Who is minding the “research to impact” shop?

by David Phipps, KT Lead, NeuroDevNet

In a recent knowledge mobilization journal club David Phipps (Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services at York University and KT Lead, NeuroDevNet) questioned, “Whose job is it to ensure research moves from creation to impact? The simple answer is no one. No one is minding the shop. Individuals are acting individually and not in a coordinated fashion.” No one except NCEs like NeuroDevNet.

LightBulb_DiscoveryThe role of a Network of Centres of Excellence is to “meet Canada’s needs to focus a critical mass of research resources on social and economic challenges, commercialize and apply more of its homegrown research breakthroughs, increase private-sector R&D, and train highly qualified people”. At NeuroDevNet we do this by focusing our research, training and knowledge translation efforts on three goals:

  1.  Earlier diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders
  2. Application of validated interventions for children with developmental disorders sooner
  3. Better supports for children with developmental disorders and their families

Research helps create new knowledge and new understanding in diagnostics, interventions and supports. It is the job of knowledge translation to help connect those researchers and that research to partners and receptors who can turn that research into new products, policies and services that then have an impact on the lives of children living with neurodevelopmental disorders and their children.

KTA framework for blogThere are many (MANY) frameworks and models for knowledge translation. A very popular framework is the knowledge to action (KTA) cycle adopted by CIHR as their framework for KT. This model has a knowledge creation/synthesis component and an implementation into action component. I recently reviewed a paper that asked if and how researchers are using the KTA Cycle.

The answer: not many and not completely.

Many researchers reference KTA but few actually implement it and none report using it in its entirety. In fact, it was never meant to be used from start to finish by a single investigator.

Really? As I asked in that journal club post, “Whose job is it to ensure research moves from creation to impact? The simple answer is no one. No one is minding the shop. Individuals are acting individually and not in a coordinated fashion.”

If no one is minding the shop no wonder it can take a reported average of 17 years for health research to move into clinical practice.

NCEs like NeuroDevNet are accelerating both discovery and application of research by operating in a coordinated fashion. In addition to coordinating research and training NeuroDevNet also provides professional KT services across the network and embeds KT as a partner in projects that have a high potential to create impacts on policies, products and services. In this manner NeuroDevNet KT supports the application of research and facilitates its transition towards impact.

NeuroDevNet is minding the neurodevelopmental shop. And the KT Core is maximizing the impact of research on the lives of children living with neurodevelopmental disorders.

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