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

Le Guide de l’AC est disponible sur le site Web des IRSC ( Il est aussi possible d’en obtenir une version papier en s’adressant par écrit à

Knowledge Translation and Transfer at U Guelph and OMAFRA

ResearchImpact is pleased to welcome this contribution from our KMb colleagues at OMAFRA and University of Guelph. UGeulph and OMAFRA are collaborating on a program of knowledge translation and transfer (KTT). This work complements the work of the Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship who are part of the ResearchImpact network. This piece first appeared in the OMAFRA-University of Guelph Research Yearbook. Thanks to Guelph for permission to re-post this piece authored by Alycia Moore. To all our friends in Guelph – welcome to Mobilize this!

The University of Guelph has a long history of working with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at the forefront of research and agricultural knowledge extension.

“It’s essential to get this research out to where it’s most useful,” says Bronwynne Wilton, who along with Evelyn Allen, joined the OMAFRA-U of G Partnership management group this year as knowledge mobilization program managers, popularly called “knowledge brokers.” In these roles, they manage Agri-Food and Rural Link, a hub for knowledge translation and transfer at the university.

One of their key responsibilities is matching the appropriate researchers with stakeholders who can use research results. That service is just one example of a wide range of knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) activities that accelerate the transfer of knowledge into use.

KTT, an important component of the partnership, also emphasizes the importance of demand-driven research, in what OMAFRA research analyst Elin Gwyn describes as a “push-pull knowledge exchange.” Stakeholders’ needs determine the research that needs to be done, while researchers disseminate the information using a variety of unique communication channels.

OMAFRA research analyst Duff MacKinnon says stakeholder engagement is essential for effective KTT program formation. “That includes setting research priorities and incorporating user involvement throughout the entire research process,” he says.

One of Agri-Food and Rural Link’s main programs is a call for project proposals for new KTT initiatives. This program is expected to lead to increased collaboration and communication between researchers, industry and the wider community, as they use KTT principles to reach out to audiences through established knowledge transfer methods as well as in innovative and unexpected ways.

The call is open to all OMAFRA and University of Guelph staff and faculty members, although collaboration with other universities, industry groups and businesses is encouraged. There will be calls for proposals three times this year.

“The Agri-Food and Rural Link program will improve the accessibility of research knowledge outside the traditional academic community,” says Wilton.

Reflections of a knowledge broker at KTKB2010: Part II

The irony of our growing knowledge mobilization profession is that we do not practice what we preach.  But we can have a good time while we figure out what to do about it! This is Part II of a two part series based on our experiences attending and facilitating the workshop.

We recently returned from a wonderful day long workshop about knowledge brokering.  ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RI-RIR) was pleased to be invited by the S&T Liaison Division of Environment Canada to work with the Canadian Water Network to develop the program for the conference.

First off, props to the S&T Liaison Division folks for their tireless work not only on the program but on all the logistics as well.  Nicely done team.

100 people with some connection to knowledge brokering came to share stories.  The majority were from government and because the workshop was a satellite to the Canadian Science Policy Conference the majority of those were from the federal government (with some notable exception such as RI-RIR friends Julia Lalande and Doris McWhorter from Ontario Ministry of Education and Elin Gwyn from OMAFRA).  There were many take away messages and they will all be reported on RI-RIR’s O3 KTKB2010 page but one observation I came away with is that we are all seeking spaces to mobilize knowledge about knowledge mobilization.  This is reminiscent of my charge in Mobilize This! where I charged knowledge brokers to practice what they preach and use evidence to inform their own brokering practice.  There is some thinking of how to move the “profession” forward in that regard but certainly groups like the Ontario KTE Community of Practice go some way to addressing this for Ontario based brokers.

And now I read the following from Amanda Cooper and Ben Levin who have developed the Research Supporting Practice in Education (RSPE) program at OISE, “we have a failure to mobilize knowledge about knowledge mobilization” [Evidence & Policy (2010) 6(3): 351-369].

How true. And yet how disappointing.  But in every gap there is an opportunity.

Amanda and Ben point out where there is good empirical work being conducted in Canada and they illustrate some of the breadth of the theoretical and conceptual work underway.  And they end on an optimistic note, “there are islands of excellence amid the sea of partial and ad hoc activity that dominates the landscape; so, there is potential to learn more and to improve theory and practice”.  Here’s another point of convergence between Amanda, Ben and the KTKB2010 workshop which also ended on a positive note charging the participants to stay network and stay tuned for developments linking local, regional and national Canadian efforts with international efforts moving towards the same goal of improving our KMb practice.

Stay tuned to Mobilize This! as we keep Canada’s KMb community up to date with these efforts.

ps.  Amanda and Ben also slip in this little ditty, “The importance of supporting [KMb] infrastructure is a point that does not always get sufficient attention in the KM literature.”  Amen to that.

Reflections from a knowledge broker at KTKB2010: Part I

York University and ResearchImpact had the chance to be partner with Environment Canada and the Canadian Water Network to host the Knowledge Translation and Brokering Workshop 2010.  This is Part I of a two part series based on our experiences attending and facilitating the workshop. Stay tuned for Part II, to be released shortly. Attending the KTKB 2010 Workshop helped me to discover that KMb theory truly meets KMb practice when brokers get together, share ideas, and have a good time.

This was my first foray into representing York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit and the ResearchImpact network at an external conference. It was an absolute thrill and an amazing learning opportunity. For me, the most exciting part of the whole workshop was discovering that there is an entire community of knowledge brokers around Canada engaged in similar work. I admired that we were able to come together under one roof, despite referring to our fields by a collection of  ‘K’ acronyms (KT, KB, KMb, KE, and the list goes on…). I had the chance to speak to well over a dozen people at our booth during breaks and at lunch time.

The one word I would use to sum up all the conversations I had would be: enthusiasm. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who was excited by the opportunities for engagement enabled by this workshop. For many, there was a desire to participate in a community of practice to better share ideas and collaborate on projects with other knowledge brokers. There was also a great deal of interest in signing up for our monthly newsletter and staying up to date on what our network was up to. Virtually every person I spoke to was also very impressed by the scale of ResearchImpact’s partnerships (we engage 6 universities countrywide).

I had the chance to participate in the ‘Effective Written Communication to Targeted Audiences’ session of the workshop which was led by Leah Brannen. My role was to briefly present on an example of knowledge translation (KT) done at York and show how it was similar to KT work done at Environment Canada.Courtney Price, an Environment Canada Science and Technology Liaison Officer, was first to present. She touched on her KT effort to synthesize a 20 year research study that looked at the impact of agricultural activity on Prairie wetlands.

The research I translated was very different from Courtney’s example. My presentation focused on a clear language research summary I developed based on a study by Prof. Isolde Daiski, who is a researcher and faculty member at York’s School of Nursing. Prof. Daiski’s research focused on identifying the health needs and priorities of the homeless through their own eyes. You can see the completed summary here and the accompanying video as well. In our presentations, both Courtney and I touched on the commonalities between our two knowledge translation approaches. It was surprising how two different areas of research (environmental and health) developed in different settings (government and the university) had quite a few things in common. Following our presentations, we engaged the group of participants in their own knowledge translation exercise, discussing results at the end.

I will never forget my experience at the KTKB 2010 workshop; I believe that we all walked away having reflected deeply on both the theory and practice of our work and made lasting friendships with knowledge brokers across Canada. If you would like to see more photos from the workshop, please go here.

Special Workshop on Knowledge Translation and Brokering, October 20, 2010 – Montréal, Québec

In less than a month, the Special Workshop on Knowledge Translation and Brokering will be held at the Hyatt Regency Montréal under the auspices of the Canadian Science Policy Conference.  This one day knowledge exchange and networking event is being organized by Environment Canada’s Science and Technology Liaison Division, ResearchImpact, the Canadian Water Network, and collaborating partners York University, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and the British High Commission Ottawa.

The workshop will be the first multi-sectoral event of its kind in Canada, bringing together participants in an interactive and exchanging forum to discuss this important field.  The workshop is attracting participants from across the country and abroad who hail from a range of sectors including government, academia, industry and community based organizations.  It is of particular interest to those working at the science-policy interface, operating as knowledge brokers and translators, or seeking to develop contacts and greater awareness in this emerging field.

The agenda features a keynote address by Andrew Campbell, former Executive Director, Land & Water Australia, an internationally recognized leader in knowledge translation and brokering.  There will be two participant-driven sessions that promise to stimulate lively debate among and between experts and practitioners.  Other highlights include three valuable skills and capacity building sessions that range from introductory (understanding knowledge mobilization) to applied (effective communication to targeted audiences and finding the right knowledge translation and brokering tools).  Learn more about the workshop and see the full agenda on the Environment Canada Science and Technology website.

Register now!  Registration for the workshop is open via the Canadian Science Policy Conference website.

Join in the conversation!  Follow the workshop through the @ResearchImpact twitter feed or through the hash tag #KTKB2010

Michael’s ‘Aha Moment’!

I am flattered to know someone asked for a blog based on a Tweet I contributed on the ResearchImpact Twitter feed.  First, a few observations and disclaimers.  I am glad blog posts do not mirror dissertations in rigour or length.  Next, I do not claim to be an authority on ‘outcomes’ or ‘impacts’ although my work is heavily invested in both terms/processes.  Lastly, I admit I carried around strong assumptions that the logic model for impact followed a sequential (and not very quick moving) flow from activity to outcome to impact. 

January 11 and 12, I had the pleasure of attending a Scientist Knowledge Translation Training event which was hosted by The Hospital for Sick Children and was led by Drs. Melanie Barwick and Donna Lockett .  Over two days, Melanie and Donna shared practical tools for developing Knowledge Translation (KT) plans, led discussions toward a more clear understanding of KT and provided valuable exercises to improve attendees capacity to understand the ‘user context’ for successful linkage and exchange, which is a foundation for successful KT.  The 25 attendees present were predominantly health practitioners who had KT responsibilities embedded into their job descriptions although there were some health researchers and policy professionals in attendance as well.

However, back to the notion of impact.  Never one to be terribly shy, I asked about the relationship between outcomes and impact, stating my feeling it was not possible to measure impact so closely to any KT transaction because impact was a by-product of outcomes.  What triggered this question was a slide that identified short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes.  Moreover, while this makes sense, some confusion arose for me with regard to ‘measuring impact’, which in my experience is a challenge in policy and practice-relevant research.  So when one of the facilitators commented that she would be seeking impact measures based on short-term behavioural or practice changes amongst the participants of the session, I was skeptical.  What followed was a brief discussion between us two about the relationship of outcome and impact and that it is possible to identify impact measure very closely after a KT transaction.

The ensuing discussion did not necessarily change my beliefs around impact in relation to outcomes.  Reflecting back, I would say they have expanded my beliefs.  Impact is no longer solely a longitudinal process which one must wait (pick your timeframe – 6 months, one year, five years, and so on) to identify behaviour or practice changes.

I look forward to further discussion on this topic, and the inevitable reading that I will embark upon to challenge and reinforce my expanded belief system on impact.  Given the significance of this topic for publicly funded researchers and practitioners, it is a conversation which we should all be engaged with, and a topic we should give voice to.  Hey, that could be a second ‘aha moment’!