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What is Knowledge Mobilization?

Knowledge Mobilization and Research Impact Hub


Making research accessible

Knowledge mobilization (KMb) is a term used to define the connection between academic research or creative works and organizations, people, and government to improve programming and inform policy change. It is a process of relationship building and can be initiated either by the researcher or the agency for whom the research will make a difference. Traditionally, researchers have produced valuable knowledge and creative works that have been narrowly shared among other academics in similar disciplines, either through peer-reviewed journals or at conferences specific to an academic area of study. Translating that knowledge into a format that is more accessible to a range of sectors is critical to informing policy change and advancing social innovation through engaged scholarship. Knowledge mobilization is a process and research impact beyond the academy is the desired outcome

Knowledge Mobilization has been identified in the strategic directions at the University of Winnipeg (Growing Leaders, 2015) with a goal of maximizing the impact of research for the benefit of policy change and improved services to citizens of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and globally. The University of Winnipeg has a long tradition of community partnership and outreach that has allowed researchers and agencies to work on mutually beneficial projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the community as well as promoting enhanced learning for students.

 “Knowledge mobilization helps make academic research accessible to non-academic audiences and supports collaborations between academic and non-academic partners such as community-based organizations.” (Phipps, Pepler, Craig, Cummings, & Cardinal, 2016)

“Knowledge mobilization is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of activities relating to the production and use of research results, including knowledge synthesis, dissemination, transfer, exchange, and co-creation or co-production by researchers and knowledge users. Effective knowledge mobilization includes plans to store data in the public domain, where appropriate.”(SSHRC, 2017)

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has proposed a framework for research impact that can help researchers in all disciplines contemplate the full range of impact of their research work. Impacts might include advancing scholarship, capacity building through the training of student researchers and/or community partners, the uptake and implementation of research in practice and policy, the generation of economic activity, and technological or social innovation.

There are many terms used to refer to the acitivites of sharing research results. Knowledge Translation (KT) and Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) are sometimes used interchangeably but KT generally refers to research in medicine and the sciences while KMb is generally used when referring to social sciences and humanities research.