Turning research knowledge into action

Research innovation workshops


By Samantha McReavy

Research can improve life for our community, our country and the world. But, for research to be impactful, it needs to be accessible. Knowledge mobilization (KMb) programs can help with this pursuit.

Developing these programs takes time and research. That’s why the Research Innovation Office (RIO) at the University of Guelph created Advantage Workshops, to help researchers create, collaborate and commercialize their research innovations.

The University continues to deliver on innovation with an impressive 190 inventions reported to RIO and six newly formed start-up companies. They are currently helping 20 active start-ups to commercialize their products.

“The workshops are designed to help University of Guelph research teams become even more successful when applying for grants,” says Dana McCauley, Director of New Venture Creation at RIO. “They will also help in developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships with industry and others.”

The workshops include:

  • Innovation Toolkit which has exercises to enhance group communication
  • Creating Persuasive Value Propositions teaches effective strategies to create winning grant applications and to motivate teams
  • Advanced Collaboration Techniques will help new and established researchers develop strategies to cultivate fruitful collaborations
  • Intellectual Property Essentials will offer insights on current Canadian and international intellectual property law as well as U of G-specific rules
  • Knowledge Mobilization Strategy Toolkit which makes it easier to create KMb plans and put your knowledge into action

Why is KMb so important? And how can it help your research?

While the first three Advantage Workshop topics seem obvious offerings for a team focused on commercialization, some people have wondered how knowledge mobilization fits into the services of an office like RIO.

“Knowledge mobilization offers a huge opportunity to advance research because it helps include stakeholders and communities in the research cycle,” says McCauley. “Knowledge mobilization specialists accelerate research impact by developing targeted and innovative products for various audiences.”

This workshop has even been incorporated into a class for graduate students. The class is called Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Agri-Food Systems or UNIV 6050. Prof. Erna van Duren, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, uses the workshop to assist in teaching the students to effectively communicate and collaborate with their peers and external partners. In this course, students address key agri-food challenges.

“The students who participate in the course learn knowledge mobilization skills early in their professional career,” says van Duren. “This greatly helps them advance their research by building networks and accessing funding.”

Effective communication of research knowledge to people outside of our fields will become more important over time, says van Duren. Advantage Workshops can help keep research teams become aware of the most effective KMb strategies and the best people or companies to collaborate with.

To learn more about how RIO can help turn your research into action click here. If you are a researcher interested in participating in the Advantage Workshops, email researchinnovation@uoguelph.ca and ask to be added to the mailing list. Updates are also posted to their twitter feed @CreatedAtGuelph.

The Research Support Fund supports the services offered by the Research Innovation Office.