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A dynamic exchange

by Cynthia Macdonald Sep 3 / 19
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The act of giving and receiving is central to knowledge mobilization at CIFAR

When CIFAR fellows and CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars collaborate across borders and disciplines, the result is extraordinary new knowledge. And when that knowledge is exchanged with brilliant minds outside of academia, our fellows’ ability to solve the most important questions facing science and humanity is powerfully accelerated.

Through its unique series of workshops and roundtable events, CIFAR’s Knowledge Mobilization (KM) department ensures that influencers in industry, government, and health care are always kept abreast of the latest in program findings. In turn, practitioners also have the chance to help inform CIFAR programs about pressing challenges and priority issues being faced by their organizations and communities. 

From early on in a program’s life, fellows are encouraged to interact on a regular basis with practitioners in industry and government who have a strong desire to stay ahead of the curve in their respective fields.

“These events extend researchers’ influence beyond academia, and connect them to user groups they wouldn’t normally meet,” says Fiona Cunningham, the KM department’s Director of Innovation.

“By opening access to academic research, we’re changing the way it’s traditionally presented. Consequently, we’re increasing its ultimate impact on society.”

Exchange – the act of giving and receiving – is central to knowledge mobilization at CIFAR. Cunningham and her colleagues take great care to curate small-group meetings and workshops so participants can have meaningful discussions and forge new collaborations.

Many invited participants are invigorated by the idea of being among the first to hear about new research relevant to their industries: that way they can anticipate change, rather than simply react to it.

KM events can lead to multiple positive outcomes. For example, they have been the starting point for several new business partnerships. In other disciplines, they have served to educate policy-makers on best practices in areas such as health care and the ethical use of artificial intelligence.

“By opening access to academic research, we’re changing the way it’s traditionally presented,” says Cunningham. “Consequently, we’re increasing its ultimate impact on society.”