

ResearchImpact is ubiquitous.

This is my 8th Congress, working the ResearchImpact/ReseauImpactRecherche (RIR) booth. I am confident that our national network is beginning to be seen as national leaders in knowledge mobilization. The last year has been a very positive one for our network, but an important part of emerging leadership is being visible, being ubiquitous.

The first time this term was by the CEO of the United Way York Region. I had shown up for two consecutive evening community consultation meetings UWYR had hosted, the second night with colleagues. The comment went something like this, when we walked in that evening: “My God, you guys are ubiquitous”. Of course, I had heard of the word but did not fully understand the meaning. It was stated in a sincere and appreciative tone.

Dictionary.com provides this definition for ubiquitous: “existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent”. It’s an appropriate word for ResearchImpact. We seek to engage ourselves in places which can help educate and inform, connect and collaborate, and engage. Congress is an ideal location for our network to exhibit. We have helped promote examples – across the country – of how knowledge mobilization at universities in Canada can provide effective service support for faculty, graduate students and non-academic leaders in community, industry, government and the public. As a network of 10 universities, we are providing comprehensive services in the context of our institutions and surrounding communities.

I’m not sure if I will be at Congress for eight more years, but I am confident RIR will. While I have no plans to leave, I am seeing a growing core of skilled professional knowledge brokers who can capably provide this service (but I do hope I can attend for 8 more years, I love it!!).Image

Post Cards from Congress – Day 3

Michael Johnny, RIR – York

Connections. They are always central to effective KMb, but I noticed today especially how important connections are – to build, maintain and support. Let’s examine some highlights of my day:

- A friend and former colleague of mine from my years working in Aboriginal literacy showed up, and in addition to the personal and professional gossip and catch up, we talked business. Her work as a Publishing Manager for a provincial Aboriginal literacy organization has created a new opportunity to leverage York KMb capacity to support a business venture.

- Our booth is conveniently close to Mitacs. This proximity is helping build relationships with key staff, but more importantly, to explore and expand thinking around a proposed collaboration…stay tuned for details later this summer!

- New this year at the RIR booth is a daily project poster display. Utilizing projects across the RIR network, today’s poster focused on a collaborative project on improving math for young children. The project was between Laurier researchers, Ontario Early Years Centres and Libraries of Wellington County. The impact story resonated with a parent, coincidentally from that part of Ontario, and she will be seeking a connection with Laurier’s broker to follow up and learn more.

- Lastly, I took some time to meet with a faculty member at U Manitoba who was signing new copies of her recent book. We attended the same graduate program at Trent. There’s no deep message here; just that you should always make the time to maintain connections that matter.

Of course, the day brought its usual inquiries – 38 visits to the RIR booth, representing 15 unique institutions and, again, a few non-academic organizations. One simply never knows whether any of these 38 visits will result in something. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but a connection made provides an incredible opportunity. I would not have guessed a connection I made in 1994 would play so prominently in my current work in 2014!

Post Cards from Congress – Day 2

David Phipps, RIR-York

The power of wine.

That’s what we were thinking as the President’s reception started at 5 pm. There were two changes for Day 2 at Congress. The book fair where we are exhibiting was shifted 2 hours being open 10am-7pm. This allowed for the second change with the President’s Reception being held in the book fair. The reception area was packed with people coming for the food, the wine, the exchange of ideas and to check out all the booths in the book fair including our booth.

Day 1 we had 21 meaningful conversations at the booth. Day 2 this shot to 50 conversations from 26 universities including 2 from the US. We had 30 conversations from 10am-5pm (4.3/hour) and 20 conversations from 5am-7pm (10/hour). Lesson Learned: wine and food bring people round to chat about knowledge mobilization and the impacts of research which mirrors our experience with serving a hot breakfast for morning events.

We had two decision maker organizations visit, Treasury Board Secretariat and London Catholic School Board, and both were interested in connecting to a researcher. This is a difference from other years where decision maker organizations were either not attending Congress or not coming to the booth. It is great to talk to faculty and students and nice to now have that interest complemented by potential research partners.

The day 2 RIR impact story we exhibited was from University of Saskatchewan. Nazeem Muhajarine and his partners from the City of Saskatoon showed how collaborative research can inform decisions about the built environment and healthy kids. Great example of how collaboration supports research having an impact on the lives of citizens.

And the quote of the day from a research at a Toronto university, “I wish you were at my university. You guys are, like…wow!”

Thank you. We aspire to be, like….wow.

St. Catharines-20140525-00435

Post Cards from Congress – Day 1

David Phipps, RIR-York

Welcome to Congress 2014 hosted at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario. It is the university’s 50th anniversary and the 83rd year for Congress.Congress 2014 day 1

David Phipps and Michael Johnny (RIR-York) are hosting the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche booth. This year the booth is featuring posters of RIR projects that have had an impact on the lives of children and youth. A new university project will be featured everyday using the posters that were produced for the Social Innovation event held on Parliament Hill, February 24, 2014.

Today we had 21 meaningful conversations at the booth with researchers from Brock, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, University of Victoria, McGill University, McMaster University, Waterloo University, University of Toronto and the University of Saskatchewan. This year the topic of conversation was mostly about impact. Other years the conversation was about knowledge mobilization but this year it appears that many nod in understanding about knowledge mobilization and the new conversation is the relationship between knowledge mobilization and research impact.

And that’s why we exhibit at Congress.

We also had a chat with someone from York Region District School Board who has asked to be connected to researchers looking at policies that direct students to choose college or university for their post-secondary choice.

And that’s also why we exhibit at Congress, to find new opportunities to connect decision makers to research and expertise.

Great first day.

Spring Travel 2014 and the Need for a Shared Calendar / Printemps 2014 : événements, déplacements… et calendrier commun

David Phipps, RIR-YorkPicture of globe, plane and suitcase

This spring Canada is hosting a number of key knowledge mobilization and related events….but can we please speak to each other so this confluence of riches doesn’t happen next year

Ce printemps, de nombreuses rencontres importantes pour la mobilisation des connaissances ont lieu un peu partout au Canada… On devrait discuter de planification, pour éviter que ce carambolage d’occasions se reproduise l’an prochain!

Below are 9 events happening across Canada, all with amazing content all featuring amazing people and all in the same 4 weeks:

CUVIC 2014 – Victoria, BC, May 20-22; Beyond Engagement: Creating Integration, Innovation and Impact; a conference on scholarship and practice of community engaged scholarship, Hosted by Institute for Studies and Innovation in Community University Engagement (ISICUE); RIR-UVic will be playing a key role as will RIR-UGuelph colleagues at ICES and Community Based Research Canada.

Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities - Brock University, St Catherine’s, ON, May 24-30; “Unrivaled in scope and impact, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the convergence of over 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella.  Now in its 83rd year, this flagship event is much more than Canada’s largest gathering of scholars across disciplines. Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.”; RIR always hosts a booth in the book fair and is a very visible example of Canadian knowledge mobilization.

Social Innovation Exchange Summer School - Vancouver, BC, May 27-29; How can we increase our impact – Shifting cultures, changing systems and preparing for surprise? A global event where some leading social innovation practitioners come to Canada to explore the intersection of the various meanings of culture and social innovation. RIR-York is sponsoring and David Phipps is on a panel on institutional change.

Social Frontiers - Vancouver, BC, May 30; “The next edge of social innovation research”; this is the research day accompanying the SIX Summer School. It will feature about 60 social innovation researchers mainly from Canada but with some global leading talent. RIR York is sponsoring and Robert Haché, Vice President Research & Innovation, is introducing one of the key note speakers.

Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER) - Brock University, St. Catherine’s, ON, May 28-30;  “ANSER brings together leading academic researchers, practitioners, consultants, policymakers and community organizations from Canada and internationally to discuss current and emergent issues, debates and challenges in the fields of civil society, social economy, and nonprofit research and practice. Join us for what promises to be an engaging and provocative conference. The theme for the seventh conference at Brock is: Nonprofits and the Social Economy, Pursuing Borders without Boundaries.”  Would love to be there but RIR doesn’t have any presence due to the competing priorities.

CACSL - Ottawa, ON, May 28-30; “As a pan-Canadian community service-learning conference and Volunteer Center Leadership Forum combined, the conference’s vision is to facilitate comprehensive, cross-sector partnerships between post-secondary institutions, volunteer centres, and community based organizations” Lead by colleagues from CFICE with friends from RIR-Carleton; RIR-York Michael Johnny will be on a panel.

Pause for 6 days….ahhhh….

Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum - Saskatoon, SK, June 9-10; This is the big event in knowledge mobilization in Canada. All RIR universities will be represented, we are sponsors of the event and are having a dedicated RIR meeting on June 8.

3rd Annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education - Lowell, Massachusetts, June 10-12; OK…it’s not Canadian but “This inspired gathering of higher education practitioners, academics and faculty focuses on engaging participants in an examination and discussion of emerging strategies and practices that encourage innovative and entrepreneurial education, campus culture and community/business engagement.” RIR-York David Phipps is on a panel with colleagues from the Pond Desphande Centre (UNB) and McConnell Family Foundation speaking about campuses and social innovation.

Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (CAURA) – Ottawa, ON, June 14-16; RIR has been participating in his annual conference since 2006. There is always increasing interest in knowledge mobilization as a service to researchers and their partners.  All RIR universities are present but often represented by research administrators and not necessarily knowledge brokers.

Amazing content, amazing people, a chance to create a national buzz in the field of knowledge mobilization and related concepts…but REALLY….does it all have to be packed in 4 weeks???? Next year you can add CUExpo 2015 to the mix. Thanks to our RIR colleagues at Carleton for hosting May 25-29, 2015…if you’re holding a conference next Spring 2015 please check your dates and consider something in the fall…please!