Mobilizing Knowledge… with Comic Books? / La mobalisation des connaissances … à l’aide de bandes dessinées?

Dale Anderson, RIR- UVic

There’s lots of ways to mobilize knowledge—open access publishing, briefing notes for policy makers, face-to-face meetings, KMb Expos—all these sound familiar. But have you ever thought of using comic books? One faculty member at the University of Victoria has.

Il y a plusieurs manières de mobiliser les connaissances. Les publications en libre accès, les notes d’information pour les décideurs, les réunions en face-à-face et les Expos-MdC sont des exemples familiers. Mais avez-vous déjà pensé à utiliser des bandes dessinées pour y arriver? Un professeur de l’Université de Victoria, lui, a eu cette idée.

There’s lots of ways to mobilize knowledge—open access publishing, briefing notes for policy makers, face-to-face meetings, KMb Expos—all these sound familiar. But have you ever thought of using comic books? One faculty member at the University of Victoria has. Neuroscientist Dr. E. Paul Zehr drew on the comic book saga of Batman three years ago to demonstrate that extreme and prolonged physical training can produce superheroes of us all. Now with his latest book, Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine, Zehr explores whether modern-day technology is up to the challenge of inventing a real-life Iron Man.

“Science is inching closer to a point where portions of an Iron Man suit could in fact be made and used,” says Zehr. “But what does connecting the body to this kind of technology actually do to the person inside the suit? What will it mean to blur the line between human and machine?”

His critically acclaimed first book, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, was released in 2008. Zehr’s new book is published by Johns Hopkins University Press and is available now.

Zehr, director of UVic’s Centre for Biomedical Research and a professor in the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at UVic’s School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education and in the Division of Medical Sciences, is a lead researcher at ICORD and a martial arts expert.

He attended the Comic Con International in San Diego in July 2011, and will be at the New York Comic-Con in mid-October. Comic-Con, a comic book and popular arts convention, frequently serves as the launching pad for upcoming movies and TV series. For more info, please visit: www.inventingironman.com.

Reaching Out on Climate Change: PICS Offers Online Climate Change Course / Tendre la main en matière de changements climatiques: PICS offre un cours en ligne sur les changements climatiques

Dale Anderson (RIR – University of Victoria)

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) recently announced the launch of an innovative series of online climate change short courses for civil servants and British Columbians. Throwing the old-fashioned textbook approach out the window, “Climate Insights 101” uses a combination of animation, interviews and click-thrus to engage people on the basic concepts and findings of climate science research.

Le Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) a récemment annoncé le lancement d’une série de brefs cours en ligne portant sur les changements climatiques. Innovante, cette série est conçue à l’attention des travailleurs du secteur public ainsi que des Britano-Colombiens. À mille lieues des traditionnels manuels, « Faits saillants sur le climat 101 » combine à la fois animation, interviews et annonces afin d’interagir avec les participants au sujet des concepts fondamentaux et des découvertes issus de la recherche en sciences du climat.

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) recently announced the launch of an innovative series of online climate change short courses for civil servants and British Columbians. Throwing the old-fashioned textbook approach out the window, “Climate Insights 101” uses a combination of animation, interviews and click-thrus to engage people on the basic concepts and findings of climate science research. The first of four planned modules in the series is available online at www.pics.uvic.ca/insights. These courses, targeted for civil servants but available to anyone online, are the first of their kind.

PICS Executive Director Dr. Tom Pedersen says the courses provide a vital bridge between the scientific community and BC’s 26,000 civil servants who help inform and shape the province’s policies and planning. “People who don’t work in science are often intimidated by it, so these courses will go a long way towards demystifying the physics of the climate change we are seeing. It makes traditionally tough subject matter accessible as well as entertaining.”

Module One’s content has been provided by climate change experts Pedersen and Dr. Francis Zwiers, director of UVic’s Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change contributor. Environment Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment have also provided input.

Pedersen says the courses have a strong BC context but the global scope of the science makes it relevant to a wide audience. “I anticipate that schools, media and general society, as well as the target audience of people working in local government or ministries, will find the series invaluable for clarifying what is too often seen as a difficult or complicated issue.” Module Two (regional climate change and its impacts), Module Three (adaptation) and Module Rour (mitigation) are currently in production and are planned for release next year by PICS.

PICS is hosted and led by the University of Victoria in partnership with BC’s other research-intensive universities.

For more information and to take the course yourself, please see www.pics.uvic.ca/.

CanAssist Boosts Independence for Seniors, People with Disabilities / CanAssist accroit l’autonomie des personnes âgées et de celles ayant un handicap

By Dale Anderson (ResearchImpact, University of Victoria)

CanAssist, a university-based organization dedicated to developing and delivering technologies, programs and services that improve the quality of life of those with special needs, and just received $3.5 million to continue its work—a shining example of knowledge mobilization in action at UVic.

CanAssist est une organisation liée à UVic dont le mandat est de développer et de fournir des technologies, des programmes et des services améliorant la qualité de vie de ceux qui ont des besoins spéciaux. Elle vient tout juste de recevoir 3,5 millions de dollars afin de poursuivre ses activités – un exemple éclatant de mobilisation des connaissances à UVic.

CanAssist is a university-based organization dedicated to developing and delivering technologies, programs and services that improve the quality of life of those with special needs. It is a shining example of knowledge mobilization in action, and has just received funding to continue its innovative KMb work.

Recently, BC Premier Christy Clark announced $3.5 million for the University of Victoria to support an innovative project by CanAssist that will help seniors and people with disabilities remain as independent as possible while still living at home. Premier Clark had the opportunity to test CanConnect, an online tool that is helping seniors connect with care providers and children with special needs in remote communities connect with family and friends. CanConnect is a simple and user-friendly enhancement of Skype that allows people who are normally unable to use computers to make free telephone calls and have face-to-face chats in real time over the Internet.

By 2031, almost a quarter of B.C.’s population will be over 65 and the number of individuals with disabilities or who face serious barriers to employment and inclusion is expected to increase in the next 20 years. It is estimated that thousands more families in B.C. will benefit from today’s announcement.

Most of the $3.5 million will support an innovative partnership between CanAssist at the University of Victoria, Tyze Personal Networks and the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship. These partners will combine their expertise to create Connect for Care, new online tools that will help connect clients with their families, caregivers and health care providers. The remaining $500,000 will support CanFITT, a partnership between CanAssist and the Vancouver Island Health Authority to prototype the use of customized technologies to improve the quality of life for clients receiving services through the Choice in Supports for Independent Living program.

CanAssist has helped hundreds of families in B.C. since it was established in 1999. Over 4,500 students, 200 university faculty and more than 400 volunteers have participated in CanAssist, including retired physicians, machinists, seamstresses and engineers.

“CanAssist is a great example of a faculty member’s initiative that has grown to make UVic a national leader in the development of innovative technologies for people with disabilities,” said University of Victoria President David Turpin. “With this generous support from the B.C. government, CanAssist and its community partners will continue to create practical and empowering tools to help special needs individuals and their families overcome the challenges they face.”

Visit the CanAssist website for more information.

Using Your WITS: KMb in Action at UVic / Le programme « WITS » : la Mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) en action à l’Université de Victoria

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently announced a $2.6 million grant supporting children’s mental health through a program designed by University of Victoria psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, which teaches children conflict resolution strategies.

L’Agence de la santé publique du Canada a récemment annoncé une subvention de 2,6 millions de dollars pour la santé mentale des enfants par le biais d’un programme (WITS) développé par une psychologue de l’Université de Victoria : Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater. Elle enseigne aux enfants les stratégies de résolution de conflits.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has announced a $2.6 million grant supporting children’s mental health through research about and improved online access to the WITS program. WITS teaches children four simple conflict resolution strategies—Walk away – Ignore – Talk it out – Seek help—and was developed by UVic psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater.

The four-year grant will support online resources, lesson plans, training modules and resource guides for teachers across Canada. The funds will also go to further research in determining the effectiveness of the prevention program. Since 1998, the WITS programs have taught schools, families and communities four simple strategies that children can use to respond to peer victimization.

“We are very pleased to receive this funding,” says Leadbeater. “We want to ensure that schools and communities across Canada can access the WITS program to help prevent peer victimization, which also improves children’s mental health.”

The funding, announced by Federal Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq, is part of a funding package for innovative, community-based projects to improve the mental health of Canadian children and families, with a focus on vulnerable populations.

For more information on WITS, please visit: www.witsprogram.ca

Social Innovation: Or is it? / De l’innovation sociale : vraiment ?

By Dale Anderson (ResearchImpact, UVic)

Dale Anderson, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator at the University of Victoria, offers the some thoughts on social innovation.

Dale Anderson, coordinatrice de la mobilisation des connaissances à l’Université de Victoria propose quelques réflexions sur l’innovation sociale.

We hear a lot about social innovation these days. It’s talked about as the solution to modern problems, problems that just can’t be addressed unless something new or innovative is proposed, invented, produced. Indeed, it’s not just hip to talk about social innovation, it’s seen as backward if you don’t– and all the better if you establish centres and think tanks devoted to the subject. Lately, I’ve been wondering if it’s really necessary, as it seems to me that the ‘solutions’ (if we can call them that) to many of our modern woes already exist. Somehow, though, we’re just not seeing it.

Endless studies have called for fewer roads, more and better public transit and active transportation options (e.g., walking and biking), and better land-use planning as solutions to growing gridlock in major urban centres. As research shows, building more and larger roadways leads to more traffic, more congestion, and longer commutes. These in turn affect our economy (e.g., increased transportation time and costs, increasing costs for the provision of municipal services such as water, sewer, and waste pick-up), our health (e.g., reduced air quality due to vehicular pollutants, less time for physical exercise), and quality of life (e.g., reluctance to let children walk to school, increasing cost and time for commuting, reduced affordability of housing as urban sprawl is encouraged). The answer to all of these complex but related issues is to build more pedestrian friendly, mixed-use communities. And the answer to how is all around us.

Most of civilization lived before the invention of the car. Those charming, historic European cities we admire were built before the advent of the car. Here in Canada, the most sought-after neighbourhoods in Canada’s largest cities are all central, older neighbourhoods that were built before the car became king (think Kitsilano in Vancouver, the Glebe in Ottawa, or the Plateau in Montréal). So we’ve long known how to build pedestrian friendly communities. A better question is: if we know how to do it, how come we’re not? Continue reading

UVic KMb award / Le Prix de l’Université de Victoria en mobilisation des connaissances

Dr. Catherine Mateer of UVic is the inaugural recipient of a new knowledge mobilization award from the BC Psychological Association, created in her name-the Catherine Mateer Scientist-Practitioner Award – to recognize her work in helping people who have suffered problems with memory, attention and self-regulation following car accidents, falls and blows to the head.

Le docteur Catherine Mateer de l’Université de Victoria est la toute première récipiendaire du nouveau Prix en mobilisation des connaissances remis par la BC Psychological Association. Il s’agit d’un prix créé en son honneur – le Prix chercheur-praticien Catherine Mateer –visant à reconnaître son travail auprès des personnes ayant souffert de problèmes de mémoire, d’attention et d’auto-régulation à la suite d’un accident de la route, d’une chute ou d’un coup à la tête.

Media Release

Award Honours UVic Psychology Pioneer Catherine Mateer

Acclaimed clinical neuropsychology professor and University of Victoria administrator Dr. Catherine Mateer is the inaugural recipient of a new award from the BC Psychological Association, created in her name-the Catherine Mateer Scientist-Practitioner Award.

Mateer is widely known for her groundbreaking work in the area of cognitive rehabilitation for survivors of head trauma. She has helped people who have suffered problems with memory, attention and self-regulation following car accidents, falls and blows to the head. Her work in neuroscience has demonstrated the tremendous neuroplasticity of the brain that can help people compensate for problems, leading to better recoveries and more independence.

“In my work with people who are experiencing cognitive impairments as a result of brain injury, I have always tried to use scientific theory and methods to develop new interventions and to evaluate their effectiveness,” says Mateer. “The work has been rewarding in and of itself, but to be recognized by a science-practitioner award named for me is an incredible honour.”

The BC Psychological Association created the award to recognize individuals who have made significant and distinguished advancements in the field of psychology using a scientist-practitioner model to bridge science with the application to real people in real situations.

Mateer is a professor in UVic’s Department of Psychology, a previous director of Clinical Training and former departmental chair, and is currently UVic’s associate vice-president for academic planning. She has authored three books and over 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Most of them address the management of acquired impairments in memory, attention, executive functions, emotional adjustment and behavioural self-regulation. Mateer is also known for her kind heart, generous nature and willingness to “go the extra mile” for students, clients, colleagues and staff.

Read the media release here.

University of Victoria Job Opening

We are excited to share the following job opening at the University of Victoria for the position of Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator. Here is a brief summary of the position:

Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator
Office of Research Services
$45,359.00 – $51,053.00 per annum plus performance range

The KM activities include the creation, coordination and delivery of services to support researchers, graduate students and their non-academic research partners to maximize the purposeful application and use of research-generated knowledge for societal benefit.

The successful candidate will be:

• highly motivated
• creative
• flexible
• self-directed

The successful candidate must have an undergraduate degree (graduate degree preferred), at least two years of recent related experience in a research or policy environment within a university, government, NGO, community or voluntary agency, and/or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.

Closing date for applications is August 16, 2010.

For the complete job posting, please click on the following link.