Postcards from Congress Day 8 – Celebrating Canada’s Knowledge Mobilization Network

What Happened: Last day in Montreal, so it’s time for a little reflection. Our network has come of age. In 8 days, I have had the chance to speak with representatives, including other knowledge brokers, from all six RI-RIR universities.

Here are some highlights:

  • 130 quality conversations about RI-RIR and knowledge mobilization at our booth
  • Hosted a Congress Career Corner session about KMb on June 1
  • Presented at the SSHRC Impacts Workshop- “Understanding social sciences and humanities research outcomes and impact: from innovative metrics to success stories” on June 3
  • Attended and supported the national Knowledge Commons conversation
  • Continued to strengthen our relationships with colleagues at SSHRC, the Federation and within the broader KMb community

Why is this Important: Being Canada’s knowledge mobilization network, RI-RIR is now being recognized as a national leader that delivers programs and services. In addition, we are being acknowledged for our significant contributions to help inform the ongoing development of KMb in Canada.

Final Thoughts: The investments we have made over the past four years in attending Congress throughout Canada are paying off for us! The network is alive and well, and if delegates have any say, will grow. By the way, of those 130 conversations, nine other universities in Canada have asked how they can be a part of this network. I think this calls for a beer, to celebrate! See you in Fredericton in 2011!

Michael Johnny of RI-RIR York

Postcard from Congress Day 7 – Knowledge is King

What Happened: Today was spent with SSHRC, other Canadian research stakeholders and 17 grantees from the SSHRC “Capturing the Outcomes and Impacts” grants 2006-2008. We were exploring how our SSHRC funded projects might inform decisions at SSHRC to assist in measuring the impacts of research and articulating the benefits of research to various stakeholders from politicians to the Canadian public.

Why is it important: Telling our stories is important. Informing taxpayers and their elected officials of the outcomes and impacts of their investments in social sciences & humanities research ensures that our work remains relevant. Knowledge mobilization is an important element in this equation. If impact is the what (we are trying to achieve) then KMb is the how (we are going to achieve it) – thank you Gisele Yasmeen.

Final thoughts: Knowledge is King. Knowledge Mobilization is the “kingmaker”. Social Impact is the king’s legacy.

Michael Johnny of RI-RIR York

Postcards from Congress Day 6 – Big Ideas, Baby Steps

What Happened: UQAM hosted over 100 academics, students, community leaders and funders for a one-day conversation “to explore the role of knowledge in society”. This structured conversation is intended to support the development of a Knowledge Commons for Canada.

Why is this Important: The energy in the room was very positive and clearly people in the room felt very passionate about this initiative. Dr. Chad Gaffield, SSHRC President, who facilitated the morning plenary session shared, “we have not articulated the paradigm shift at Canadian universities across Canada” and this was significant as I felt a lack of a clear mission statement could be keeping this conversation at a level that lacks an action agenda. That said there were many highlights shared from the morning speakers and afternoon breakout sessions which the leadership can build on to strengthen the foundation of this initiative. It is a very important conversation, because as promoted, “there is a growing recognition that knowledge is not a monopoly of academics”. Check for more information.

Final Thoughts – There are two:

  1. When this shifts from a conversation to an action agenda then this will be a dynamic initiative and;
  2. A Keynote Listener- this is one of the most innovative ideas I have seen in some time!

Michael Johnny of RI-RIR York and Budd Hall of the OCBR at UVic

Post Cards from Congress Day 5 – The more things change….

What Happened: ResearchImpact lead a conversation in the University Affairs Career Corner about knowledge mobilization and career options inside, outside and after the academy. Thanks for Krista Jensen and Phillipe Dugas for participating. We also attended the new SSHRC Program Architecture presentation. See our previous blog on this topic here.

Why is this important: York is leading changes in KMb and students and faculty have the opportunity to embrace an evolving paradigm of engaged scholarship in order to take advantage of the opportunities that come with this change. And there will be change. And there will be opportunity – both in career choices that link research to practice/policy and in SSHRC grant funding that welcomes individual scholarship and engaged scholarship.

Final Thoughts: If you don’t ride the wave of change it will wash over you…

Gisele Yasmeen of SSHRC, Noreen Golfman of CFHSS and Brent Herbert-Copely of SSHRC

Postcards from Congress Day 4: Riding the Wave!

What Happened: We have been tracking our conversations with delegates while we are here at the ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) booth. This includes a full spectrum of queries (and trust me there has been a spectrum!). For example, on our first day 70% of requests asked where the registration desk is! Fast forward a few days, and on Sunday 70% of our conversations were substantial and related to knowledge mobilization

Why is this Important: Documenting the quantity and quality of our discussions should provide data to support our investment in attending Congress.

Final Thoughts: The annual nature of Congress also allows us to reflect on our growth and our role. I am struck this year with the quality of conversations, notably, ‘how can my university be part of this network’. We have also enjoyed conversations at our booth and at the evening President’s receptions with SSHRC staff, Gisele Yasmeen (VP Partnerships) and Christine Trauttmansdorff (Director, Policy, Planning and International Affairs) and Federation staff Jean-Marc Mangin (Executive Director) and Pierre Normand (Director, Communications). These collegial relationships we have developed with staff at SSHRC and the Federation demonstrates to me that we have truly arrived on the national scene. We have also connected with Budd Hall, Director of University of Victoria’s Office of Community Based Research and with Peter Levesque, with Knowledge Mobilization Works, who has arrived in Montreal today and is sharing booth space with ResearchImpact this week! The investment of four years seems to be paying off from this brokers’ perspective. I am enjoying the ride, and look forward to the growth opportunities from many more years of Congress participation!

Peter Levesque of Knowledge Mobilization Works and Michael Johnny of ResearchImpact- York at the RI-RIR booth

Postcards from Congress Day 3: Connected Understanding… Disconnected Book Fair

What Happened: The Congress Book Fair is the agora of Congress.  It usually holds the registration desk so is accessible to every one of the thousands of Congress delegates.  It holds all the book sellers and publishers.  It is the Congress home to SSHRC, CIHR, Canada Research Chairs and to ResearchImpact (and even to the Ottawa Police at Congress 2008 in Saskatoon!).  The Book Fair is the heart of Congress where scholars and graduate students mingle.  It’s where you feel the buzz.  But this year… not so much.

This year the Book Fair is spread through three buildings and on different floors within some of those buildings.  ResearchImpact is still having substantive conversations but we miss the cross pollination of buzzing next to our SSHRC friends.

Why is it important: Creating a buzz about social science and humanities research is part of what leaves a lasting impression on the minds of Congress delegates.  It can help politicians and journalists see the excitement that is possible when you connect research to timely topics.  The researchers are here but they are buzzing in their own scholarly associations.

Final Thoughts: Where else but the Book Fair can non-academics see the importance and connectivity of policy and practice relevant research but at the Book Fair?  The Book Fair will have less impact at Concordia’s Congress.  We are assured this will change next year at UNB (Fredericton, NB).  See you then.

Quiet morning at the Congress 2010 Book Fair

Pat Armstrong (LA&PS) at the ResearchImpact booth Congress 2010

Postcards from Congress Day 2: new ResearchImpact web features

What Happened: You have heard about KMb in Action. In response to one request from our web survey, we developed success stories of KMb in practice featuring stories of university researchers and their non-academic partners. Our online community also asked for greater access to KMb resources. We have expanded our web links section to become a new site called “KMb Bookmarks”. This section presents the latest KMb bookmarks that the ResearchImpact team has bookmarked through delicious, the social bookmarking site (see all of our delicious bookmarks at Our latest bookmarks are displayed as well as the tag cloud of all the 106 ResearchImpact bookmarks tagged with 195 tags.

Click on a tag and you’ll be taken to those bookmarks that are of interest to you. Click on one of the delicious links and you get to the site you’re interested in.

Why is it important: Social bookmarking is a way for ResearchImpact to share resources we think will be useful and interesting to you. You can also create your own delicious site and share your own interesting bookmarks with ResearchImpact.

Final Thoughts: Delicious is one more social networking tool that we are exploring for knowledge mobilization for Canada. Each year at Congress we release new web features. This year’s features, including the delicious KMb bookmarks, are responding to your needs. Thanks for your input.

David Phipps of RI-RIR York at the Congress 2010 booth

Postcards from Congress: Day 1 – ResearchImpact is Number 1 at Congress!

What Happened: ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) is exhibiting for the 4th year at Congress at the Bookfair. Among the 53 exhibitors that are located throughout Concordia, we have been assigned booth #1, and enjoy a premium location adjacent to the participant registration desk.

Why is it important: Exhibiting at Congress is extremely important to the RI-RIR network. With growing interest from the Canadian academic research community around knowledge mobilization, we want researchers to think of RI-RIR when they think about KMb.

Final Thoughts: In four years RI-RIR has undergone tremendous growth. We represent six universities now from our original two, and we also possess leadership in the theoretical and practical understanding/application of KMb. It is this knowledge that is driving our vision of RI-RIR to ultimately have an affiliation with all Canadian universities. And with that we look forward to our week in Montreal, and next year in Fredericton and the year afterward in Waterloo… and so on! We are number 1 for a reason, after all!

RI-RIR Booth at Congress 2010