Knowledge mobilizers: putting research into practice (and policy)

Maximizing the impact of research on society depends on universities brokering the right partnerships with public policy, says David Phipps, director of the Office of Research Services at York University – and Canada is leading the way, reported the United Kingdom’s The Guardian newspaper Oct. 9. “About 70% of our partners come from the community sector and 30% from the government sector. It is the job of the knowledge brokers at the knowledge mobilisation unit to select the right service(s) for the right researcher and partner. We have three full time brokers, two of whom work on campus and one in the community, based with our principal community partner, the United Way York Region,” Phipps told The Guardian. Between January 2006 and December 2011 the unit brokered 246 relationships involving 240 academics (16% of the university’s entire faculty). Read full story.

The link between drug fast-tracking and Canada’s XL meat scare
If the XL Foods tainted meat debacle wasn’t enough, now we have more evidence that casual deregulation comes at a cost to human health. That evidence is a study just published online in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine. It shows that new drugs approved through a special six-month fast-track process by Health Canada are significantly more likely to cause health problems. But, as report author Dr. Joel Lexchin told the Toronto Star Oct. 9, almost three quarters of the drugs that were fast-tracked provided “little new therapeutic benefit.” Read full story.

The Storefront on Lawrence Ave. gets reimagined, from the grassroots up
York student Ajeev Bhatia helped design and build a spanking new Eco-Food Hub community kitchen in Scarborough. In front of him is an artist’s rendering of an innovative raised water-filtration system that is awaiting a patent, with his name among the authorship, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 11 in an article about the Storefront, Bhatia and the Community Design Initiative Youth program. Read full story.

Rob Ford conflict of interest case: Toronto mayor defends himself
Trevor Farrow, a legal ethics expert at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, said the conflict-of-interest rules were designed to allow for human mistakes while “setting a fairly high standard to protect an important institution, which is our municipal government structure.It’ll be key what evidence is given at that hearing in terms of what the mayor knew or should have known, in terms of this notion of inadvertence, ignorance or an error in judgment,” he said, as reported by the Huffington Post Oct. 11. Read full story.

Realizing real estate dreams
To me, real estate has always been one of the sexiest industries, wrote York University student Amber Lam, Vancouver Sun Oct. 11. Lam is in her fourth year of a joint MBA/JD program at the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School. When I began my MBA at Schulich, it seemed only natural to specialize in the Program in Real Estate & Infrastructure. I took six of the seven courses offered in the program last year and I could not ask for a better academic setting, she said. Read full story.