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 www.researchimpact.ca or contact info@researchimpact.ca

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« 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 www.researchimpact.ca ou contactez-nous à info@researchimpact.ca.

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)