ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche continues to grow with the addition of three new knowledge brokers, with more to come.
I recall clearly my excitement in February 2006, when conducting a scan of university KMb activity I learned there was a third person who was working in Canada as a university-wide knowledge broker. Joaquin Trapero of the University of Victoria and myself had been hired through the support of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) grant. We discovered David Yetman, formerly of the Harris Centre at Memorial University and who is now at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), was working in a similar capacity. This expansion of our cohort by 50% was encouraging and enlightening. The three of us communicated regularly, sharing good practices in KMb, and as a result created a university-based Community of Practice (CoP) for the emerging work of KMb led by Canadian universities.
Fast forward over four and a half years later and the three of us remain engaged in knowledge mobilization in some capacity (delivery, strategic leadership, practitioner and researcher). However, our emerging and loosely constructed CoP has now germinated into an active national network covering regions from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. Our network has expanded by 100%, as we now work with three other universities within the ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) network. In addition to the University of Vicortia, York and Memorial, who has just hired Bojan Fürst, we now work with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan. And to demonstrate the power of this brokering network, UQAM is hiring two brokers (welcome Luc Dancause and Jérôme Elissalde) and Saskatchewan is exploring similar capacity. Guelph is also hiring a broker to work with Linda Hawkins and UVic is hiring a KMb Coordinator to work with Joaquin.
September 23 and 24 saw RI-RIR leaders meet for two days to discuss strategic and operational opportunities. The KMb brokers were joined by the Vice Presidents of Research from York, UVic, USask and UQAM as well as the Dean of Social Sciences from University of Guelph. We spent Thursday developing a shared vision for ResearchImpact – Reseau Impact Recherche. Thursday evening the brokers went out for dinner and drinks and Friday we rolled up our sleeves to put operational meat onto the strategic bones the VPs built for us.
In the quiet moments between conversation and presentations, it was nice to reflect back to that February day when the national broker network grew by 50%! We continue to grow, and the excitement for me remains high. What seemed like an ideological vision that every university in Canada would have an institutional knowledge broker is now grounded in possibility based on almost five years of activity, research and development, recent growth and a shared vision by more and more universities in Canada.
It’s exciting times for university knowledge brokers in Canada! We are now pleased to introduce you to KMb Team Canada. Bienvenue à tous nos courtiers MdC.
Andrei Sedoff (York U) Bojan Fürst (MUN) Caroline Roger (UQAM)
Dominique Robitaille (UQAM) David Phipps (York U) Jennifer Adams Warburton (MUN)
Linda Hawkins (U Guelph) Luc Dancause (UQAM)
Laura Zink (U Saskatchewan) Michael Johnny (York U)
Susan Blum (U Saskatchewan)