Research Impact Canada leaps onto international stage, welcomes three new members

On August 11, 2017, Robert Haché, Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University and Chair of the Executive Lead Committee of Research Impact Canada, announced that three new institutional members have joined Canada’s expanding knowledge mobilization network.

Robert Haché

“We are pleased to welcome the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Western University as new institutional members. Additionally, we welcome the first international affiliate member: the United Kingdom’s University of Brighton,” said Haché. “These universities bring unique strengths to the network with expertise in knowledge mobilization, community engagement and research collaborations with partners from the public, private and non-profit organizations,” he added.

Research Impact Canada is a network of 14 universities stretching across Canada from Memorial University of Newfoundland to the University of Victoria. The addition of the University of Brighton represents a leap onto the international stage. The network’s goals are to support the engagement of faculty, students and their non-academic research partners which in turn maximizes the social, economic, health, cultural and environmental impacts of research. This vital work will ultimately inform decision-makers, policy-makers, and practitioners, working in community, industry and government partners.

New members bring unique expertise

Research Impact Canada provides a unique opportunity for institutions to learn from each other and build competencies. In this spirit, the three new members have much to offer the network, for example:

  • UBC's long standing commitments such as the UBC Learning Exchange and more recent knowledge mobilization initiatives such as the Policy Studio in the new UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
  • Western University’s “knowledge stewardship” program, a collaboration between the research office and libraries; and
  • The University of Brighton’s internationally recognized Community University Partnership Programme, which supports the many ways in which the University and community can work together.
Benefits to joining

Research Impact Canada bridges the gap between research and real-world application and impact, a core value in today’s academic environment. The Report from the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science articulated this best: “Research is essential to the health, prosperity, and security of Canadians and to our efforts to foster a creative, inclusive, and vibrant society.”

In line with this thinking, successful grant applications often link research to impact; programs such as the Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Grants are built on an expectation that research will have a lasting impact on Canadians.

McMaster University provides a prime example of the benefits of joining the network. This University won the 2017 SSHRC Award of Excellence for Communications (May 31, 2017). It did this through modifying the ResearchSnapshot clear language summary series that Research Impact Canada had piloted. McMaster adapted the formatting and created an award-winning social media strategy for their "Research Snaps."

For more information, visit the Research Impact Canada website or contact David Phipps, Network Manager (info@researchimpact.ca). Follow the group on Twitter @researchimpact. To read the Report from the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science, visit the website. For more context, read the Conference Board of Canada’s publication Beyond Citation.

This article was reproduced from the September 2017 issue of the newsletter CARA Connection.