FAQs

What is Social Innovation?

Social Innovation is the creation or application of research and knowledge to develop sustainable solutions to social, environmental and cultural challenges. Social Innovation results in more efficient and effective human services, more responsive public policies and a greater cultural understanding.

What is Knowledge Mobilization (KMb)?

Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) is a suite of services that enhances the two-way connection between researchers and research users so that research and evidence can inform decisions about public policy and professional practice. Knowledge mobilization encompasses methods of knowledge transfer, translation and exchange and extends them to include the co-production of knowledge. Knowledge mobilization turns research into action.

Knowledge mobilization (the how) enables social innovation (the what).

What is ResearchImpact?

ResearchImpact is Canada’s knowledge mobilization (KMb) network. ResearchImpact provides KMb services that connect university researchers with community and government organizations to support the use of research in decision-making about social programming, public policy and professional practice. Operating as a collaboration between York University and the University of Victoria since 2006, ResearchImpact has received support from York University, the University of Victoria, The Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Government of British Columbia, York Region District School Board, the Regional Municipality of York, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Who are 'knowledge creators' and 'knowledge users'?

These terms have been chosen to reflect the active, two-way process of exchange of information and expertise in KMb.

We understand that not all knowledge is created within the university, and yet we also understand that many people are uncomfortable with being called 'researchers'. The term, 'knowledge creator', therefore, describes anyone engaged in the production of new knowledge. For example, community-based research and communities-of-practice demonstrate that not all knowledge comes from university research. This term also includes those in government and community agencies who are involved in knowledge creation.

The term, 'knowledge user', describes any consumer or recipient of knowledge. This is viewed in broad terms, allowing researchers to see themselves, when appropriate, as knowledge users. ResearchImpact is designed to positively impact public policy, social practice, and professional programs - three areas that can help us to identify potential knowledge users.

What is a 'knowledge broker'?

A knowledge broker is an agent who facilitates: access to relevant knowledge, knowledge sources, and decision-makers; the linking of researchers and decision-makers to support the co-production of knowledge; and a culture of collaboration through activities which build knowledge networks.

Why should universities be interested in KMb? Why is KMb so important?

KMb at York University and University of Victoria will systematically connect university research in the social sciences and humanities with policy-makers and community organizations. KMb will support research to inform decision-making, leading to more effective policies and more responsive programs.

KMb broadens the reach of the academic community by building and strengthening synergistic partnerships, resulting in research projects that are aligned with social and community objectives.

Who funds KMb?

York University and the University of Victoria have received a three-year, federal tri-council grant to pilot the development of KMb Units through the Intellectual Property Management stream.  York Unviersity and University of Victoria also provide cash and in kind support for the KMb Units at each university. 

Why should I get involved in KMb?

Researchers should call the KMb Unit for answers to needs such as:

  • I need to find community partners to work with
  • I want to find someone who can put my research to use
  • I am working with partners but want to grow and sustain my research program
  • My graduate student wants work experience with policy-makers

Community and government organizations should call the KMb Unit for answers to needs such as:

  • We are doing our own research but we need help
  • We need to do research but do not know where to start
  • We need to find academic research to help us
  • We need to tap into research, knowledge, and expertise at a university

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