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Recognizing Knowledge Mobilization: Lessons From a Canadian University Seeking to Redefine Research Impact Assessment

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Knowledge mobilization (KM) is an expected and recognized component of the research cycle. Canadian universities and other research institutions are increasingly establishing institutional supports for KM. However, few institutions have made progress on the assessment or recognition of KM activities in tenure and promotion processes. As such, despite the fact that researchers are encouraged and supported to engage in KM, such activities typically remain absent from their academic records and CVs. Uncertainty around the actual value of specific KM activities and a lack of templates or format standardization for recording and evaluating activities are two of the main reasons for this. A further complication is that most tenure and promotion committees (TPCs) are not well equipped to understand, interpret, and assess KM activities when they are reported. In this presentation, we discuss work initiated by Simon Fraser University to redefine research impact assessment in review, tenure, and promotion processes and develop supports and tools to address this gap. This includes: (1) a working group of grant facilitators, other research administrators, and librarians who are developing recommendations based on an exploration of past, current, and trending understandings and measures of research impact; (2) a tenure and promotion supports development team creating informational materials for faculty; and, (3) the KM unit conducting a scoping review of how KM activities are reported to inform tools and templates for faculty and TPCs. We will discuss the process and progress of this work, the implications of these strategies for research administration, and invite delegates to discuss their experience and interest in assessing research impact.
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