Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability

Knowledge Mobilisation

Knowledge Mobilisation Lead: Dr Joshua Vande Hey

Introduction to knowledge mobilisation

Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) logo. A circle split into 5 coloured sections each with a different theme as follows: 'Environmental noise' (yellow), 'Metals in dust and soils' (orange), 'Drinking water' (blue), 'Indoor air' (purple), 'Bioaerosols' (pink). A silhouette of a person's head in the middle of the circle.

Knowledge mobilisation is about bringing together different communities to share knowledge to catalyse change. Knowledge mobilisation is a two-way process that enables advances in health protection research to create benefits for patients and the public; supporting research informed decision-making by policy makers, public health practitioners, the public, and other stakeholders. 

Effective knowledge mobilisation involves: 

  • researchers who engage with the policy, practice, research and public communities where their research can make a difference, as part of devising their research questions, to ensure that they address important questions in a useful way  
  • researchers influencing decision-making processes in policy, practice and elsewhere through having a 'seat at the table' alongside other approaches to dissemination 
  • increasing understanding of the value of research, including limitations, among those who can use research findings. 

A flow diagram on the iterative process of knowledge mobilisation

An iterative process for knowledge mobilisation highlighting sustained stakeholder engagement and feedback of knowledge mobilisation learning back into guiding the research. 

The steps involved in knowledge mobilisation are: 

  1. Identify overarching policy/practice needs 
  2. Map key stakeholders 
  3. Meet with key stakeholders to understand their evidence and knowledge gaps and the nature and format of evidence needed; identify critical engagement points based on our need and their capacity 
  4. Work with science team to formulate research questions and study designs to address evidence gaps 
  5. As preliminary results emerge, consider process for moving from generating evidence to embedding knowledge: 
    • Identify likely dissemination pathways (policy briefs, SOPs, practitioner training, etc.) 
    • Support scientists in effective communication of preliminary data 
    • Share relevant examples of good practice KM materials 
    • Engage relevant stakeholders for feedback 
  6. Mobilise knowledge: Generate policy briefs, SOPs & good practice guides, public facing press releases, practitioner training 
  7. Evaluate impact and effectiveness of KM including through stakeholder feedback 

Capacity building and training 

KM training sessions are incorporated into the HPRU’s annual training cycle. We have identified key resources including: 

  • Health and Safety Executive Knowledge Management Toolkit—knowledge sharing tools that have been developed for KM at individual and team level, and for knowledge retention; 
  • NHS e-learning resources on KM; 
  • NIHR resources.

Training will include: 

  • Delivery of KM training session for HPRU PhDs and research staff yearly at the annual conference; 
  • Half-day workshop on KM and PCIEP later in 2021; 
  • Development of a short training game focused on building understanding of different audiences for KM outputs 
  • Embedding KM within our HPRU PhD studentships, including in the planning phases of the PhDs. 

Engagement with wider policy-makers, professionals, industry and the public 

We aim to produce KM outputs that are in the most relevant format for the target audience(s) and taking into considering their needs and the range of actions options for change available to them. The knowledge mobilisation undertaken will consider impacts and concerns around health inequalities across the work of the HPRU. 

Identification of stakeholders 

Stakeholder mapping analysis will be maintained and updated to identify specific, relevant and impactful target groups for the HPRU as well as for each project throughout the 5 years of the programme. This will also consider the influence of stakeholders and stakeholder interest, which will help us determine the level of engagement necessary. We will adapt the level of engagement appropriately to the stakeholder and the topic, as some stakeholders will require only occasional dissemination type engagement and others will require specific, focused and sustained dialogue and collaboration. We will identify and engage stakeholder groups beyond those who typically have a seat at the table. Example stakeholders include but are not limited to those listed below. 

  • Learned societies and professional organisations 
  • Other researchers 
  • National and local government 
  • Clinicians and health care professionals 
  • Public communities 
  • Industry 

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