Postcards from Congress – Day 7: Thanks to WLU and UW

So, it’s our last day (and a short one at that)! But even though it’s only a two hour window here at the Book Fair, there is opportunity for conversation. Take earlier this morning, for example- a visitor from the University of Waterloo who had “Mr. Congress” on his nametag! Last evening we had a chance to speak briefly with the President of Wilfrid Laurier University, Dr. Max Blouw. Congress truly is a meeting place. And as we get ready to pack up after a successful week (more later about reflections and numbers), we want to express our thanks to the host institutions and the Federation.

Having two universities hosting Congress is an excellent example of collaboration and this was not lost on the staff of RIR. Both institutions worked tirelessly to support delegates, even through the summer heat and a fall-like monsoon. A special shout out to student volunteers who went above and beyond to provide support. That kind of service does not go unnoticed!

For RIR, it was a week full of conversation, deliberation and innovation. York U and Memorial U’s knowledge brokers worked the exhibit booth and had opportunities to share important messages about our work, learn about our own respective services and build relationships within the RIR team that will strengthen our own efforts moving forward. So as we break out our packing tape, thanks to Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo for creating the meeting place for the RIR network!

Post Cards from Congress Day 6 – Congress is a Marathon

On day six of Congress, the second last day, we have rain. Union Station in Toronto is flooded. Waterloo airport is cancelling flights. And the book fair is quiet with scholars staying dry and collaborating in their own scholarly associations on University of Waterloo campus and avoiding the cold wet trek to Wilfrid Laurier University campus.

But the RIR booth is full with Michael Johnny, Krista Jensen and David Phipps from York and Bojan Furst from Memorial answering questions from book fair attendees. We are pleased to have welcomed questions from across Canada and even from American and British delegates. With the introduction of knowledge mobilization strategies in SSHRC Insight Grant applications, the KMb Units in the RIR network and the services we provide to grant applicants is the envy of many universities.

Looking back on a week of mobilizing knowledge about knowledge mobilisation at Congress 2012 we realize that this is definitely an emerging focus in Canadian schoalrship. We have had 174 substantive conversations about RIR and knowledge mobilization. We have spoken to faculty at 26 universities who wish their institution had a knowledge mobilization unit. There is appetite for and appreciation of knowledge mobilization as an integral part of engaged research and learning.

But at the end of day 6 we are pleased it’s quiet in the book fair. Time for one last President’s Reception. So long as the rain lets up.

And next year we go back to our knowledge mobilization roots. We look forward to joining our first knowledge mobilization collaborators at the University of Victoria which is hosting Congress 2013.

Front row l to r: Krista Jensen and David Phipps (York); Back row l to r: Bojan Furst (MUN) and Michael Johnny (York)

Post Cards from Congress Day 5 – Le nerf de la guerre

Le nerf de la guerre. Anglophones, please google “nerf de la guerre”.  It translates loosely to “the nerve of the war”. It has little do with war or nerves but you’ll not learn that on google.  It has the intent of meaning “the essence of…” or the core idea or principle of….

“Le nerf de la guerre” is how one of the scientific directors of the SSHRC HERD team described our submission under the SSHRC funded knowledge synthesis for leveraging public investments in higher education research and development to stimulate innovation. York U’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and our collaborator Allyson Hewitt (SIG MaRS) were awarded almost $25,000 to undertake a synthesis of the literature and emerging practices that support knowledge mobilization and social innovation. You will see in the concluding slide to my brief presentation (attached below) that the essence of our paper was: collaborate collaborate collaborate.

This was echoed by the Governor General in his opening address to Congress. He said of the Community Campus Collaboration Initiative that “it is 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”.

Collaborate collaborate collaborate. That’s the underlying message of this SSHRC HERD meeting, the Governor General’s Community Campus Collaborations Initiative and much of the dialogue at Congress 2012.

Collaboration seems to be “le neuf de la guerre” for engaged research and knowledge mobilization.

Thanks to Joanne Provencal and Naomi Nichols for their work on this paper

You can download a copy of this knowledge synthesis here- Knowledge Mobilization and Social Innovation: Integral Components of Innovation Strategies to Leverage Investment in Higher Education

You can also find my slides from my presentation to the SSHRC HERD meeting below

Post Cards from Congress – Day 4

Traffic at the ResearchImpact/RéseauImpactRechereche (RIR) booth has been steady and we have engaged with researchers from universities across Canada who have expressed interest in knowledge mobilization (KMb) and the RIR network.  And while our pens (thanks, York Research), luggage tags (thanks, Memorial University’s yaffle project) and our candy have been popular swag, it has been our recipe book which has been our best seller!

Allow us to explain.  No, we’re not publishers, so we’re really not ‘selling’ anything.  And ‘recipe book’ is how we’re referring to a peer reviewed article which David Phipps has published in 2011, titled A Report Detailing the Development of a University-Based Knowledge Mobilization Unit that Enhances Research Outreach and Engagement (accurate, but you see how ‘recipe book’ rolls off the tongue a little easier!).  At our booth we have an assortment of materials for delegates to take to inform them of our network, our programs and services, and how their institution can get involved in RIR.

Of all these items, it is the ‘recipe book’ that has been the most popular.  So popular, in fact, that we have had to print off additional copies and we’re only half way through Congress!  We’re excited and proud that academics, as well as community-based researchers, are so interested in the details of how York has developed and delivered institutional KMb.  This represents a significant step in our engagement with researchers at Congress.  And we are hopeful this interest will result in future growth for RIR!

Post Cards from Congress – Day 3: Thinking Pan-Canadian

There are lots of pan-Canadian scholarly associations at Congress. There are lots of book sellers and publishers at Congress. There are lots of individual scholars talking about their projects at Congress. And there are three pan-Canadian organizations that support them with a presence in the book fair, the agora of Congress: Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC); Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) and ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR). Our good friends at the Canada Foundation for Innovation are also here but without a booth.

The Governor General spoke of the Community Campus Collaboration Initiative when he opened Congress with his Big Thinking lecture. The CCC Initiative is a big tent stretching across the country. It is big enough to welcome RIR along with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Philanthropic Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada, SSHRC, Imagine Canada, Community Based Research Canada, CFHSS, Campus Community Partnerships for Health and Social Innovation Generation.  A very pan-Canadian tent.

Last night RIR, SSHRC and CFHSS enjoyed dinner with University of Victoria, hosts of Congress 2013. We spoke of the need to bring the country to Victoria and build on the efforts of Congress 2012 that has a theme of social innovation and collaboration. UVic hosted Community University Expo 2008. UVic is home to Office of Community Based Research and a Knowledge Mobilization Unit. We are looking to UVic to create its own big tent not only for all of Canada but for its local communities as well.

Post Cards from Congress – Day 2

Day 2 was a day of connecting and re-connecting.

We first welcomed Bojan Fürst to the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche booth at Congress.  In 2011, Bojan joined the Harris Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador as manager of Knowledge Mobilization. You can read more about Bojan in the Harris Centre’s newsletter The Regional.  In Bojan’s words, “As a manager of knowledge mobilization my job is to connect the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador communities and regions with the expertise that resides at Memorial. I am essentially a matchmaker and my tool of trade is our opportunity, research and expertise online database yaffle.ca. Yaffle is a true repository of ingenuity in this province. It is an essential component of a network of economic development practitioners, policy makers, experts, students and community champions. Yaffle would not be what it is without its users, so I do encourage all of you to register an account, and make it stronger with your own expertise and innovative ideas added to our collective knowledge.” Yaffle has been featured in a number of stories in Mobilize This! and we are pleased and proud to have a Yaffle banner and a Yaffle expert in the RIR booth.

Welcome Bojan, who fits right in not just as a knowledge broker but as someone who is always laughing and enjoying life.

Reconnecting with colleagues is always a joy of Congress. SSHRC, Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences, Centre for Community Based Research… all great colleagues who are great to reconnect to and are great knowledge mobilization colleagues you need to know to help connect your research with non-academic partners.

Don’t forget to save the dates of June 12-15, 2013, in Corner Brook Newfoundland for the next Community-University Expo.

Post Cards from Congress – Day 1

Congress Day 1 was a Governor General Day. See our blog on this announcing His Excellency’s appearance at Congress. As mentioned in the Governor General’s media advisory, ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) has been working with SSHRC and United Way Centraide Canada to develop the Community-Campus Collaboration’s Initiative.  In his Keynote Address to Congress titled “A True Democracy of Knowledge”, his Excellency said the CCC 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.” He quoted from Boyer’s book, Scholarship Reconsidered which presents some directions towards a true democracy of knowledge. Two decades ago Boyer wrote about the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching.

These different scholarships map well onto the Community-Campus Collaborations Initiative. Community based research is an important part of engaged discovery. Community service learning and experiential education are important parts of engaged teaching. Knowledge mobilization underpins engaged discovery and all three are critical for the scholarship of integration.

His Excellency also attended a panel offered by the Canada Foundation for Innovation that featured Yves Maufette, Vice-recteur à la recherche et à la creation, RIR-UQAM. The panel examined changing models of service to communities in Canada’s universities. Very engaged. Very knowledge mobilization.

Day 1 of Congress was a very engaged and engaging day.