There really are no new ideas / Il n’y a vraiment pas de nouvelles idées

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) is new but it is founded on established practices of knowledge brokering: linking researchers and decision makers who can co-produce knowledge and information to inform decisions about public policy and professional practice. The idea might not be new but we are implementing it in new ways.

Le réseau Impact Recherche est nouveau, mais est fondé sur des pratiques éprouvées en courtage de connaissances : mettre en lien des chercheurs et des décideurs qui peuvent co-produire des connaissances et de l’information pour éclairer les décisions en matière de politiques publiques et de pratiques professionnelles. Cette idée n’est peut-être pas nouvelle, mais nous la mettons en œuvre d’une façon novatrice.

I was in London, UK recently and I saw “Blood Brothers“, a story of twins separated at birth. It’s not a new story. This archetypal storyline was seen in The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, the film Start the Revolution Without Me and The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas. As much as I enjoyed the show I realized there really are no new ideas (did you notice that Avatar was just Dances with Wolves in space?).

The next morning I came across an article titled Using Knowledge Brokering to Promote Evidence-Based Policy-Making: The Need for Support Structures by Jessika van Kammen, Don de Savigny and Nelson Sewankambo. The article examined two case studies of knowledge brokering, one from the Netherlands and one from The Regional East-African Community Health (REACH)-Policy Initiative. The article concludes that knowledge brokering functions organize “the interactive process between the producers and users of knowledge so that they can co-produce feasible and research-informed policy options” (does this sound familiar?). This article was published in 2006 which means the work was probably done in 2004-2005 before RIR was anything more than a bright idea. The article also summarizes these functions which I reproduce below and align them with the brokering roles we provide at RIR-York. Continue reading


YorkU’s KMb Expo 2011

Join us on Wednesday, June 15th, 2011, when York University’s KMb Unit will host their annual KM Expo at the Markham Convergence Centre.

The theme of the YorkU KMb Expo 2011 is “Putting the Social in Innovation for York Region”. The 4th annual York KMb Expo will explore the relationship between knowledge mobilization and social innovation in York Region. The day will feature plenary discussions, networking sessions and optional workshops. Registration is free but space is limited to 80 participants. Attendees can sign up for the whole day or just for one of the afternoon workshops.

OVERVIEW – For four years York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been creating relationships between York University and agencies in York Region and beyond.  The outcomes of these relationships are social innovations that create new solutions to persistent social challenges. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will focus on these social innovations that are the outcomes of the knowledge mobilization process. Knowledge Mobilization Expo 2011 will start to create a vision of how we can collaborate on a system of social innovation in York Region.

Date: Wednesday, June 15th

Time: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Location: Markham Convergence Centre
7271 Warden Avenue, Markham (map below)

Preliminary Agenda

8:30-9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15 Welcome and Orientation
9:15-10:45 Plenary Panel
Topic: Emerging Opportunities for York Region’s Community SectorJohn Taylor, Regional Councilor of Newmarket, Co-Chair of HSPB and Chair of Newmarket Economic Development CommitteeOpportunities for York Region: Stan Shapson to host a discussion with speakers from:

  • Regional Municipality of York
  • Community Sector
  • York University Faculty
  • York University Student
10:45- 11:00 Networking Break
11:00- 12:15 Plenary Panel
Topic: How Community-Univesity Collaboration Produces Social Benefits: Knowledge Mobilization and Social Innovation. Two case studies of KMb service leading to social innovation outcomes presented in breakout sessions, each looking at the opportunity from different lenses.  Group discussion of barriers and opportunities with report back and group discussion

  • United Way of York Region – Strength Investments: Janice Chu
  • Nottawasaga Futures – Green Economy Transition Centre: Valerie Ryan
12:15- 1:30 Lunch and NetworkingLunch Address: Stan Shapson (VP Research & Innovation – York University) & Daniele Zanotti (CEO, UWYR)
1:30-2:15 Closing Remarks
 2:00-4:00 Optional Community Capacity Building Workshops
 1- Research 101
 2- Knowledge Mobilization 101
 3- Social Media 101

Register early!  RSVP online or by sending an Email to:

The Harris Centre launches The Regional / Le Harris Centre lance The Regional

ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche member The Harris Centre at Memorial University has launched a new quarterly newsletter called The Regional. Here is an excerpt from the first edition.

Le Harris Centre, membre du Réseau Impact Recheche – ResearchImpact vient de lancer une nouvelle infolettre trimestrielle appelée “The Regional”. Voici un extrait de la première édition.

Welcome to the first edition of The Regional! We’re excited to share some of the stories happening in our province.

When my family and I decided to move to Newfoundland and Labrador some three years ago, there were many raised eyebrows. Friendly advice ranged from warnings that the weather is unpleasant, to the ominous statements that “that place is going to hell in a hand basket, and that everybody with their head screwed on right is leaving for the greener pastures.”

Not that it matter much what they said.

We landed in St. John’s in 2008 and found a vibrant, welcoming community and blueberry covered hills. Our two-year-old couldn’t believe her luck.

Six months ago I landed the best job at Memorial University – manager of knowledge mobilization with the Harris Centre. It sounds like a mouthful, but don’t forget that this is academia you are dealing with – we never miss a chance to make simple things sound complicated. The job, and I’ll tell you a bit more about it, came with a major perk – I get to see Newfoundland and Labrador through a whole new lens of people who work across the province to make their communities and regions successful.

Read the rest of the newsletter here.

A community of 1000 and growing / Une communauté de 1000 membres… en croissance

1000 followers – it’s not a record but Twitter is an important part of connecting to a broader community of knowledge practitioners.

1000 abonnés – Il ne s’agit pas d’un reccord, mais Twitter représente une voie privilégiée pour rejoindre la communauté élargie des “praticiens du savoir”.

Lady Gaga has 7,941,444 twitter followers. Oprah has 5,549,842. CNN has 1,889,096. Charlie Sheen has 3,531,943. Sometime between 11:00 am and 11:45 am on March 26, 2011, @ResearchImpact hit 1000 followers. It took us 22 months to get there.

It’s not a competition and followers are only one measure of the impact of a twitter presence. Charlie Sheen might have 3,500 times the followers of ResearchImpact but I hope that in the world of knowledge mobilization we’re having more of an impact than he is. Impact is an interesting thing on twitter. There are a few services that allow you to measure your impact on twitter.

Klout: we score 52 out of 100

ResearchImpact is a Specialist
You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.

TwitterGrader: we score 97.4 out of 100 and we rank 233,333 out of 9,157,539

Twitalyzer: we score 1.1 out of 100 which puts us in the 62nd percentile.

I have no idea what any of this means. Scores range from 1.1 to 97.4 out of 100. At the end of the day are we getting re-tweets, comments and mentions by our followers? Yes. And that’s what matters to me.

Continue reading

Re-imagining the ivory tower / Reconcevoir la tour d’ivoire

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

KMb is enhancing transparency and access to universities but as we work hard at engaging we remain struck in silos inside the ivory tower.

La mobilisation des connaissances accroît la transparence et l’accès aux universités. Toutefois, malgré le travail acharné que nous accomplissons en ce sens, nous demeurons prisonniers des silos à l’intérieur de la tour d’ivoire.

Recently I attended a curling bonspiel in Ottawa and because my team lost as soon as they could I ended up on twitter and saw this @fedcan tweet

Good morning all! We’re live blogging @fedcan‘s annual conference this morning at

The Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences (FedCan) was holding their Annual Conference,  which featured a talk by SSHRC President, Chad Gaffield. The theme of the conference was “The Humanities Paradox: More Relevant and Less Visible Than Ever?” and the title of Chad’s talk was “Re-imagining Scholarship in the Digital Age“, both of which had a theme of exploring the relevance of academic research outside of the academy. Chad’s talk was wide ranging but for anyone who has had the pleasure of hearing Chad speak as many times as I have his observations were familiar. They were all linked by the theme of “re-imagining”, imaging a new paradigm of scholarship that is emerging on campuses across Canada. Specifically, Chad spoke of re-imagining in three areas: teaching, research and campus-community connections.


  • The old “professor push” method of teaching is evolving into a student centred, inquiry based method of learning. Text heavy, power point slides are being replaced by image heavy and digital rich media. Students are exploring problems rather than being told solutions.


  • Researchers are pursing horizontal connections across different ways of knowing. This means that researchers are not only reaching out to other scholarly disciplines but they are embracing community, Aboriginal and other traditions of knowledge. 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.