A Scottish Visit to Canada / Une visite écossaise au Canada

Sian Ringrose, Scottish Agricultural College

In June 2012, Sian Ringrose from the Scottish Agricultural College visited Canada for some professional development in knowledge mobilization and rural policy. She spent one week with RIR-York and one week with RIR-Guelph. She also attended a rural policy school in Quebec and then some play time in New York City.  She tells her story below.

En juin 2012, Sian Ringrose, du Scottish Agricultural College, a visité le Canada à des fins de développement professionnel en mobilisation des connaissances et en politiques rurales. Elle a passé une semaine en compagnie de RIR-York et une autre avec RIR-Guelph. Elle a également assisté, au Québec, à une École d’été sur les politiques rurales en plus de séjourner quelques temps dans la ville de New York. Elle raconte son histoire ci-bas.

I recently returned to the UK from a month long visit to the provinces of Québec and Ontario, Canada.  This was a welcome change from my usual base at SAC (Scottish Agricultural College) in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was rather damp and chilly when I left in Mid-June.

On a knowledge transfer and exchange grant from the Farmer’s Club Charitable Trust Fund I was on a quest to learn about international rural policy, knowledge mobilization (KMb) and integrating research with knowledge translation and transfer programmes.  A particular aspect of my trip was to identify ways in which young people can be encouraged into agriculture, and to highlight the variety of agricultural and rural job opportunities available to young people today.

My tour of Canada began in the city of Montréal, Québec.  I was to attend a two week summer school on International Comparative Rural Policy (ICRPS). Staying in the Grey Nun’s Residences, of Concordia’s University I quickly realised the joys of air conditioning, and the discomfort of high temperatures twinned with high humidity!

Over the next three days we had guest speakers from; Rio Tinto-Alcan (the worlds largest producers of Aluminium); the Union des producterus agricoles (UPA – the UK’s equivalent of the National Farming Union) to sustainable food systems in the Montréal Region.  After living the city life we headed North to Québec City, then onwards to the more rural North-East town of Rimouski.

After two weeks travelling through rural Québec we eventually landed back in Montréal just in time for the end of the Jazz festival.  Definitely worth the visit for anyone who likes to sit outside in the sun, with a glass of wine listening to free musical performances – and a welcomed break after 14 straight days of work.

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How I Became a Knowledge Mobilizer / Comment je suis devenu une mobilisatrice de connaissances

Shawna Reibling, RIR – Guelph

Shawna Reibling, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator at the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES) at the University of Guelph, describes her journey to becoming a knowledge mobilizer.

Shawna Reibling, Coordonnatrice de la mobilisation des connaissances à l’Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship (ICES) de l’Université de Guelph, décrit le cheminement qui l’a menée à devenir mobilisatrice de connaissances.

I discovered to the field of knowledge mobilization by way of biology. In my Grade 11 year of high school I was a naturalist assistant in Neys Provincial Park. In this position I discovered that sharing hands-on knowledge about lichen, garter snakes and lamprey, was something that park visitors could appreciate. The ability to share the information about the wonders of the park, to transfer knowledge, was my passion. Recently, when I was writing a clear language summary of Dr. Hanner’s work entitled “Genetic calibration of species diversity among North America’s freshwater fishes”, he mentioned lamprey and I was immediately engaged – there is still so much to learn about fresh water ecosystems. This is one of the drivers of a knowledge mobilizer – the desire to spread information and allow people to wonder with you.  Engaging knowledge translation and exchange may lead to co-creation of knowledge. Did some of those kids who held the garter snake go on to be biologists, working with park rangers?

First panel shows a person looking at a flower questioningly and reads "Step One: Wonder at Something...". Second panel shows many people looking at the same flower and reads "Step Two: Invite Others to Wonder with You..."

I rediscovered knowledge mobilization in graduate school. My work at the School of Communication  at Simon Fraser University focused on technology policy and analysis. I was assigned was to write a mock SSHRC grant to fund my thesis proposal and convince a Committee that my thesis was fundable. The classic “So what? For whom?” questions of knowledge mobilization were made clear to me in my first steps as a researcher. I believe that it is never too early to embed knowledge mobilization in education!

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Outreach to Promote Knowledge Mobilization / La sensibilisation afin de promouvoir la mobilisation des connaissances

David Phipps, RIR – York

In addition to using social media to spread the word about knowledge mobilization and social innovation, the knowledge mobilization staff at York University have been busy speaking in real life.  It takes a lot of work and we are successful but it certainly hasn’t been overnight.

En plus de faire appel aux médias sociaux dans le but faire connaître la mobilisation des connaissances et l’innovation sociale, le personnel travaillant à la mobilisation des connaissances à l’Université York en a beaucoup parlé dans la vraie vie. Cela demande beaucoup d’efforts et nous connaissons du succès. Toutefois, cela ne s’est pas produit du jour au lendemain.

Crusaders. Evangelists. Missionaries. Entrepreneurs. Whatever your analogy it takes a lot of work to become an overnight success. York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has been successful in creating institutional services that support collaborations between researchers/students and non-academic partners from the government and community sectors. And since we’ve been planning this since 2004 and doing this since 2006, it’s certainly not been overnight.

And yet we continue to be knowledge mobilization evangelists spreading the good word about the value of knowledge mobilization to university and community and government agencies.

In the 10 weeks between April 15 and June 30, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit made 19 presentations to audiences totaling more than 700. Most of the audiences were Canadian but we were also seen by over 60 people from five continents at the K* conference. We have spoken to community members and have taken our message all the way to the Governor General with help from our colleagues at SSHRC and United Way Centraide Canada.

From Manitoba to Charlottetown; in Hamilton and Ottawa; and many locations in between in the GTA- Mississauga, Newmarket, Toronto and lots on campus, of course. It is through this effort that we are creating a culture of knowledge mobilization on campus as previously mentioned in this blog. But we are also hoping to create a culture of knowledge mobilization for our partners as well.

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Collaborate Collaborate Collaborate

The following was first published on ORION’s blog ORIONxchange and is reposted here with permission.

Collaboration has emerged as a key feature of many research programs. ORION’s O3 system and York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit are a perfect combination to support research collaborations to maximize the impact of research on society.

By David Phipps, York University

It used to be location location location for real estate. Then content was king. I have heard Peter Levesque (@KMbW_Updates) say that sharing is the new selfish….I think he means that sharing has replaced selfish (“knowledge is power”) as a new paradigm for work and life.

We recently published a knowledge synthesis exploring how to leverage investments in higher education research & development. Our paper titled Knowledge Mobilization and Social Innovation are Integral Components of Innovation Strategies to Leverage Investments in Higher Education concluded that “central to each section of this report is the pressing need for improved collaboration among Canada’s higher education institutions, governments, industry and community organizations.” Building on Peter’s sharing is the new selfish, the key to turning research into action for economic, social and environmental benefits is to collaborate.

Collaborate Collaborate Collaborate.

That is the message behind the Governor General’s Community Campus Collaboration (CCC) Initiative. In his opening addressto Congress 2012 he said that the Community-Campus Collaborations Initiative “is quite simply a superb initiative. It will help us ensure that social innovation is a key component of Canada’s innovation landscape. This initiative also provides us with a catalytic vehicle to apply knowledge and develop experiential learning”. It is the message behind York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit that provides a suite of services to support collaboration between researchers/students and their research partners from the (mainly) public and community sectors.

Collaboration is why York University uses ORION’s O3 system as their on line collaboration tool. There has been a recent discussion on the Canadian Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice list about collaboration platforms. Basecamp. Sharepoint. Drupal. Drop box etc. etc. etc. and we promoted O3. We use O3 as an intranet to manage the business of York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit as well as the operations of ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR), Canada’s knowledge mobilization network. With the introduction of 4 new RIR universities a couple of years ago we are already in the position of needing to go in and reorganize/rationalize our naming conventions and file/folder structures. That’s what happens when more and more people start to use a system that evolved more than it was planned.

TIP #1: Be conscious about your plan to use collaboration software but be open to modifying that plan as more users come on board.

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How to Assess the Impact of Your Research / Comment mesurer l’impact de votre recherche

Michael Johnny, RIR-York

Impact has become a significant component of the research cycle but how does one actually do this?  Dr. Sarah Morton from the University of Edinburgh offers a one-day workshop with methodologies to assess the impact of your research.

L’impact est devenu un aspect très important du cycle de la recherche, mais comment doit-on procéder pour le mesurer? La professeure Sarah Morton de l’Université d’Édimbourg offre un atelier d’une journée au cours duquel sont présentées des méthodologies permettant de mesurer l’impact de vos recherches.

David Phipps of York University (@researchimpact) has recently written about Knowledge Hypocrites.  Well, I for one am taking action (sort of).  I wouldn’t exactly call myself a bookworm, but I am taking opportunity to learn from other professionals to help inform my practice.  Perhaps not a direct solution to David’s point, but I am happy about opportunities to learn from leaders in KMb from Canada and internationally.

A recent post shared my experience attending a workshop from Peter Levesque of Knowledge Mobilization Works.  The following week I attended a day-long session led by Sarah Morton (recently Dr. Sarah Morton) of the University of Edinburgh, Co-Director Communication and Knowledge Exchange within the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships.  The topic of Sarah’s workshop was how to assess the impact of your research.

I was one of 12 present and felt I was in a unique position, whereas I am not directly involved in or leading a research project, but play a brokering role in developing research projects.  For the purposes of the workshop I used York University’s partnership with the United Way of York Region as an example (we are piloting a community knowledge broker role).  For me, in my experience, impact is misunderstood with outcomes, or even outputs.  So it was refreshing (and validating) for me to hear Sarah speak about a process of inputs, activities, uptake, use and impact.

The significant takeaway for me was a mapping exercise which will help me working with university researchers in developing knowledge mobilization plans.  In Sarah’s research and experience, embarking on a process of examining potential assumptions and risks around the process listed above can actually help determine potential indicators around impact.  Unlocking a procedure to support this process will help me in my brokering work.  The fact that I can employ the tools and not have to read Sarah’s dissertation makes my life somewhat easier.  Can I declare myself hypocrisy-free?  No, not yet, but I do prefer this active process of knowledge exchange.  My thanks to Sarah for sharing her research and methodologies to further unpack the notion of impact in research.

Guide to Knowledge Translation Planning at CIHR: Integrated and End-of-Grant Approaches / Guide de planification de l’application des connaissances aux IRSC : approches intégrées et de fin de subvention

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche is pleased to announce the launch of a new Knowledge Translation (KT) Guide by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

Le RéseauImpactRecherche-ResearchImpact a le plaisir de vous annoncer le lancement du nouveau Guide de planification de l’application des connaissances aux Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (IRSC).

The creation of new healthcare knowledge often does not, on its own, lead to widespread implementation or impacts on health outcomes. As Canada’s principal health research funding agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) plays a fundamental role in bridging the ‘know-do’ gap and ensuring that research findings get into the hands of those who can use them.

To assist in filling this gap between research evidence and implementation, CIHR has developed a new Knowledge Translation (KT) Guide that we hope will strengthen projects that involve a KT approach, while also ensuring that the review of KT within grant proposals is more rigorous and transparent.

Whether it is disseminating findings from already completed research or co-creating the knowledge to help solve issues, this Guide is relevant across the spectrum of health research. It is targeted to both those writing grants and those reviewing grants.

The Guide provides examples of how different approaches to KT have worked and includes relevant worksheets to help guide planning. The KT Guide is available on the CIHR website or in hard copy by writing to kt-ac@cihr.gc.ca.

Le Guide de l’AC est disponible sur le site Web des IRSC (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/f/45321.html). Il est aussi possible d’en obtenir une version papier en s’adressant par écrit à kt-ac@cihr.gc.ca.