A Knowledge Broker’s Perspective on Research / Recherche : le point de vue d’un courtier de connaissances

Michael Johnny, RIR-YorkU

This story was originally posted on the Mitacs website on Janaury 24, 2014 and is reposted here with permission.

Ce récit a été publié la première fois sur le site Mitacs, le 24 janvier 2014. Il est repris ici avec permission.

Michael Johnny

Michael Johnny

I have a unique and enjoyable role at York University as a knowledge broker.  My role is to connect York researchers with community, industry and government for collaborative research on complex social issues, which fits well with the type of work Mitacs does.  Knowledge mobilization is a key way to make the work done at universities relevant to greater society by helping shape policies and practices and by driving technological development through academic and industry collaborations.

There are three fundamental aspects of knowledge mobilization which I feel are important:

1. Co-produced knowledge is the most effective form of knowledge mobilization

Simply put, collaborative research projects provide the best environment for research utilization.  York’s David Phipps has introduced this previously and our work to support graduate student internships has reinforced this.  Bringing together researchers with decision makers at the start of the research cycle creates a clear and common research agenda, to maximize the benefits of outcomes.  There are two examples based on internships which we like to share with people that reinforce this point, one around youth homelessness and the other about green economic development.

2. Benefits of the research can take time

Since 2006, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit has helped support almost 400 unique collaborative activities and projects.  Almost 50 of these have been internships.  This has not only helped students develop new skills and employment opportunities, it has also helped their non-academic partner organizations through research knowledge and access to university facilities. But while collaborative projects sometimes don’t provide impact immediately upon completion, many benefits can be seen longer term.  Impact can take time.

3. Relationships matter

The ability to facilitate a two-way exchange of knowledge, information and expertise relies on a strong relationship between researchers and decision makers.  Graduate student internships are a powerful mechanism to support knowledge mobilization.  Many of our success stories at York are predicated on successful internships.  If you want to embark on a successful internship, make the time to get to know your partner and understand them – their needs, motivations and assets.

Has your company benefitted from knowledge mobilization with a university?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Want to learn more about how Mitacs internships are helping to connect Canadian researchers with industry?  Contact a local Mitacs representative.

Social Media as a Tool to Disseminate ASD Mental Health Research / Les médias sociaux comme outils pour diffuser la recherche en santé mentale sur les troubles du spectre de l’autisme

Jonathan Weiss, Faculty of Health and CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, York University
Michael Johnny, RIR York

A commitment to social media can help support important messages in research being shared to diverse audiences.

 L’emploi des médias sociaux peut favoriser la diffusion à des publics divers d’importants messages issus de la recherche.

Jonathan Weiss

Jonathan Weiss

Social media is not a new medium for disseminating academic research but it is one that is relatively new and not widely utilized by academic researchers. Dr. Jonathan Weiss of York University and CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research has adopted social media as an important component of his collaboration, engagement and dissemination efforts. His rationale is embedded in the title of an early blog entry on his recently created ASD Mental Health blog, “Why Focus a Blog on Mental Health and Autism Spectrum Disorders? How Could We Not“? An understanding that research is only part of the continuum of desired changes to policy and practice around Autism, social media was determined to be an important tool to support engagement with project partners, research dissemination to diverse end users, and an opportunity to access additional information and contacts to continue to support the ongoing research agenda.

This is all aligned with a clear and comprehensive knowledge translation (KT) strategy for the project team. Simply put, the objectives of KT for this project are to enable research to inform decision making along the spectrum of Autism service. Informed by the leading work of Melanie Barwick who had led Scientist Knowledge Translation Training courses, an integrated KT strategy has been employed. This means ongoing engagement with stakeholders. Information will be shared in a timely manner and in relevant formats allowing for easy access to research to encourage specific recommendations to enable research to meet its objectives of helping inform policy and practice.

ASD Mental Health Chair logo

The Chair website and blog have been combined with the work of numerous project partners, to create a web of engagement that meets the needs of all involved. For ResearchImpact, this is an excellent example of how social media can be effectively used as part of a KT strategy. For the project team, it is an important tool to disseminate and access relevant information related to Autism and Mental Health research.

Visit the Chair in Autsim Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research website at asdmentalhealth.ca,  the ASD Mental Health blog at asdmentalhealth.blog.yorku.ca and the complete list of research summaries at asdmentalhealth.ca/research-summaries. And watch the ResearchImpact twitter feed @researchimpact for the rest of this week, where we will be tweeting about ASD Mental Health ResearchSnapshots.

Another KM-bee Leaves the Bee Hive / Une autre abeille de la mobilisation quite la ruche

David Phipps, RIR-York

Gary Myers, a former volunteer in York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit, has joined another York KMb Alumnus working in knowledge mobilization at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Their contributions to the field continue even beyond their work at York University.

Gary Myers, qui a été bénévole à l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de York, a rejoint un autre ancien élève de l’Unité de MdC de York au sein du Centre de toxicomanie et de santé mentale (CAMH). Leurs contributions au champ s’étendent bien au-delà de leur travail à l’Université York.

Jason Guriel

Jason Guriel

It gives us great pleasure here at York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit to have another one of our alumni fly the knowledge mobilization nest (or KM “bee”-hive) to land a knowledge mobilization job in the field. First, we saw Jason Guriel, one of our summer grad students – and poet extraordinaire – find his way to working at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health as Communications Associate at EENet – the Evidence Exchange Network at CAMH.

Now, another of our York U graduates, and Knowledge Mobilization Unit volunteers, Gary Myers, has been hired by CAMH to work as Knowledge Exchange Events and Resources Planner as part of the Provincial Systems Support Program (PSSP).

Working in the Knowledge Mobilization Unit, both gained experience in the world of knowledge mobilization, and both helped develop the ResearchSnapshot format of clear language research summaries that has been adopted by several institutions including CAMH. Gary also helped organize our successful Knowledge Mobilization Expos, and worked for several years as a volunteer research assistant in a Health Psychology Lab at York University.

Gary Myers

Gary Myers

Gary is an active member in the Canadian Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Community of Practice, and he is interested in how social media is being used for knowledge exchange. He has been writing a blog for the past few years about Knowledge Mobilization (Knowledge mobilization) at KMbeing.com.

Along with being co-author of a paper about clear language research summaries and a book chapter on the role of social media in knowledge mobilization, Gary was also a co-presenter at a UK knowledge broker conference “Bridging the Gap Between Research, Policy and Practice: The Importance of Intermediaries [knowledge brokers] in Producing Research Impact” in November 2011.

In addition to his knowledge mobilization experience, Gary worked in the hospitality industry as both a flight attendant and guest service agent dealing with a variety of high profile and diverse individuals from around the world.

Thank you Gary for your contributions to knowledge mobilization at York and good luck mobilizing knowledge (or at least transferring and exchanging it…. they use KTE) at CAMH.

Comment je suis devenu agent de soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances ? / How did I become a knowledge mobilization officer?

Jérôme Elissalde, RIR – UQAM

Jérôme Elissalde est agent de soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances au Service de la recherche et de la création de l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Petit survol de son parcours de la France au Québec, de la physique-chimie au soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances, tout en passant par la communication…

Jerome Elissalde is a knowledge mobilization officer at the Université of Québec at Montréal’s Research Office. This is a brief overview of his journey from France to Quebec, from physics-chemistry to knowledge mobilization support at the University of Quebec at Montreal , all that with an interlude in communication studies.

Jérôme ElissaldeMon nom est Jérôme Elissalde. Enfant, je rêve de devenir vulgarisateur scientifique. On me conseille de commencer par comprendre la démarche scientifique afin d’être mieux outillé pour l’expliquer (conseil qui peut se discuter). J’entre donc à l’université en France (mon pays d’origine) et étudie la physique et la chimie. En parallèle, j’anime des activités de découvertes scientifiques et techniques dans différentes associations d’éducation populaire. Ces activités sont utilisées comme des prétextes pour développer les capacités d’argumentation et d’esprit critique des enfants.

En complément de ma formation en sciences de la matière, j’assiste en auditeur libre à des cours sur l’histoire et la sociologie des sciences. Cela accélère mon départ vers une formation en communication et information scientifique et technique que je finalise par l’obtention d’un master. J’étudie alors la circulation sociale des savoirs, notamment  dans le cadre des controverses scientifiques qui surgissent lors des débats sociétaux. Cette expérience me convainc que ma place est dans le soutien à l’hybridation et à la pollinisation des idées et des connaissances, plutôt que dans que dans la vulgarisation scientifique.

Qu'est-ce qui m'allume?Je viens ensuite compléter mes études en communication sociale et publique au Québec. Grâce à l’accueil de Lise Renaud, directrice du Groupe de Recherche Médias et Santé de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, je crée un poste d’agent de « valorisation et de transfert de connaissances ». En 2008, ce poste devient « agent de mobilisation des connaissances». C’est là que je développe, expérimente et documente différentes facettes de la « mobilisation des connaissances». Cette expérience me permet notamment de documenter avec des collègues notre conception de la mobilisation des connaissances dans un cadre plus large de circulation des connaissances.

Depuis 2010, au Service de la Recherche et de la Création de cette même université, j’œuvre à la mise en place de services et d’outils de soutien à la mobilisation des connaissances avec mon collègue Luc Dancause. Ce soutien mise sur des stratégies allant de l’individu, jusqu’à l’institution

Les outilsMes outils ? La cartographie de l’information, la veille stratégique, le bouton à quatre trous, la collaboration, la curiosité… Je mise sur différentes stratégies, principalement la valorisation de l’existant et la mise en réseaux. Finalement, bien souvent, les principaux défis que je rencontre sont des défis de communication : la bonne information, dans le bon format, à la bonne personne, au bon moment et dans un contexte organisationnel propice.

Pour poursuivre et échanger sur les sujets présents dans ce billet sur twitter : @jelissalde  Autrement, autour d’une bonne bière nous pourrions parler de Jazz, de documentaires, de photographie… et de tout autre sujets que vous pourrez me faire découvrir !

Meet a Mobilizer – Sabah Haque / Faites la connaissance d’un agent de mobilisation – Sabah Haque

Sabah Haque, RIR – York

This past summer, the KMb Unit at York University was fortunate enough to work with three excellent students. Sabah Haque, a fourth year student in York’s Schulich School of Business, worked as a Research Translation Assistant developing ResearchSnapshot research summaries. She shares her story in this post.

Au cours de l’été, l’Unité de MdC de York University a eu la chance de travailler avec trois excellents étudiants. Sabah Haque, une étudiante de quatrième année à la Schulich School of Business de York, a travaillé au développement des résumés de recherche en langage clair (ResearchSnapshot) à titre d’Assistante à l’adaptation des recherches.

Sabah Haque

As long as there is a worthy cause, I’m in. I have a passion for working with growing organizations, especially when their objective is to create positive social change.  I enjoy using my strengths to do the groundwork and drive the mission forward. This summer, I jumped at the chance to join the KMb Unit at York because the work involved my passion and best skills all in one. Knowledge mobilization has given me the opportunity to use written communication for social innovation. I highly value being able to do work towards community well-being. At the KMb Unit, I contributed to the development of our repository of clear language ResearchSnapshot summaries.

The focus of this summer’s summary development was around Poverty Eradication. I collected research and examined poverty from a variety of perspectives, such as health, inequality, public policy, business and corporate social responsibility, homelessness, and social work. My interests in different subjects like the sciences, humanities and business proved to be an asset in my work because I summarized research from several unique disciplines.

Not only did I get the chance to learn a lot, but most importantly, I was also able to spread the knowledge. Through my work as a Research Translator, I sought to provide holistic insight on the root causes of poverty in Canada and around the world, so that research users can make informed decisions in the effort to eradicate poverty.

I believe knowledge mobilization is an effective method for bridging the gap between research and practice. I hope that the KMb unit continues to make greater impact in the years to come.

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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A Love Story: Working in KMb / Une histoire d’amour: travailler en MdC

Michael Johnny, RIR- YorkU

I have the best job within the university. I know this because I feel like I am 23 years old again!

J’ai le meilleur emploi de toute l’université. Je le sais parce que je me sens comme si j’avais de nouveau 23 ans!

This is likely not what you’re hoping this blog post to be.  Love stories are seldom about work, they are about people.   This is about my relationship with my work, does that make sense?

I tell people that I have the best job in the university.  Being a knowledge broker is extremely fulfilling; working within a service unit that is respected and appreciated, and has a capacity to help enable research to impact society is important.  I like it.  Check that, I love it.  It was in reflecting with some other brokers about my career path to get to this place of enlightened happiness that made me realize this is an important story.

When I was 23 years old I started my career as Aboriginal Literacy Coordinator within the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, a Friendship Centre which provides diverse social services to the Aboriginal population of the Greater Hamilton area.  It is not an understatement to say the work was transformative for me.  I quickly developed a passion for my work.  Complex service work that is rooted in values of honesty, respect and humility are not only important for my professional happiness, they are essential.  Over a nine-year span I grew within my role and found interests in research (eventually going back to graduate school to research the very work I was responsible for) and community development (working with other skilled professionals to advance issues important to the community).  I loved my work, and the relationship was reciprocal.

Yet as we want to do sometimes, we seek more.  Growth opportunities were no longer readily available for me in Hamilton in my organization and my interests in literacy provided me contract opportunities for many provincial and regional organizations.  The work was important but there was a missing element (or elements).

And sharing my favourite beer in a great pub in Ottawa, I was able to tell my current colleagues how the work I am doing in KMb has brought me back to a place I was more than 20 years ago.  KMb has rekindled my passion for work and at the core of this is that the work provides a complex service base (after all, we are a service unit) and in order to be successful it is critical to operate with values that are completely aligned with my early career work in Hamilton.

This is a love story I embrace every day, along with a deep sense of appreciation from having thought I may have lost it for good many years back.