Thousands of academics, researchers, and policymakers converged on Vancouver, B.C. last week for Congress 2008, which marked the 30th anniversary of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Among the attendees were the Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Units from York University and the University of Victoria, which form a dynamic group of knowledge brokers who have been collaborating on ResearchImpact, Canada’s emerging KM network.
“It’s an exciting initiative and the first of its kind in Canada,” said David Phipps, Director of the Office of Research Services (ORS) at York and the leader of York’s KM Unit. “ResearchImpact is a national network of knowledge brokers who draw together academics, policymakers, and practitioners, along with government and community agencies from across the country.” The goal of ResearchImpact is to enhance the use of research and help inform public policy and professional practice.
Phipps, an invited speaker at Congress, gave a talk on how knowledge flows between researchers and knowledge users. He was also invited to a closed session on capturing the impacts of publicly funded research. This session was led by SSHRC representatives and featured nationally recognized leaders in KM.
The KM Units from York and UVic also hosted a booth at the book fair, a mainstay of Congress. With 10,000 academics estimated to be in attendance, there were plenty of opportunities to expand the growing ResearchImpact network.
“It was a pleasure to speak with many prominent researchers – from York and elsewhere – who dropped by the booth,” said Michael Johnny, Manager of KM at York. “It was also great to connect with many decision-makers from numerous federal departments across the country. The discussions we had were valuable and will help to strengthen York’s role as a national leader in KM.”
Krista Jensen, a KM Officer at York, presented SSHRC staff with a summary of the activities at York that have been supported by the Knowledge Impact in Society grant.
“This crucial grant,” said Jensen, “makes KM capacity and services possible for York Region, one of the fastest-growing regions in the country.”
Leadership and support for the KM Unit’s visit was provided by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation at York. Funding was provided by SSHRC and CIHR.