KM in the AM – Collaborative Planning and Partnership Building

On September 30, 2008, the York University KM Unit held its first KM in the AM for the 2008-2009 academic year. KM in the AM is our flagship event: a thematic breakfast that provides space for community and government agencies to meet and interact with York faculty and graduate students. The KM Unit has been holding these breakfasts regularly since 2006, and our September 30 event was one of our most successful yet.

This month’s theme was Collaborative Planning and Partnership Building, featuring a panel of five experts sharing their own experiences and research findings.

- Prof. Debra Pepler of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution
- Jane Wedlock of the York Region Alliance to End Homelessness
- Prof. Celia Haig-Brown of the York University Faculty of Education
- Susan Taylor Simpson of ProAct Ideas
- Prof. Uzo Anucha of the York University School of Social Work

Each panelist gave a thorough and illuminating presentation, outlining their organizations’ histories, successes, collaborative projects, and challenges.

Prof. Pepler explained the four strategy pillars used by her organization, PREVNet, to build relationships with other organizations. Jane Wedlock discussed the infrastructure challenges facing her organization, and explained how these were overcome via collaboration with another organization. Prof. Haig-Brown’s presentation revolved around on her work in the Aboriginal community, and the importance of working to maintain relationships. Susan Taylor Simpson discussed the importance of leadership to collaboration. Prof. Anucha focused on the need for trust and community dialogue in order to achieve a successful collaboration.

The panelists then took questions from the other attendees on various topics, including the advancing use of technology to facilitate collaborations, the need for catalytic leadership, and the need for someone to “own” any project.

Using our unvalidated but objective measure of engagement, one community partner stayed chatting GIS mapping with a graduate student for 3 hours after the session – that’s A LOT of mobilization!

If you are interested in learning more about any of these panelists’ work, or about future KM in the AM breakfasts, please contact Michael Johnny (mjohnny@yorku.ca) or Krista Jensen (kejensen@yorku.ca), or visit http://www.researchimpact.ca

Knowledge Mobilization and Community-Based Research at UVic

The UVic Knowledge Mobilization Unit and Office of Community-Based Research have been working closely together under the institutional banner of “Civic Engagement” for a year. It is quickly becoming apparent that the goals of both of these initiatives would be realized more efficiently and thoroughly if there was an official amalgamation. The upcoming merger of the Knowledge Mobilization Unit and the Office of Community Based Research will create greater capacity for impact on all levels.

The coming together of Knowledge Mobilization and Community-Based Research functions at UVic will allow the knowledge brokers to pool resources, exchange expertise, and expand networks, leading to greater capacity to support various research collaborations with community organizations and policy makers. This merger will create one cohesive, organized, and productive office with a civic engagement mandate relating to positive social change.

University researchers awarded CIHR grant

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Mental Health Commission have awarded a grant of $1.5 million to a team of researchers, including a contingent from York University. According to a July 22 YFile article, they will be researching “how young adults who suffer from mental health problems, and those who support them, make decisions about their mental health. The project also promises to develop methods to help the mental health care sector better address the needs of Canadian youth by transferring knowledge to them in optimal, timely formats.”

The York researchers involved in the project include Henny Westra, Lynne Angus, John Eastwood, Madalyn Marcus and David Phipps.

KM intern making a difference with West End Heat Registry

Tanya Gulliver, an intern with the Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, appeared in the July 18 edition of the Toronto Star, discussing her role as co-ordinator of the West End Heat Registry. The Heat Registry is a project funded by the City of Toronto, designed to ensure the safety of at-risk residents on days when the City issues heat advisories.

The KM at York Internship Program offers summer internships to York graduate students working in partnerships with community organizations, including government, NGOs, labour, private sector and community-based agencies. The community organization must provide the graduate student with the opportunity to apply her/his research and expertise to the benefit of the organization.

You can read the Toronto Star article here, or follow this link to find a video about the Heart Registry’s services.

York University Collaborates With The World Green Building Council To Mobilize Knowledge

Earlier this year, York University formed a partnership with the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), via the WorldGBC Universities Pilot Program. In the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between York and the WorldGBC, WorldGBC identifies ResearchImpact as a key factor in choosing to partner with York, stating, “York University is also a national leader in knowledge mobilization leading ResearchImpact, Canada’s emerging national knowledge mobilization network.”

The WorldGBC is a union of national councils whose mission is to accelerate the transformation of the global built environment towards sustainability. The current member Green Building Councils (GBCs) of the WorldGBC represent over 50 percent of global construction activity, and touch more than 10,000 companies and organizations worldwide. GBCs are consensus-based, not-for-profit organizations that are highly effective at engaging leaders across sectors to transform the built environment.

WorldGBC members are leading the movement that is globalizing environmentally and socially responsible building practices. The WorldGBC provides leadership and a global forum to accelerate market transformation from traditional, inefficient building practices to new generation high-performance buildings.

Under the terms of the MOU between York and the WorldGBC, York students and faculty will conduct research on behalf of the WorldGBC, and will develop strategies to effectively disseminate this research. In addition, York will assist the WorldGBC in the development of a Knowledge Mobilization strategy and a WorldGBC online research portal.

For more information about the World Green Building Council, visit www.worldgbc.org.

Meet a Mobilizer – David Phipps, York University

David never wanted to be a knowledge broker.  David wanted to be a veterinarian but along the way discovered research (PhD Immunology, Queen’s University, 1991) and subsequently moved into technology transfer at U of T when he identified a novel marker of HIV infection.  Moving from doing research to managing research started a career that continually spanned the boundaries between researchers and research users (companies, government agencies, community organizations).  By connecting researchers with researcher users to help move research into practice or policy, David became a knowledge broker. In his current role as Director of York’s Office of Research Services David leads tradition research services (research grants and contracts) as well as technology commercialization and knowledge mobilization as a service to York faculty and graduate students.  He is the PI on three knowledge mobilization institutional grants (two tri-council IM grants and one SSHRC KIS grant) and one knowledge mobilization research grant.

 

While wanting to be a veterinarian and subsequently geeking out in a lab David also nurtured a bohemian side as a flute player while also dancing ballet for 20 years (he took a summer off his PhD to dance at Canada’s Wonderland!).  He currently sings in Counterpoint Chorale, a Toronto-based chamber choir but apparently fails to impress either gargoyles or cats….

The Research Help Desk and Graduate Courses

In the early days of the UVic Knowledge Mobilization Unit, a partnership was struck with the Vancouver Island Health Authority that would see the development of a “Research Help Desk”. This virtual help desk involved the soliciting and compiling of VIHA research needs by a Knowledge Broker within VIHA. The UVic Knowledge Broker then worked to identify a faculty or graduate student at UVic that could work with the VIHA practitioner to address the research need.  This model sees practitioners and researchers working together, with the input and support of Knowledge Brokers, to address issues that practitioners would not otherwise have time, resources, or expertise to address.

 

This service began in December 2006 with two projects, and the Research Help Desk has since expanded to serve the needs of other research users, agencies, and government ministries.

 

The success of the Research Help Desk led to the development of an interdisciplinary graduate course structured around this model.

       

The first course (titled GS 500: Practicum in Community-Based Health Research) ran in September 2007. Seven graduate students were each matched up with a question coming from a practitioner in either VIHA or the BC Ministry of Health. The student then worked with the community practitioner over the semester to address the research need and develop a solution. The class met once a week under the supervision of a professor to discuss their progress and receive lectures on topics such as gaps in translation and transfer of knowledge, building partnerships, ethics, research methods, applying research to policy and practice, etc.

 

The BC Ministry of Environment has asked for a course using the same model for their practitioners, as has the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development. These courses are set to begin in September 2008 and January 2009, respectively.

KM Resources

There are a number of books that could be captured under the broad rubric of knowledge mobilization.  These include The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Practice; Community University Partnerships in Practice and Knowledge Mobilization in the Social Sciences and Humanities.  All have their strengths but one book that I can highly recommend is Using Evidence – How Research Can Inform Public Services by Sandra Nutley and her colleagues Isabel Walter and Huw T.O. Davies from the Research Unit on Research utilization (University of Edinburgh).

 

This book is an exhaustive survey of the research utilization literature and includes chapters on the meaning of research use, factors that influence research use, models of research use, strategies to enhance research use (in policy and in practice) and evaluating research use.  Of particular use is the extensive bibliography (33 pages long) underscoring the thorough nature of the review and providing lots more material to review should the reader wish to go to the source.  Using real examples this book presents different models of research utilization showing the weaknesses of linear models of research utilization in favour of iterative and interactive models.  Importantly the book describes research utilization as a cumulative, social undertaking which suggests efforts to enhance research utilization need to focus on active engagement of researchers and research users over passive producer push methods that provide enhanced access to research evidence. Chapter 9 (“How can we assess research use and wider research impact”) summarizes the literature on evaluating the impact of research utilization and strategies to enhance research use; however,  this chapter starts out “To date, studies of research use and research impact have shed much interesting light on the former but have to make significant inroads into the latter”.  Not overly satisfying for those looking for the magic formula to evaluate research impact but an honest evaluation of the literature nonetheless.

 

This book is not an easy read but it is an important read and a must have companion for everyone interested in knowledge mobilization as a vehicle for enhancing research utilization.

 

Aboriginal Policy Research Forum

“An exciting experiment,” is how David Phipps, Director of the Office of Research Services (ORS) at York University, described the Aboriginal Policy Research Forum, on January 14, 2008. The forum, the first of its kind in Canada, used broadband technology to bring together researchers, policymakers, and citizens from across the country to discuss Aboriginal issues. A key focus of the forum was knowledge translation: the sharing of knowledge between diverse audiences, from academics to community decision-makers….Click here to read more.

ResearchImpact coming soon to a conference near you!

ResearchImpact made its debut at Congress 2007 in Saskatoon.  Since then ResearchImpact has been featured at CUExpo (Victoria, May 2008), Ontario Municipal Social Services Association (Toronto, February 2008), Canadian Association of University Research Administrators (Halifax, May 2008) and Fathers Involvement Research Alliance (Toronto, April 2008).  All of these events have provided excellent opportunities for ResearchImpact to reach out to diverse stakeholders and communities.  ResearchImpact will once again be exhibiting at Congress 2008 (Vancouver, May 30-June 8, 2008) and will be featured in the open session on Knowledge Mobilization on June 3.  Come visit ResearchImpact in booth 51 of the Book Fair.