Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
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Networks of Centres of Excellence Annual Meeting

Panel: Engaging Target Communities

Knowledge mobilization and knowledge translation are key factors in ensuring the engagement of end users and ensuring that knowledge generated by researchers leads to maximum benefits for Canadians. Networks and centres have developed and adopted a wide range of best practices for engaging target communities.

Key points

  • Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence (PREVNet) KM-NCE
    • Bridging the gap between science and practice requires getting evidence-based knowledge and tools into the hands of those who can put them to use. For PREVNet, those are parents, teachers and organizations that work with young people, as well as young people themselves.
    • PREVNet takes a shared approach to knowledge creation – a non-hierarchical perspective treats both network researchers and end-users as experts. Partnerships begin with listening and identifying goals, moving into specific strategies and programs that will work in that setting. It is critical for them to understand partners’ organizational culture, management structure and needs.
  • ArcticNet NCE
    • The network needs to share knowledge with the private sector, the public and three levels of government. ArcticNet’s Board of Directors reflects this wide range of stakeholders and end-users of the knowledge, with representatives at the senior level from Inuit organizations, industry, government and academia.
    • Partnerships with other countries that have Arctic interests extend ArcticNet’s ability to share and generate knowledge, and engage target communities.
    • Successful knowledge mobilization requires making the science relevant and accessible to all audiences. ArcticNet’s solution includes requiring academic researchers to put their findings into integrated regional impact assessments (IRIS) using accessible language. IRIS has become a major KM tool in a region where all stakeholders need to make sound decisions in areas such as sovereignty, economic and social development, and environmental protection.
    • The terms of ArcticNet’s private sector partnerships include making the data publicly available, allowing all stakeholders to rely on shared and accurate information when making decisions, and researchers to publish results freely.
  • Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM) BL-NCE
    • Despite the highly competitive nature of the pharmaceutical industry, the escalating costs and high risks of R&D have led companies to be more open to working together.
    • CQDM’s knowledge mobilization model provides a space for the pharmaceutical industry to share the costs, risks and results of early stage research. Its approach is characterized by a strong, collaborative R&D ecosystem that includes the academic and private sectors.
    • Through CQDM’s mentorship program, partner organizations assign an international expert to each project, who shares data, materials and resources with investigators and provides feedback to ensure results are aligned with industry needs. Mentors also act as champions within their own organizations.
  • Canadian Stroke Network (CSN) NCE
    • CSN’s knowledge mobilization and engagement challenge involved closing the large gap between the available knowledge about best practices for treatment and prevention of stroke, and what patients actually received.
    • The CSN succeeded in mobilizing knowledge that changed stroke care policies and practices across the country and internationally. The network successfully changed the status quo in the health care system, saving lives and costs.
    • Their strategy took them through five steps: developing the idea, getting stakeholders to buy in, catalyzing change at the local level, providing tools and support for new ways of doing things, and following up to ensure the changes were sustained.
    • The approach was partner driven, recognizing that change had to happen at the provincial and regional levels where health care is delivered.
    • A shortage of commercial opportunities related to stroke led the CSN to challenge the NCE norm and move towards developing and sharing policies, best practices and tools.
    • The CSN’s ongoing knowledge mobilization legacy includes the annual Canadian Stroke Congress and expanding the reach of Telestroke initiatives.