Stakeholder Engagement for Research Uptake / La participation des intervenants dans l’exploitation de la recherche

This week’s guest post comes from York University’s ResearchImpact Blog, MobilizeThis! It was first published on April 22, 2016 and is reposted here with permission. 

Source: Stakeholder Engagement for Research Uptake / La participation des intervenants dans l’exploitation de la recherche

by: David Phipps, KT Lead, NeuroDevNet

Last updated in 2013 (so not new, but new to me), DFID UK has produced a guide to aid in research uptake. This guide helps researchers work with stakeholders to maximize the opportunities for research to be taken up and used by organizations making new products, developing policies and/or delivering services. Using this guide will help facilitate stakeholder engagement to enable research uptake.

Le ministère du Développement international du Royaume-Uni, le DFID, a mis à jour en 2013 (pas franchement nouveau, mais pour moi, oui) un guide pour faciliter l’exploitation des travaux de recherche. Ce guide aide les chercheurs à collaborer avec les intervenants, dans le but de maximiser les occasions d’utiliser la recherche dans la fabrication de nouveaux produits, l’élaboration de politiques ou la prestation de services. Grâce à ce guide, on aura plus de facilité à convaincre les intervenants d’exploiter activement les résultats de la recherche.

We all know (or we all should know) it is important to engage end users (especially lived experience) upstream in the research program. How else do you know your research is going to help meet the needs of people who can benefit from the policies, products and services that are enabled by your research?

The private sector calls this consumer driven design.

Communicators always advocate knowing your audience.

Knowledge mobilizers call this stakeholder engagement.

There is literature on stakeholder engagement (see KMb journal club post). There are methods like the policy dialogue (see another KMb journal club post). Jonathan Weiss (CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, York University) embeds stakeholder engagement in the work of his Chair and reports annually on his efforts (see his 2014 Annual Report as an example).

But where is the help to help the rest of us?

A researcher in the NeuroDevNet network recently forwarded a guide for research uptake. Research uptake is that moment when a non-academic research partner seeks to take the results of the research in house to inform decisions about their own policies, products and services. This is a critical step in mediating the pathway from research to impact. And effective stakeholder engagement can facilitate this moment of uptake.

Thanks to DFID (UK Department for International Development) this guide book and checklist (yes, there is even a checklist!) are posted at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-uptake-guidance

DFID Research_uptake_guidance figure

As instructed by this guide, effective stakeholder engagement has four stages each with three or four activities described in each stage:

  1. Stakeholder engagement: working through informal networks and mapping out and connecting with relevant stakeholders
  1. Capacity building: not all non-academic research partners have the capacity to take up research evidence. Building capacity for end user uptake is an important element…but is this the job of the researcher or possibly for allied intermediary organizations?
  1. Communicating: synthesizing results, planning communications and publishing research results in accessible formats are all important to facilitate research uptake.
  1. Monitoring and Evaluation: create a logic model including indicators to measure progress at each stage, gather data and feedback results into your research and research uptake processes.

DFID provides a note on advocacy and influencing decisions in partner organizations. DFID “encourages programs to foster evidence informed discussions of research evidence and to encourage decision makers to make use of the full range if research evidence on a given topic. However, research programs should not be lobbying for particular policy changes based on their research results.”

Really? I believe research institutions need to strive for neutrality but researchers themselves are often highly invested in a particular policy position. Why else do media channels ask academic researchers to comment on government positions? While research methods strive to remove bias from the evidence, that unbiased evidence is not necessarily value free from the researcher’s perspective.

And a note to ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche universities and other institutions with a knowledge mobilization mandate…. we don’t have discipline specific stakeholders but we do have institutional stakeholders such as United Way, community associations, municipal and provincial partners, Chambers of Commerce, etc. These institutional stakeholders should be part of our own stakeholder engagement efforts.

Thanks to Anneliese Poetz, Manager KT Core, NeuroDevNet for passing this along and for writing about her own tips for stakeholder engagement on the NeuroDevNet Blog, KT Core-ner.

 

How to plan and conduct an effective stakeholder consultation: 7 top tips (Part 1)

by: Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

I wanted to write about top tips for conducting a stakeholder consultation because it is so important to do it right in order to maximize your time and financial investment. The people in attendance are willing to give you the greatest gifts you could receive: their time and their wisdom. It is therefore your obligation to carefully construct the event. There have been other blogs written about stakeholder consultation, that you may also find useful, but I wanted to write about tips I have learned through my own experience.  With that, here are my top tips for conducting a stakeholder consultation to inform your research and KT:

start early

Start planning as early as possible

1) Start Early: You need to start planning at least 6-8 months in advance of the date you plan to hold your event. At this stage you should know: why you need to hold a stakeholder consultation including a general sketch of what you need to know from your stakeholders. Once you know this, you should also be able to roughly sketch out the categories and types of stakeholders you need to invite. Starting early is especially important if you plan to invite Chief Medical Officers of Health, as they need this much notice to be able to get it into their calendars.

2) Write a purpose statement: A purpose statement should be broad and should clearly establish the overarching goal of the meeting. Once you know (as in #1) why you need to hold a stakeholder consultation this will be relatively easy. The purpose statement quickly summarizes why you are holding the meeting, but should include information such as: i) what is the nature of the meeting (e.g. ‘…to provide a forum for information exchange and open discussion….’), ii) who will be attending the meeting (e.g. ‘…between public health practitioners and researchers…’), iii) what the outcome of the meeting is intended to be (e.g. ‘…how current knowledge on partner notification could be incorporated into practice and how knowledge gaps could be addressed’). In this way, it gives participants a quick overview of what the meeting will be about and why their input is important toward achieving the meeting’s outcome(s).

Here is an example of a purpose statement:

To provide a forum for information exchange and open discussion between public health practitioners and researchers on how current knowledge on partner notification could be incorporated into practice and how knowledge gaps could be addressed.

Clearly articulate purpose and objectives of the meeting

Clearly articulate purpose and objectives of the meeting

3) Clearly articulate the objectives of the meeting: The objectives should be clearly articulated, and should relate to but be more specific than the purpose statement. It is critical to do this, and early on in the process. The objectives represent the anchor to which the rest of the meeting will be tethered. In other words, the people you invite, the activities you do, the focus questions you ask, will all be informed by what you are trying to achieve. Sadly, I have observed all too often that this step is neglected in favour of brainstorming and deciding on activities which inevitably end up being a mish mash of disconnected “stuff” that rarely results in a useful set of outcomes.   Usually you would have at least 2-3 objectives for the meeting, but you could have up to around 6, 7 or even 8 depending on what you are trying to achieve and how long the meeting is. Here are example objectives that nest under the purpose statement example above:

  • Provide participants with an overview of [organization name/researcher or project team name(s)] partner notification project and findings to date
  • Provide participants with opportunities to exchange information and ideas on partner notification strategies that have been attempted in local public health jurisdictions
  • Identify ways to incorporate knowledge from research and local experience into policy and practice
  • Identify knowledge gaps related to partner notification and ways to address them
  • Identify a potential role and next steps for [organization/researcher or project team name(s)] to facilitate the improvement of partner notification programs in Canada

 

Linking documentation together makes your meeting stronger

Linking documentation together makes your meeting stronger

4) Link all of your documentation: all documents for the meeting including (but not limited to) the meeting agenda, invitation letters, consistent breakout group/report back forms, evaluation forms should repeat the purpose statement and objectives at the top. Before the event, it helps the meeting organizers and planners to ensure activities are aligned with the purpose and help to achieve the meeting’s objectives as these various documents are being drafted and reviewed. At the event, it shows your attendees that you respect their time by having prepared a seamless and well-organized meeting package (the final documents should also be formatted uniformly). It also helps to ground the meeting as it unfolds, and provides a visual reminder to facilitators and participants of the purpose in case the discussion(s) begin to veer off track. It is especially important to ask participants on the evaluation forms how well they believe the meeting achieved its objectives.

5) Draft an agenda before sending out invitations: your invitees will likely have to book time off work or otherwise rearrange their schedules to attend your meeting, so they need to be able to determine whether their attendance can be justified. In many cases they will need to show the agenda to their employer (which is one reason why it is important to state the purpose and objectives at the top of the agenda) in order to gain approval to take leave from the office to be able to attend.

6) Piggyback onto another event: a popular option for conducting a stakeholder consultation is to tack it onto another event such as a conference that you know there is a good chance your stakeholders will be attending. This greatly cuts down on transportation costs, because if you are paying for your participants’ travel expenses all you have to do is pay for an extra hotel night instead of paying for their airfare as well. The only tricky part is that if the conference is not being coordinated by your own organization it can be difficult to gain access to the attendee list. If you don’t know which of your stakeholders will be attending it can make it a little more difficult to extend invitations strategically. However, you can also target local stakeholders in the city where the event is taking place; if you reach out and ask those stakeholders to come to your consultation it doesn’t really matter if they are already attending the other event because there will be no airfare/travel costs for them to attend anyway (the only expense will be food but you would have to provide that anyway).

Have good food at your consultation with stakeholders

Have good food for your stakeholders

7) Have good food: it’s the least you can do to thank people for their attendance, and it makes the day that much more enjoyable for them. Plus, the benefit to you is that your attendees will be able to think/ provide better input for you if they have had enough (and good) food and coffee. I usually ask the venue caterers to leave the coffee/tea and food out (as opposed to coming and picking up the food right after lunch) so people can ‘graze’ if they get hungry or need to be caffeinated throughout the meeting.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and would like advice on how to plan your stakeholder consultation (or other stakeholder engagement activities), contact the KT Core.

Embedded KT Support within Project Teams – working the “Co-Produced Pathway to Impact” for NeuroDevNet NCE

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

In a recent blog post we told you about the development of a “Hybrid” tool that combines aspects of KT Planning with principles of project management. While this tool is appropriate for use by any researcher or trainee, we primarily developed it for use by NeuroDevNet’s 4 High Impact Projects (HIPs). The HIPs were chosen from existing NeuroDevNet research projects after the Research Management Committee directed that NeuroDevNet focus on 4-5 projects that had the “highest potential for creating impacts on diagnostics, interventions and services” during Cycle II. The idea is that by working closely with a small number of projects we can maximize the chances we will have specific examples of how we have achieved impact during Cycle II, to best position NeuroDevNet for Cycle III renewal. The process took several months, and began with a call to PIs to ask them to select projects within their programs that would fit the criteria to become a HIP. The KT Core made recommendations and the final High Impact Projects were approved by Dan Goldowitz, Scientific Director for NeuroDevNet.

Social ABCs High Impact Project Team members meeting with KT Core.

Social ABCs (ASD) High Impact Project Team members meeting with KT Core.

We provided the 4 HIPs with the Hybrid tool to use for drafting their KT plans for the next 5 years (Cycle II for NeuroDevNet). Over the course of this summer, David Phipps (KT Lead, NeuroDevNet) and I met with 3 out of the 4 HIP project teams for 1.5-2 days in-person to review their KT Plan with them and collaboratively refine it as needed.

This is exciting for NeuroDevNet’s KT Core, because it is the first time there have been KT practitioners (KT supports within an organization) embedded within project teams in this way. The information gathered within the Hybrid KT Planning tool will provide the information needed to manage the timelines and milestones for these KT plans during Cycle II. The aim is to work with project teams so that by the time we write our application for Cycle III funding we will have concrete examples of impact.

Screening & Intervention (FASD) High Impact Project team members working on KT Plan with NeuroDevNet's KT Core

Screening & Intervention (FASD) High Impact Project team members working on KT Plan with NeuroDevNet’s KT Core

The first meeting we attended was for a project in the ASD program called Social ABCs, the next was for the FASD program’s Screening & Intervention project, and finally the CP Program’s Exergame project. The first two were more focused on KT activities toward achieving uptake and implementation of their respective interventions into programs that serve children and families affected by ASD and/or FASD while the latter is more focused on commercialization of the Exergame technology and games for home use. In all meetings, the project team members (researchers, research support staff, practitioners/partners etc.) were fully engaged and commented afterwards about how useful this process has been for them: both the tool we provided and the in-person meetings.

As part of the process we are listening to project team members for their feedback on the Hybrid KT planning tool in order to inform future iterations. After the in-person meetings the KT Core continues to work with the HIPs to further refine and finalize their KT plan, and also to determine the best ways in which we can integrate with project teams and support their KT goals for Cycle II. We view this as an iterative process, and we will review these KT plans on an annual basis with follow up in-person meetings with project teams.

These HIPs are pilot projects – the KT Core remains available to help all NeuroDevNet projects with KT Planning and other KT services.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee and would like help with your KT plan for a grant application or for your already-funded NeuroDevNet project(s) contact the KT Core to find out how we can help.

Research partners, research users and research impact

By: David Phipps, KT Lead, NeuroDevNet

“If you want your research to have an influence on early childhood literacy practice you’d better not be partnering with the fire department”

David Phipps leads discussion during workshop for research administrators in the UK

David Phipps leads discussion during workshop for research administrators in the UK

On April 15 I led a workshop for the UK Association of Research Managers and Administrators. This workshop was for research administrators (university staff managing research applications among other things) who were implementing the Research Excellence Framework. The REF 2014 was a research assessment exercise that assessed both research excellence and the impacts of research. For REF impact was defined as:

“an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia”

– (see page 26, REF Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submissions)

The REF officers and other research administrators interested in research impact gathered for a one day ARMA workshop to look beyond REF 2014. This included looking towards REF 2020 as well as beyond the narrowly construed REF frameworks including university research expertise (faculty and graduate students) that is engaged beyond the academy.

I used Melanie Barwick’s KT Planning Guide (click the link and enter your e-mail address to get access to the tool) as a tool to help the UK impact officers look beyond REF reporting on past impacts and start to create the conditions to enable future impacts. This planning guide asks researchers to consider 13 elements of a KT framework. Working through those 13 elements provides the raw material to then craft the KT strategy.

Melanie Barwick's KT Planning Tool

Melanie Barwick’s KT Planning Tool

The KT planning guide (elements 1-3) asks the researcher to consider the types and roles of partners in the research. Partners are the individuals/organizations who are along for the ride. They are co-producers of research. They help disseminate research results. They co-supervise students. They provide cash and in-kind (space, data, populations, equipment) resources to the research project.

The KT planning guide also asks the researcher to consider types of research users (element 5). These are individuals/organizations that take up the research evidence and use that evidence to inform decisions about public policy, professional practice and social services. The NCE Secretariat calls them “receptors” or “knowledge users (KUs)”. Both partners and receptors/users are critically important to the research to impact process. The co-produced pathway to impact outlines the pathway from research to impact on the lives of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. Partners collaborate throughout but receptors only become involved after dissemination.

Phipps' Co-Produced Pathway to Impact, the evaluation framework adopted by NeuroDevNet NCE

Phipps’ Co-Produced Pathway to Impact, the evaluation framework adopted by NeuroDevNet NCE

Research partners will likely be research users but research users are not always research partners.

In the ARMA impact workshop one Impact Officer was convinced that research partners and research users were the same. After I explained the difference she remained unconvinced. That’s when I said, “If you want your research to have an influence on early childhood literacy practice you’d better not be partnering with the fire department”. Research users need to be coherent with research partners because one informs and/or has access to the other.

For NeuroDevNet’s social ABC’s intervention led by Dr. Jessica Brian from Holland Bloorview as part of the Autism Discovery Program, the research partner is Humber College which has two full-time community-based childcare settings. Humber College’s practitioners-in-training will help develop and evaluate the intervention. The knowledge users will be early childhood centres and day care centres across Canada who will put the research evidence into practice by using it to support early childhood learning. The KT Core will work with Dr. Brian and her partners help identify these receptors/KUs and broker collaborations so that Social ABC will be implemented and evaluated beyond the research project setting.

If you want the KT Core to help you find partners and receptors/users to help translate your research into early diagnosis, validated interventions and supports throughout the life span please contact the KT Core.

Bringing NCEs together to share KT Best Practices

by Anneliese Poetz, KT Manager, NeuroDevNet

David Phipps, NeuroDevNetKT Core Lead, commenting on one of the presentations

During plenary: David Phipps, NeuroDevNetKT Core Lead, commenting on one of the presentations

During the week of January 26-29, 2015 MEOPAR NCE hosted a symposium in Halifax, Nova Scotia for all NCEs to gather and share what they are doing in terms of “best practices” for KT within their network. There were presentations in the morning, and the afternoons were allocated to 3-hour workshops on various topics.

 

 

Different ways to convey the same message about coastal erosion

From one of the workshops: Different ways to convey the same message about coastal erosion

I learned something important from one of the workshops I attended: that providing the same message in different formats is key for people to understand and remember the message (which is the first step toward being able to apply the message in practice/policy). One format of the message might be a photo that illustrates what might happen in a certain situation, while another way to convey the same message could be an interactive display: either an online tool or a hands-on model that can be physically manipulated to see what happens in different scenarios, yet another option is to hold a community event and encourage broad participation.

There were approximately 100 attendees, which included representatives from NCEs at different stages of maturity. GRAND NCE just finished its first 5 years and provided information about their open source tool they created called the “forum”. It is for project leads to be able to do collaborative reporting with their trainees, upload their presentations and publications, and export citations directly to their common CV. Mike Smit from GRAND said they wished they’d had this at the beginning, however it took them several years to develop – it is open source and an available for any NCE (especially new ones!) to use. TREKK described their quick reference sheets for ER physicians working in a ‘regular’ ER (not specifically for pediatric patients) who need reliable evidence-informed and quick information about how to treat the most common ailments children are brought to the ER for. These evidence-informed tools for practitioners go through a rigorous process before they are finalized. New NCEs such as Glyconet, SERENE-RISC and CellCan commented that this event was a good opportunity to learn from more experienced NCEs about KT practices and management systems.

NeuroDevNet’s KT Core (David Phipps and I) co-presented with the NCE Secretariat (Renee Leduc). Renee presented on progress reporting and KTEE expectations from the perspective of the NCE Secretariat:

and led an exercise with participants that helped them link their Network’s goals with outputs and outcomes:

David and I presented on the Co-Produced Pathway to Impact KTEE evaluation framework, indicators for measuring KT services and impact, and their database system that was created for tracking data on our suite of indicators that were created over the past 16 months:

Anneliese and David provided a hands-on exercise for participants that acted as a “part 2” to Renee’s exercise because following goals, outputs and outcomes is the need to create indicators – so this 2nd handout was a worksheet that helps to fully define indicators:

 

‘your presentation was the most valuable of all the sessions…it was your session alone that made the conference worthwhile attending’CellCan NCE

Booths set up in main area

Booths set up in main area

This event provided a great opportunity to network and get to know other NCEs in the NCE Program. Part of networking included the opportunity to set up a booth at no cost. Across from NeuroDevNet and ResearchImpact booths was the CYCC NCE booth. I tweeted and picked up some copies of checklists they produced for: involvement of children and youth in research, having impact on policy, and others that could be useful to NeuroDevNet’s work as we approach Cycle II. Several attendees found the materials at the NeuroDevNet (and ResearchImpact) booth(s) interesting, particularly the ResearchSnapshots and brochures explaining our services. Many NCEs expressed interest in emulating NeuroDevNet’s KT Core model including the CPPI framework and associated services, as well as our staffing model of a KT Lead, KT Manager and KT Coordinator.

The KT Core live-tweeted from the event from @anneliesepoetz and @neurodevnetKT and several of these were retweeted by @neurodevnet and @ MEOPAR_NCE.

If you are a NeuroDevNet researcher or trainee, or if you represent one of Canada’s NCEs and would like to know more about NeuroDevNet’s KT Core services please visit our website and/or contact the KT Core.

Exergames for the Brain – Collaboration between the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Brain Institute to bring Exergaming to the public

by Jordan Antflick, Senior Outreach Lead, Ontario Brain Institute

This is the KT Core-ner’s first guest blog – we welcome this post from Jordan Antflick from the Ontario Brain Institute writing about the weekend of December 6 & 7, 2014 when a collaboration between the Ontario Science Centre and the Ontario Brain Institute brought NeuroDevNet/GRAND NCE’s Exergame technology to the public.  This was a great opportunity for KT, the research teams brought research-based information about how exercise affects the brain, especially for youth living with Cerebral Palsy.

Kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre try out the Exergame bike developed by Drs. Fehlings and Graham

Kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre try out the Exergame bike developed by Drs. Fehlings and Graham

This time it was going to be a photo finish. The last obstacle, a thick patch of mud, appeared but this only made their legs pump the pedals harder and their gecko on screen slither faster. With one well-placed shot, Happy the gecko was able to slow down Sneezy the gecko enough to edge past and claim victory in this- the tie-breaking contest.

This scene comes from a recent event at the Ontario Science Centre called Brain Games (December 6 & 7, 2014) which allowed visitors to test out interactive technologies where body and brain meet through gameplay. As a member of the team at the Ontario Brain Institute which helped to co-organize the event, I got to experience first-hand the latest developments taking place in Ontario and see how neuroscience is revolutionizing the gaming experience for entertainment, health, education and wellness.

One of the most popular games on display was the one described above- the exergames, which blends physical activity with gameplay through a customized recumbent bicycle.
The exergame project is a collaboration between Dr. Darcy Fehlings from the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland-Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (funded in part by NeuroDevNet NCE) and Dr. Nicholas Graham from the EQUIS Lab at Queen’s University (funded in part by GRAND NCE) in Kingston Ontario. It combines the clinical and research expertise of Dr. Fehlings’ team (present at the event were: Samantha D’Souza, Alex MacIntosh, Karizma Mawjee) with respect to cerebral palsy, and expertise in digital gaming design and development brought by Dr. Nick Graham and his team (present at the event were: Hamilton Hernandez Alvaro and Daniel Moran).

Research teams from NeuroDevNet and GRAND NCEs assist kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre's Brain Games, so they can try out the Exergame technology

Research teams from NeuroDevNet and GRAND NCEs assist kids visiting the Ontario Science Centre’s Brain Games, so they can try out the Exergame technology

Their collaboration extended to the Brain Games event requiring representatives from both teams to setup and run the exergames, but also to tell the two sides of the story behind this project. Created to help teens with cerebral palsy become more physically active and improve their fitness, the exergames also features built-in social interaction by allowing kids to compete head-to-head against their friends each in their own homes, and communicate using a head-set with live chat.

Although the exergame system is currently a prototype designed for research and rehabilitation purposes, it was a huge hit with all families and children who stopped by for its ‘public debut’ at the Ontario Science Centre. In clinical trials, the bike was only used by about 10 kids at a time, but over the Brain Games weekend it withstood the vigorous pedaling of over 200 children.

Kids were drawn to the game but it was their parents who were the most curious. The most common question asked was ‘what does this have to do with brain?’ which provided a great lead-in to have a conversation about cerebral palsy, and the research into the benefits of physical activity for rehabilitation and for the brain. Two videos about the exergame program also looped in the background to give a broader explanation about the exergame and its impact, one of the videos was produced by NeuroDevNet’s KT Core.

Parents often commented on the value of having something like this in their own home to sneak some exercise into their kids existing gaming habits. While the exergame bike was designed specifically for teens with cerebral palsy, it was interesting to see that it resonated with all types of kids.

For now, the exergames will stay in the lab where it will continue to help kids with cerebral palsy improve their fitness and limb movement and hopefully one day soon it will be available for kids of all abilities to be able to play and exercise together in a fun and social way!