Le soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances à la façon UQAM / Supporting Knowledge Mobilization UQAM’s Way

Jérôme Elissalde et Luc Dancause, RIR-UQAM

Les derniers mois ont été l’occasion pour les agents de soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances (MdC) de deux services de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) de présenter le travail accompli depuis un an et demi.

The last few months provided some opportunities to the knowledge brokers from to offices at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) to present the work they have been doing in the past year and a half. 

Une première présentation a eu lieu lors de la 5e Conférence GeCSO (Gestion des connaissances dans la société et les organisations) tenue le 31 mai 2012 à Montréal. Une seconde s’est déroulée lors du KMb Forum 2012 organisé à Ottawa par Knowledge Mobilization Works, les 19 et 20 juin 2012.

Ces deux présentations ont été l’occasion d’aborder le contexte dans lequel sont développés des services de soutien à la MdC à l’UQAM, les enjeux rencontrés, la vision de la MdC d’un point de vue institutionnel ainsi que les stratégies adoptées et les outils développés pour ce soutien. Les échanges qui s’en sont suivi ont permis de constater que les efforts à investir sont nombreux pour une université voulant se doter d’un soutien intégré et adapté aux besoins spécifiques des professeurs, des étudiants et des partenaires. Bon nombre de participants à ces conférences ont pu réaliser que cette réflexion doit s’accompagner d’un changement de culture et d’un renouvellement de pratiques au sein même des universités.

Presentation also available in English

Quel rôle pour les universités québécoises dans la mobilisation des connaissances? / What Role for Quebec’s Universities in Knowledge Mobilization?

Jérôme Elissalde et Luc Dancause, RIR-UQAM

Les 7 et 8 mai 2012 se déroulait à Montréal le colloque « Quel rôle pour les universités dans la mobilisation des connaissances? » dans le cadre du 80e congrès de l’ACFAS.

On May 7th and 8th, a symposium titled “What role for the universities in knowledge mobilization” took place as part of the 80th Congress of the ACFAS (Association francophone pour le savoir).

Organisé par les services du Bureau du vice-recteur à la Recherche et à la création de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), cet évènement portant sur la réalité québécoise ne visait pas à présenter le seul point de vue des acteurs universitaires sur le sujet, mais bien celui de l’ensemble des parties prenantes (universités, gouvernements, bailleurs de fonds, milieux de pratique, organismes de liaison, etc.). Durant ces deux journées, différentes expériences faisant le pont entre universités et milieux de pratique ont été présentées en faisant ressortir les particularités et les défis de chaque type d’acteur.

Ainsi ont été discutées les conditions favorables à la circulation, la prise en compte ainsi que l’appropriation des divers types de connaissances issues tant du milieu universitaire que d’autres milieux sociaux. De plus, la réflexion a porté sur certains mécanismes institutionnels les plus appropriés pour concerter, reconnaître et soutenir les initiatives de mobilisation des connaissances.

Ce colloque fut donc l’occasion de créer un espace de rencontre et de dialogue entre des acteurs de la société ayant peu d’occasions de réfléchir ensemble sur certains enjeux afférents à la circulation des connaissances dans la société.

Programme de ce colloque et comité organisateur

York University and United Way York Region Receive Funding for Knowledge Mobilization / L’Université York et United Way de la Région de York reçoivent du financement pour la mobilisation des connaissances

By David Phipps, RIR-York

United Way York Region and York University can build on their 5 year knowledge mobilization collaboration thanks to new funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This funding will allow them to support collaborations on income and housing vulnerability.

United Way de la Région de York et l’Université York peuvent poursuivre le travail collaboratif en matière de mobilisation des connaissances qu’ils ont entrepris il y a 5 ans, et ce, grâce au financement reçu par le Conseil de recherche en sciences humaines du Canada. Ces fonds leur permettront de travailler en collaboration sur le thème du revenu et de la vulnérabilité relative au logement.

In June the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council announced a grant to York University and United Way York Region of $141,798 to invest in knowledge mobilization focused on income and housing vulnerability.  The grant is lead jointly by Daniele Zanotti (CEO, United Way York Region), David Phipps (Director, Research Services & Knowledge Exchange) and Steven Gaetz (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education), as well as Michaela Hynie (Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and the Program Evaluation Unit in the York Institute for Health Research). There is an urgent need for research and evidence to inform effective community responses, programs and services for housing and income vulnerability. Building on their five year knowledge mobilization partnership, York University and United Way York Region will implement a community-campus knowledge mobilization strategy based on best practices so that York housing and income vulnerability research and expertise is accessible to community partners. This grant builds on the CIHR funded Knowledge Translation supplement awarded to the partners in 2011 that funds knowledge mobilization activities focused on social determinants of health. Steven Gaetz, who also sits on the York Region Human Services Planning Board, says, “Knowledge mobilization has become very important in Canada. My area of research is homelessness and one of our key beliefs is that we have to figure out ways to mobilize homelessness research so that it can have a bigger impact on policy and practice. York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been a big support in this effort.”

While both the SSHRC and CIHR grants support a suite of services as recently described by York’s Knowledge mobilization Unit (see the knowledge mobilization blog post on Mobilize This!), at the core of these activities is funding for a community-based knowledge broker. While many university-based research programs and research units have staff who act as knowledge brokers only the six universities in the York-led ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche knowledge mobilization network have invested in knowledge brokers with a pan-university mandate. And of those six York is the only university to collaborate with their local partner to place a knowledge broker in the community. Jane Wedlock, Knowledge Mobilization Officer at United Way York Region, seeks to build capacity for community members to become partners in collaborative research projects and to work with Michael Johnny, Manager, Knowledge Mobilization at York University, to identify and support collaborations between university and community experts in housing and income vulnerability.

These collaborations will include graduate student interns (Summer 2013) and will be informed by more than 25 ResearchSnapshot clear language research summaries being developed from York University research articles over the summer of 2012.

“York University has transformed our work in the community” says Daniele Zanotti. “It has opened up the richness of community.

SSHRC handed out  95 grants in the October 2011 Public Outreach Grant competition. The York University/United Way York Region grant received the third highest funding of all grants and the highest amount of funding of those grants that had a community partner as a full co-applicant.United Way York Region is stronger because of that relationship and the university is stronger, with deeper roots in the community and greater opportunities to apply research to real lived experience.”

“York continues to build on and strengthen its commitment to community engagement, as identified in the Provostial White Paper,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation.  “York’s researchers continue to share and co-create knowledge with the broader community, as exemplified by the success of our researchers in the receipt of funding for engaged scholarship through SSHRC’s Public Outreach grants program and the work of our researchers and Knowledge Mobilization Unit in further developing partnerships with community organizations, such as the United Way York Region.”

York University and United Way York Region have recently released a video speaking about the mutual value gained when they jointly invest in knowledge mobilization.

Which Comes First – Knowledge or Mobilization? / L’œuf ou la poule – la connaissance ou la mobilisation ?

David Phipps, RIR – York

David Phipps (RIR-York) had eggs for breakfast. He thought about that old paradox of chickens and eggs and mused about knowledge and mobilization. It might have taken over 2000 years to answer for chickens and eggs but the answer for knowledge and mobilization is more simple… it depends!

David Phipps (RIR-York) a mangé des œufs au déjeuner. Il a songé au vieux dilemme de l’œuf et de la poule ainsi qu’aux connaissances et à leur mobilisation. Cela a peut-être pris 2000 ans afin de répondre à la question de l’œuf ou de la poule, mais dans le cas des connaissances et de la mobilisation, la réponse est plus simple… cela dépend !

Which came first, the chicken or the egg is a questions dating back to Aristotle (384 BC) and the Greek historian, Mestrius Plutarchus born 46 AD (remember, Google is your friend).  The good people at The Guardian answered this in 2006 but it inspires me to wonder what comes first – knowledge or mobilization?

The answer is it depends (which is the answer to most things).

In a knowledge transfer, translation or exchange paradigm (and here I am using the terms specifically, not generically as they are often used) the knowledge has to come first and then it is mobilized. Academic knowledge is “translated” into a policy brief or a ResearchSnapshot clear language research summary.  The academic researcher might become connected to a decision maker and the knowledge “transferred” to them (a common practice in technology transfer that uses patents as one tool to transfer knowledge from the academic researcher to industry). There may be some knowledge exchange event where academic knowledge and non-academic expertise work together to translate and then transfer the knowledge one to the other… but the knowledge still came first. In these paradigms the knowledge brokers are working with existing knowledge and making it accessible to decision makers.

The exception to this is the example of sponsored research.  Bringing a decision maker’s knowledge needs together with academic research capacity is an example of mobilization. In this example the decision maker pays the academic to generate new knowledge that is then translated and/or transferred to the decision maker sponsor. This is one of the methods used by Research Into Action and Centre for Research in Families and Relationships. But…if the contracted academics do not produce new, original research but synthesize existing data sets and academic literature into an answer for the decision maker’s needs then the knowledge does come before the mobilization. For more on sponsored research and whether you are a consultant or a knowledge broker see a previous blog from January 28, 2011.

However, the situation is reversed in a co-production paradigm. When researchers and decision makers collaborate to generate new knowledge that has the potential for both academic and non-academic impact then the mobilization must come first. Knowledge brokers such as those in the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche network broker relationships instead of knowledge and seek to develop collaborations between researchers and decision makers. It is through these collaborations that new knowledge is created. Therefore the mobilization (the connecting of the researcher to decision maker) comes first and the knowledge is a product of that collaboration. And we know from the literature that co-created knowledge has a greater chance of informing decisions. Michelle Gagnon summarized the literature saying, “involving knowledge users such as partners in the research process is a strong predictor that research findings will be used and that the research endeavor will achieve a greater impact (Knowledge Dissemination and Exchange of Knowledge, in Knowledge Translation in Health Care, eds. S. Strauss, J. Tetroe, I.D. Graham, Wiley Blackwell, Chichester, UK, 2009, p. 240).

So the answer is “it depends”, but in a co-production paradigm the mobilization comes first. But is that all?  Stay tuned for a forthcoming blog where I will discuss what is more important – knowledge or mobilization?

Oh yes… and about the chicken and the egg?  It was the egg, according to The Guardian.

Putting the ‘Strategy’ in Knowledge Mobilization Strategy / Mettre de la « stratégie » dans la stratégie de mobilisation des connaissances (MdC)

Michael Johnny, RIR – York

Knowledge Brokers in Canada have a growing number of training opportunities specific to supporting our work. Peter Levesque of KMb Works offers an excellent one day session on KMb Strategy.

De plus en plus de formations sont offertes aux courtiers de connaissances canadiens pour supporter leur travail. Peter Levesque de Knowledge Mobilization Works offre d’excellentes sessions d’un jour sur les stratégies de MdC.

It is quite possible Peter Levesque is Canada’s longest tenured Knowledge Mobilization professionals.  It stands to reason given this experience and his role as CEO of KMb Works that he would offer an excellent one day workshop, Building a Knowledge Mobilization Strategy.   Peter’s one day session is an engaging and interactive session, where he successfully draws on the experiences of participants to explore a clear and consistent understanding of the term Knowledge Mobilization, as well as an understanding of the strategic elements of this within the spectrum of vision, mission, goals and activity, outputs, outcomes and impact.

I have been fortunate to also attend the Scientist Knowledge Translation Training course offered by Dr. Melanie Barwick.  The strength of Melanie’s session is taking a wide array of information and positioning it within an operational template.  Peter’s session is very complimentary;  it does not offer the attendee a template from which to work, but steps back and provides detailed and significant context on the what and why of Knowledge Mobilization.

For me as a knowledge broker at York University, an important and emerging role in my work is supporting faculty research grant applications by aiding in the development of a dedicated Knowledge Mobilization strategy.  The template that I was able to adapt from Dr. Barwick’s session is now going to be enhanced by what I learned from Peter Levesque.  Positioning a KMb Strategy within the goals of a project will help allow for relevant activity and significant outcomes and ultimately, relevant impact.

I will continue to seek out relevant learning opportunities for myself in my role as a knowledge broker.  I know for sure that I need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn from Peter Levesque’s rich experience in Knowledge Mobilization.  And check out the materials from the 2012 KMb Forum, a two-day forum on Knowledge Mobilization for researchers, practitioners and professionals with interests in KMb recently held in Ottawa.