Building a Stronger Future for Canadian Children and Youth Through Social Innovation / L’innovation sociale aide à bâtir un meilleur avenir pour les enfants et les jeunes du Canada

This story was originally posted on the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences blog on March 12, 2014 and is reposted here with permission.

Ce récit a été publié la première fois sur le site Fédération des Sciences Humaines, le 12 mars 2014. Il est repris ici avec permission. Version française disponible ici.

David J. Phipps, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, York University

On February 24, 2014 ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) and Senator Kelvin Ogilvie co-hosted an event demonstrating the impact of social sciences and humanities research on the lives of Canadian children and youth. We were pleased to be joined by the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada at this event.

The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Debra Pepler (Professor, York University), Danielle Quigley (Postdoctoral Fellow), Susan Climie (National Director of Training, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Debra Pepler (Professor, York University), Danielle Quigley (Postdoctoral Fellow), Susan Climie (National Director of Training, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

In his opening remarks to this event Senator Ogilvie commented, “A new language of innovation is emerging, that of social innovation…Research is certainly an important input into social innovation but research alone isn’t enough.”  The most successful products, the most effective policies, and the most beneficial community services are developed when researchers, community partners, policymakers and businesses work together to address challenges and find solutions.

“That is knowledge mobilization, making research useful to society. Knowledge mobilization seeks to support collaborations between researchers and those organizations able to turn research into action and thus maximize the economic and social impacts of research. Knowledge mobilization helps to enable social innovation,” said Senator Ogilvie.

Seven projects that have demonstrated a positive impact on the lives of children and youth were profiled at the event.  These seven projects featured partnerships between post-secondary institutions and municipal, provincial and federal agencies, from the Nunatsiavut Government (and we were joined by that Government’s president, Sarah Leo), RCMP, school boards, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Red Cross, Scouts Canada, Parachute Canada, a library and a public health agency.

Wladyslaw Lizon (MP, Mississauga-East - Cooksville), The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Robert Haché (Vice-President Research and Innovation, York University), Ted Hsu (MP, Kingston and the Isands) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

Wladyslaw Lizon (MP, Mississauga-East – Cooksville), The Honourable Kelvin Ogilvie (Senator), Robert Haché (Vice-President Research and Innovation, York University), Ted Hsu (MP, Kingston and the Isands) and Chad Gaffield (President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)

There are three elements that combine to make effective knowledge mobilization: 1) the right research; 2) the right researcher (and students); and, 3) the right partners. These seven projects were nominated by their institutions and selected by RIR because they fit these criteria.

In the words of Susan Clime, Director of Training for Big Brothers Big Sisters (partner with Deb Pepler from York University and PREVNet NCE, on the Healthy Relationships Training Module project), “It was wonderful to meet the Senators, MPs and Assistants – all of whom were so encouraging and supportive. It was helpful to hear what is important to each of them, as we all look to enhancing opportunities for children and youth and families in Canada”.

At the end of the day that was the goal of this event: to make connections between research, policy and practice.  For more information on those seven projects please click on the links below to see the poster and a ResearchSnapshot clear language research summary on one academic paper related to the project.

For a gallery of photos from the event please click here.

Trevor Bell, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador: Aullak, Sangilivallianginnatuk (Going Off, Growing Strong) “Going off” on the land helps Inuit youth improve mental health

Debra Pepler, York University: Giving adults the right training helps to prevent bullying

Barbara Morrongiello, University of Guelph: New training program results in better home supervision of 2-5 year old children

Donna Kotsopoulos, Wilfrid Laurier University: Improving math skills in pre-school aged children helps learning outcomes

Gira Bhatt, Kwantlen Polytechnic University: Protecting youth from violence and gang involvement is a collective effort

Nazeem Muhajarine, University of Saskatchewan: Smart neighbourhood design can enhance children’s physical activity

Bonnie Leadbeater, University of Victoria: Bullying prevention creates safer spaces for children and youth (presented by Tina Daniels from Carleton University)

RIR logo

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

David Phipps, RIR-York

RIR logos grouped

Ten universities. Sixteen people (brokers and directors). ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) held its annual meeting one day before the Canadian Knowledge Mobilization Forum. We started out with an overview of knowledge mobilization by Peter Levesque (@PeterLevesque) from Knowledge Mobilization Works (@KMbW_Updates) and the Institute for Knowledge Mobilization. Shawna Reibling (@mobilizeshawna) from Wilfrid Laurier University (RIR-WLU) spoke about knowledge mobilization practice at universities and in communities across Canada drawing connections between community engaged scholarship, engaged scholarship, community based research and knowledge mobilization all of which are practiced by the RIR partners. I then spoke about networks and Communities of Practice (CoP) and how the CoP model can help inform the how RIR members can create and derive value from the network.

We found out that when he was a boy Brent Sternig (RIR-UVic) wanted to be a patent agent, Steve (RIR-Kwantlen) wanted to be a basketball player, Melanie (RIR-UVic) wanted to be a clown and Krista (RIR-York) wanted to be a tea pot.

Moving on….

We used a dotmocracy process to identify priorities for the network over the next year. These included: internal communications and information sharing including capacity building; external communications including branding and social media; evaluation and metrics. Directors and Brokers identified the working groups they wished to support. Next step is to develop work plans to move these priorities forward.

We then ended with a presentation by Peter Lemish, U. Southern Illinois and the Mid-Western Knowledge Mobilization Network. Together we explored how two knowledge mobilization networks might be able to connect and create spaces for mutual learning.

Going round the room to collect personal reflections on the day there was a lot of “a-ha” and “so that’s what we could be” and one knowledge brokers said she had a renewed passion for her job.

Nice. Very nice.

Pizza and wine and a movie and we knew that not only something funny (tea pot) but something wonderful happened on the way to the Forum.

Funny thing happened on way to Forum

Welcome New ResearchImpact Universities / Le Réseau Impact Recherche accueille ses nouveaux membres

“On behalf of my colleagues, it is my pleasure to welcome four new universities to ResearchImpact, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network”, says Robert Haché, vice president research & innovation at York University.

The Université de Montreal, Carleton University, Wilfrid Laurier University and Kwantlen Polytechnic University now join the existing six ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) university members following a national call. Membership involves a commitment to participate in and support the network. New members identified a full time equivalent knowledge broker and a Director who would coordinate knowledge mobilization activities. The VP Research or equivalent at each university endorsed the application for membership.

ResearchImpact was originally funded by SSHRC and CIHR through an Intellectual Property Mobilization grant held by York University and partnered with the University of Victoria. Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, University du Quebec a Montreal, University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan joined ResearchImpact in 2010. Today the 10 member network acts as a community of practice, sharing tools and building capacity for institutional knowledge mobilization services. By supporting research engagement and dissemination, knowledge mobilization helps to maximize the economic, social and environmental impacts of university research and learning.

Here’s what the new RIR members are saying:

University of Montreal logo

“I mobilize, you transfer, we apply research-based knowledge… and the whole society benefits. Knowledge mobilization is a necessary tool if we intend to increase the impact of our research. Both research on knowledge transfer and experience gained in the various fields of excellence of our institution demonstrate the importance of linking knowledge mobilization activities to the reality of each sector and integrating them to research from the onset.  At the University of Montréal, because knowledge mobilization is at the core of our concerns individually as well as collectively, we are happy to join the ResearchImpact network to improve our practices and share our expertise. ”

Dominique Bérubé, Deputy Provost, Research, Operations and Consultation, University of Montréal

Kwantlen Polytechnic University logo

“Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is excited to be joining such a distinguished pan-Canadian group of universities committed to community knowledge mobilization. KPU has deep roots in the communities we serve. Authentic community engagement, through the development of applied community research and by offering service learning to all students, is a cornerstone of our new Strategic Plan. We look forward to a long term and mutually beneficial partnership with other RIR member universities.”

Gordon Lee, Provost and VP Academic, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Carleton University logo

“Community engagement is a part of Carleton’s DNA, whether it is based in our history of being built by the community for the community or our flagship research centres such as the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Now, more than ever, Canadian communities seek to maximize and mobilize results of locally driven, cross-sector solutions to the complex problems. RIR facilitates access to a leading-edge community of practice that will provide tools and resources to help Carleton take its commitment to working with communities to the next level.”

Carleton University

Wilfrid Laurier University logo

“Knowledge mobilization is a critical element in the research process. Knowledge mobilization forges critical connections between research and society I am excited by the opportunity to enhance the connection between the university and the community through participation in the ResearchImpact network. We have successfully encouraged faculty for many years to maximize the impact of their research through appropriate community involvement and look forward to working with ResearchImpact to increase this impact.”

Abby Goodrum, VP Research, Wilfrid Laurier University

Welcome on board! RIR is delighted to have 10 university members from across Canada.

For more information please see or contact


« Au nom de tous mes collègues, c’est avec grand plaisir que j’accueille quatre nouvelles universités dans le Réseau Impact Recherche, le réseau canadien de mobilisation des connaissances », a déclaré Robert Haché, vice-recteur à la recherche et à l’innovation de l’Université York.

À la suite d’une invitation lancée à l’échelle nationale, l’Université de Montréal, l’Université Carleton, l’Université Wilfrid-Laurier et l’Université polytechnique de Kwantlen se joignent aujourd’hui aux six universités déjà membres de ResearchImpact–RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR). Pour être admis dans le réseau, les adhérents se sont engagés à participer activement à ses activités et à les soutenir. Ils ont désigné un courtier ou une courtière de connaissances qui se consacre à temps plein à cette tâche, ainsi qu’une directrice ou un directeur qui coordonne les activités de mobilisation des connaissances (MdC). La candidature de chaque université avait reçu l’appui du vice-rectorat à la recherche (ou de l’unité équivalente).

À l’origine, le Réseau Impact Recherche a été financé par le Conseil de recherche en sciences humaines du Canada (CRSHC) et les Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada (IRSC), grâce à une subvention à la mobilisation de la propriété intellectuelle accordée à l’Université York, en partenariat avec l’Université de Victoria. En 2010, l’Université  Memorial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, l’Université du Québec à Montréal, l’Université de Guelph et l’Université de la Saskatchewan se joignaient au Réseau Impact Recherche. Aujourd’hui, nos 10 membres forment une communauté d’échange de pratiques au sein de laquelle ils diffusent leurs outils et leurs ressources, ce qui leur permet de renforcer la capacité des services de MdC de leur établissement respectif. En optimisant l’engagement envers la recherche et sa diffusion, la MdC aide à maximiser l’impact économique, social et environnemental de la recherche et des études universitaires.

Voici ce que les nouveaux membres du RIR ont à dire au sujet de leur adhésion :

Université de Montréal logo

Dominique Bérubé, Vice-rectrice adjointe à la recherche, opération et concertation, Université du Montréal

Université polytechnique Kwantlen logo

« L’Université polytechnique Kwantlen (KPU) est très enthousiaste à l’idée de se joindre au prestigieux groupe d’universités canadiennes qui se sont engagées envers la mobilisation communautaire des connaissances. KPU est solidement enracinée dans les communautés qu’elle dessert. L’engagement communautaire authentique, au moyen du développement de la recherche communautaire appliquée et de l’apprentissage par le travail bénévole, est la pierre d’assise de notre nouveau Plan stratégique. Nous sommes enchantés d’amorcer avec les autres universités membres du RIR un partenariat que nous souhaitons long et mutuellement bénéfique. »

Gordon Lee, Vice-recteur et vice-président aux affaires universitaires, Université  polytechnique de Kwantlen

Université Carleton logo

« L’engagement communautaire est inscrit dans les gènes de Carleton! On le voit dans le passé de notre établissement, bâti par la communauté et pour la communauté, mais aussi dans nos centres de recherche de tout premier plan, comme le Carleton Centre for Community Innovation. Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, au Canada, les communautés cherchent à maximiser et à mobiliser les résultats des solutions intersectorielles locales à des problèmes complexes. Le RIR nous ouvre les portes d’un réseau d’échange de pratiques d’avant-garde, grâce auquel nous aurons accès à des outils et des ressources qui permettront à Carleton d’aller plus loin encore dans son engagement à travailler avec les communautés. »

Université Carleton

Université Wilfrid-Laurier logo

« La mobilisation des connaissances est un élément essentiel du processus de recherche. Elle forge des liens vitaux entre la recherche et la société, et je suis très enthousiaste devant cette occasion qui s’offre à nous de renforcer la relation de notre université avec la communauté grâce à notre participation au Réseau Impact Recherche. Depuis de nombreuses années, nous encourageons nos professeurs à maximiser l’impact de leurs recherches en favorisant de leur part un engagement communautaire adéquat. En collaborant avec Réseau Impact Recherche, nous augmenterons encore cet impact, et nous avons très hâte de travailler en ce sens. »

Abby Goodrum, Vice-rectrice à la recherche, Université Wilfrid-Laurier

Bienvenue parmi nous! Le RIR se réjouit de pouvoir compter désormais sur dix universités membres, réparties dans tout le Canada.

Pour de plus amples renseignements, visitez le ou contactez-nous à

2010 by the Numbers

In a look back on 2010 from our ResearchImpact web perspective we see some good news but also recognize we have some room to grow.

Looking back on 2010 we see we had reason to celebrate.  By the numbers, 2010 was a good year for ResearchImpact’s web presence.   This is the third recent post that talks about numbers- on November 26, 2010, we presented a summary of our cumulative knowledge mobilization activity; and on December 23, 2010, we presented some 2010 numbers in our Merry Mobilizing card to all of our readers.  Looking back on 2010 from our web perspective we see some good news but also some room to grow.

Blogging: Mobilize This! received 15,872 views in 2009 and 35,848 in 2010 representing a 126% increase in views.  March to September was almost double the views of the rest of the year!  Thanks to all of you who are reading this right now. Feel free to leave a comment using the comment feature below.  This will let us know how we can better respond to your KMb needs.

ResearchImpact website: We remain constant in getting about 1 million hits per 8 months over the last 16 months.  We had a 24% increase in web hits over 2009 and a 53% increase in number of visitors (total month over month visitors in 2010 was 70,468).  At 55% our bounce rate isn’t great and people spend about 3 minutes on the site when they land.  It appears that our home page, RSS feed, ResearchSnapshots and KMb bookmarks are the most frequented pages.

ResearchImpact O3 community: Our O3 online collaboration platform wasn’t around much in 2009 for a comparison.  Looking at the last 6 months of 2010 vs. the first 6 months we see a 159% increase in visits (total visits in last half of 2010 were 2,539) with a bounce rate of only 30% (thanks for sticking around).  O3 is new to Ontario and it is new to us (thank you ORION for featuring us in your video and newsletter).   As we expand our collaborations we aim to continue to use O3 to support knowledge mobilization and co-creation of new knowledge between researchers and their research partners.

And finally, Twitter: We took a look at our twitter activity on March 30, 2010.  At that time we had 345 followers and were following 99.  As of January 4, 2011 we have 744 followers and are following 189.  Both numbers roughly doubled but we had slightly greater growth in followers.  According to Klout, a service that measures twitter presence and influence along three variables (true reach, amplification and network = Klout score), ResearchImpact had a Klout score of 52 out of a possible 100 on January 3, 2011. While we don’t know what that means (Oprah is about 80 for comparison), we are described as a “specialist”:

“You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.”

Specialist?  We’ll happily be known as a specialist.

Thanks to all who retweeted (50 unique retweeters retweeting 100 unique tweets for a total of 250 retweets) and for all who follow us.  Props and a big shout out to our top twitter followers below – @KMbeing standing out amongst them.

So, for 2011?  Stay the course.  Join us for a new feature, a tweet chat on Wednesday January 26, 2011 (“Tweet a Mobilizer”).  Work on the bounce rate for and also welcome more of our KMb colleagues from the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche universities as they post material on the website, this blog and develop their own twitter presence.  The first four years of ResearchImpact’s web presence has mostly been about York and York Region.  2011 will see our web presence become truly pan-Canadian.

KMb Team Canada

ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche continues to grow with the addition of three new knowledge brokers, with more to come.

I recall clearly my excitement in February 2006, when conducting a scan of university KMb activity I learned there was a third person who was working in Canada as a university-wide knowledge broker. Joaquin Trapero of the University of Victoria and myself had been hired through the support of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Intellectual Property Mobilization (IPM) grant. We discovered David Yetman, formerly of the Harris Centre at Memorial University and who is now at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), was working in a similar capacity. This expansion of our cohort by 50% was encouraging and enlightening. The three of us communicated regularly, sharing good practices in KMb, and as a result created a university-based Community of Practice (CoP) for the emerging work of KMb led by Canadian universities.

Fast forward over four and a half years later and the three of us remain engaged in knowledge mobilization in some capacity (delivery, strategic leadership, practitioner and researcher). However, our emerging and loosely constructed CoP has now germinated into an active national network covering regions from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island. Our network has expanded by 100%, as we now work with three other universities within the ResearchImpact – Réseau Impact Recherche (RI-RIR) network. In addition to the University of Vicortia, York and Memorial, who has just hired Bojan Fürst, we now work with the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), University of Guelph and University of Saskatchewan. And to demonstrate the power of this brokering network, UQAM is hiring two brokers (welcome Luc Dancause and Jérôme Elissalde) and Saskatchewan is exploring similar capacity. Guelph is also hiring a broker to work with Linda Hawkins and UVic is hiring a KMb Coordinator to work with Joaquin.

September 23 and 24 saw RI-RIR leaders meet for two days to discuss strategic and operational opportunities. The KMb brokers were joined by the Vice Presidents of Research from York, UVic, USask and UQAM as well as the Dean of Social Sciences from University of Guelph. We spent Thursday developing a shared vision for ResearchImpact – Reseau Impact Recherche. Thursday evening the brokers went out for dinner and drinks and Friday we rolled up our sleeves to put operational meat onto the strategic bones the VPs built for us.

In the quiet moments between conversation and presentations, it was nice to reflect back to that February day when the national broker network grew by 50%! We continue to grow, and the excitement for me remains high. What seemed like an ideological vision that every university in Canada would have an institutional knowledge broker is now grounded in possibility based on almost five years of activity, research and development, recent growth and a shared vision by more and more universities in Canada.

It’s exciting times for university knowledge brokers in Canada! We are now pleased to introduce you to KMb Team Canada. Bienvenue à tous nos courtiers MdC.

Andrei Sedoff (York U)                 Bojan Fürst (MUN)            Caroline Roger (UQAM)

Dominique Robitaille (UQAM)      David Phipps (York U)        Jennifer Adams Warburton (MUN)

Joaquin Trapero (UVIC)                      Jérôme Elissalde (UQAM)            Krista Jensen (York   U)

Linda Hawkins (U Guelph)                                                     Luc Dancause (UQAM)

Laura Zink (U Saskatchewan)                        Michael Johnny (York U)

Susan Blum (U Saskatchewan)