Our KT Activities
Knowledge translation is an important element of all MSFHR programs. As a respected health research funder, we are ideally placed to take a leadership role in helping to move evidence into practice.
We recognize the need for coordinated action across the health research community to build an environment that supports effective knowledge translation in BC and beyond. MSFHR supports this work through a variety of initiatives concentrated in five main areas described in detail below.
5 KT functional areas of a funding agency
In addition to these functional areas, we have also identified three supporting activities that help create the conditions for effective KT.
"Funding KT" refers specifically to MSFHR's award programs through which we provide financial support for the knowledge translation activities of BC researchers, facilitate engagement between researchers and research users, and support the study of knowledge translation.
MSFHR has funded KT awards such as:
- Salaries for knowledge brokers (liaisons between researchers and research users) to be embedded in research teams to further their KT activities and/or study those activities.
- Post-doctoral fellowships in KT science (i.e. the study of the methods, mechanisms, concepts, and/or theories that promote the integration of research findings and evidence into health care policy and practice).
- Science Policy Fellowships, in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the BC Ministry of Health (MoH), to embed health researchers in short-term policy assignments within the MoH to participate in and contribute to policy-making processes with the aim of bridging the worlds of science and policy.
- Through targeted programs such as the BC Nursing Research Initiative: knowledge syntheses; salaries for nursing research facilitators to facilitate knowledge translation within BC's health authorities; and awards to increase the use of health research evidence at the point of care.
Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to receive updates on future funding competitions.
Building capacity for KT
Building capacity for KT is defined by MSFHR as developing skills and providing tools to maximize the impact of health research. This functional area involves active planning, management, and evaluation of KT capacity building activities by the funder either alone or with partners.
MSFHR builds capacity for KT by:
- Assessment of provincial KT skills and resource needs of researchers and research users.
- Audience-specific training (e.g. workshops) on KT.
- Access to KT resources: support to a provincial KT network; providing or linking to resources such as KT models, tools and best practice information; providing links to research review databases (e.g. healthevidence.org, healthsystemevidence.org, Cochrane Library).
Provincial needs assessment
In March 2012, MSFHR launched an online survey to identify knowledge translation resource and training needs across BC. More than 1,200 people responded to the survey, which was targeted at both BC health researchers and those who use health research evidence in their work. More information and related publications.
MSFHR KT training and events
MSFHR supports knowledge translation skills training and resources in BC by working with local and provincial academic and health system partners to offer a range of training opportunities and resources. Learn more and view a schedule of upcoming training opportunities and events.
Provincial KT training pathway
MSFHR is working with local, provincial, and national partners on supporting the development, implementation, and evaluation of KT training pathways, based on BC's health services researcher pathway. The ultimate aim of this work is to develop, implement, and evaluate a self-assessment toolkit.
We are currently in the first phase of this work to develop core competencies related to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to practice and/or study knowledge translation for three discrete audiences: research producers; research users; and knowledge brokers.
Managing KT projects
Funders have traditionally not been involved in the "doing" of KT themselves, but are increasingly becoming involved in such activities. We identified an opportunity to become more hands-on with some of our funding programs, helping researchers and decision-makers to set KT goals and participating in their KT activities as appropriate, or assisting with evaluating the outcomes.
MSFHR manages KT projects such as:
- At the request of a range of stakeholders, we organize health forums bringing together researchers and research users to discuss a specific issue (clinical/service/policy) with a view to developing and implementing a solution.
- Managing KT projects that bring together researchers and research users to develop provincial initiatives aimed at addressing health and health system challenges.
Advancing KT science
Advancing the science of knowledge translation through research is one of the biggest gaps in KT. While a number of theories, methods, and mechanisms have been proposed for KT activities, there is a lack of research evidence to determine the best context for their use. For this reason, advancing the science of KT is an important focus for a health research funding agency.
MSFHR advances KT science by:
- Evaluating, monitoring, and publicizing the impact of evidence use.
- Adding to the KT literature by developing papers and presentations.
- Funding KT science grants and projects.
Advocating for KT
Advocating for KT involves actively addressing barriers to effective KT and influencing change.
MSFHR advocates for KT through each of the four functional areas discussed above, as well as by:
- Influencing/enabling KT (e.g. by celebrating the work of researchers and others who are promoting a climate that fosters KT; encouraging culture change within universities to recognize and credit KT accomplishments in faculty promotion and tenure deliberations).
- Mandating KT as part of our funding programs and activities, as appropriate (e.g. requiring KT as part of our funding awards — in many cases, this involves training applicants and reviewers on KT requirements).
- Developing a culture of KT within our foundation by adding a KT lens to what we do in order to increase our impact.
In addition to the five functional areas discussed above are three supporting activities through which funders can create the conditions for effective KT: the assessment of stakeholder KT needs to identify gaps and opportunities and avoid duplication of efforts; evaluation of KT activities (the funders' as well as the funded researchers) for outcomes and impacts and to provide opportunities for course corrections and to collect lessons learned; and communication of KT activities (funders and their funded researchers).