York University’s Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit, a national leader with an international reputation for connecting research and researchers to maximize the impact of their findings on society, is celebrating 10 years of service.
Since it was founded in February 2006, the KMb Unit has created significant impacts by helping to secure more than $42.9 million in federal research funding and $1.14 million in funding from community partners. It has engaged 323 faculty members and 167 graduate students from across the University in KMb activities, it has hosted 636 information sessions and created 422 brokering opportunities.
“Throughout the years, York’s award-winning Knowledge Mobilization Unit has helped to strengthen the relationship between research, policy and practice on a global scale,” said Robert Haché, York’s vice-president research & innovation.
The KMb Unit has been sought out to provide input into organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, New Zealand, Columbia and Argentina. “We are delighted to be celebrating 10 years of service and look forward to advancing social innovation through engaged scholarship,” said Haché.
The work of the KMb Unit assisted the Youth Emergency Shelter of Peterborough in creating a new life skills mentoring program. It has helped York research inform the cooling policies for the City of Toronto during extreme heat alerts. It has also helped develop the Toronto Weather Wise Committee and the United Way York Region create a new funding stream called Strength Investments that are helping to build civic muscle in York Region. Based on a connection made by the KMb Unit, York research helped the Regional Municipality of York expand their immigrant settlement services by investing over $20 million, creating 86 jobs and delivering more than 48,000 services over a five-year period.
York’s KMb Unit has enjoyed other successes. In 2012, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit received the Knowledge Economy Network Best Practice Award from the European-based Knowledge Economy Network (KEN). A year later, David Phipps, executive director, research and innovation services, which includes York University’s KMb Unit, was named the most influential knowledge broker in Canada, according to a report by Knowledge Mobilization Works, a consulting and training company based in Ottawa. Currently, the KMb Unit is collaborating with colleagues from the UK on a project that will develop capacity for university-based knowledge mobilization professionals.
York University is also a founding member of ResearchImpact (RIR), a pan-Canadian network of 12 universities committed to maximizing the impact of academic research for the social, economic, environmental and health benefits of Canadians. RIR is committed to developing institutional capacities to support knowledge mobilization by developing and sharing knowledge mobilization best practices, services and tools.
Since 2012, the KMb Unit has partnered with NeuroDevNet, a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), which is dedicated to understanding brain development and to helping children and their families overcome the challenges of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and cerebral palsy, to maximize the social and economic impacts of NeuroDevNet’s investments in research and training.
Founded in February 2006, the unit provides a suite of activities that enhances the two-way connection between researchers and research users. The KMb Unit employs knowledge brokers who connect research and people to maximize the social, economic and environmental impacts of research. It is dedicated to knowledge brokering and partnership support, training and capacity building, and supporting research grants and research event planning.