End of Grant vs Integrated KT
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea – Walter Bagehot (169)
Canadian research is heavily impacted by funding sources, the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) requires grant applicants to address their requirement for a KT plan. This requirement is forcing research to at least consider how their research will impact their field and how it will be disseminated to help improve the health of Canadians (CIHR, 2013). CIHR makes an important distinction between ‘end of grant’ and ‘integrated’ KT (CIHR, 2013). In ‘end of grant’ KT the onus is on the researcher to engage in dissemination by providing their finding to their peers, as well as to the public in general. They are encouraged to hold seminars, engage media, go to conferences, etc. (CIHR, 2013). For the ‘integrated’ KT researchers are expected to engage end users throughout the research process (CIHR, 2013). A more collaborative approach that requires a researcher to identify end users during the proposal phase, and consider significant ways that they can engage and participate in the research process.
Rogers (2003) introduced the theory of Diffusion of Innovation, which states that new ideas are dependent on 4 factors in order to be widely adapted: the innovation, communication channels, time, and a social system (11). Considering these 4 dynamic elements one would think that when considering KT in the development of a research proposal, a researcher would need to consider how they will present their research to facilitate the KT process as much as possible. Rogers (2003) uses the term innovation to describe a new idea or concept. This is basically the aim of a research project, why is this project worth doing and how will it impact the population I am working with. The point when “interpersonal networks” (Rogers, 11) become activated is an important step in multiple people recognizing the importance of the innovation. Communication channels are ways in which the research is discussed and passed along from research to community (Rogers, 2003). In the sense of ‘end of grant’ KT it is publishing papers and presenting at conferences. For ‘integrated’ KT we could think about involving community stakeholders throughout the research and then looking at how they are disseminating the info to the community. Time is the how long it takes for a new idea to be widely adopted (Rogers, 2003), and we can all think of countless examples when uptake is swift or where flow of a concept has been incrementally slow. And lastly is the social system which consists of several points of intersectionality which inherently play a role in the spread of information (Rogers, 2003). In each of these steps we can think about ways that we would address the CIHR requirements for KT into our research.
The question that comes to mind for is that is this requirement simply tokenism? Is there a way that CIHR can follow-up on the KT plans of previously funded projects to better understand what strategies worked and which did not? KT is a dynamic process which requires much effort, and although the intention of including KT in a grant proposal is supposed to support this process there is still much work to be done about what or how KT actually is playing out in publically funded research in Canada.
Bagehot, W. (1873). Physics and politics. New York: Appleton-Century.
CIHR. (2013). More About Knowledge Translation at CIHR. Retrieved from: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/39033.html
Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of Innovation, 5th edition. Free Press: New York.