What is knowledge mobilization? Or, how do I develop the impact potential of my research?

June 11 2020 / By Charlie Rapple


Given the role that impact plays in decisions around research funding, the question of how to achieve and accelerate impact is literally a billion dollar question. There is no single, simple answer, but the question of what kinds of steps help to achieve impact has been widely considered. Many models have been proposed; most can be summarised in four key steps:

  • Reach. Communication is key to impact. You need to reach the audiences that can best build on or benefit from your work. Effective reach requires active dissemination – both within and outside of academia for best knowledge translation.  

  • Engage. Help your audiences understand your research innovation, by making it relevant and appropriate their needs and level of expertise. Ideally, involve stakeholders throughout your project.

  • Change. Real-world impact requires change – in attitudes, practice, policy, process and products. You can help this process through building relationships with individuals and organizations that can put your research into practice.

  • Amplify. Change is the start of impact, but to achieve impact at scale requires adoption at scale. Leveraging advocates, partnerships and the media is key to significant, widespread and lasting impact.

Following these steps will help your target audiences discover, connect with, understand, apply and advocate your work – key conditions for synthesis of knowledge. 

Learn more about research mobilization with our new handbook.

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