Knowledge mobilisation (also known as knowledge exchange, knowledge translation) is a two way, active exchange of different types of the best available knowledge in order to speed up the time it takes to move evidence from research out into clinical practice. Knowledge mobilisation can transform health care by working with stakeholders to adapt and refine knowledge across boundaries and silos.
By advancing our understanding of knowledge mobilisation, through knowledge mobilisation research and implementation science, we aim to improve the quality of the impact our research has by facilitating the connection between evidence-based findings and the needs of individuals and communities, thereby improving patient care.
What is knowledge mobilisation?
It's about making research evidence accessible, understandable and useful for stakeholders, working together to increase research-informed healthcare and healthcare-informed research.
The Impact Accelerator Unit uses a range of approaches to mobilise knowledge into practice. We provide influence and support throughout the entire research cycle, embedding Knowledge Mobilisation and implementation practices into research from the start of its design. We encourage researchers to think of not just the value and feasibility of their research to the NHS but the feasibility of implementing this research into practice, to support the timely translation of evidence into healthcare treatment.
Some of the approaches used by the Impact Accelerator Unit are outlined below.
A community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
Communities of Practice in the IAU are usually made up of clinicians, academics, commissioners and patients.
Publications and further links:
Kay Stevenson, Helen Duffy, Simon Somerville, Vince Cooper, Rhian Hughes, Krysia Dziedzic, 66. Can Communities of Practice Assist the Implementation of Research Across the Academic Health Sciences Network?, Rheumatology, Volume 53, Issue suppl_1, April 2014, Page i80, https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keu099.006
Swaithes, L. Paskins, Z. Quicke, J. Stevenson, K. Fell, K. Dziedzic, K. (2022). Optimising the process of knowledge mobilisation in Communities of Practice: recommendations from a multi-method qualitative study (in press).
The Impact Accelerator Unit has a dedicated patient and public group for Knowledge Mobilisation and implementation activities. The Link group includes members with a diverse range of personal, professional and volunteering experience and knowledge. They bring a valuable range of networks and experiences to the IAU, to ensure that patients and the public are meaningfully and proactively involved in translating evidence into everyday use. Link group members and RUG group members are an integral part of our Communities of Practice and provide important stakeholder input into all aspects of the IAU’s work.
RUG: Research User Group (Patients and public members who work with Keele University School of Medicine to share their 'expertise by experience' of living with (or caring for someone living with) physical and mental health conditions, to improve research).
Link Group: (Patients and public members who have networks and links with the community, NHS and volunteer groups and proactively work with the Impact Accelerator Unit to take research findings out into NHS clinical practice. Involving patients and the public in our research and implementation activities helps to make research more relevant and useful for clinical practice).
Knowledge brokers are intermediary agents who build relationships between decision-makers and researchers, by sharing expert knowledge and establishing communication channels. Knowledge brokering is an emerging role used to promote interaction, develop a mutual understanding of goals and cultures, identify issues and problems for which solutions are required, and facilitate the identification, access, assessment, interpretation, and translation of research evidence into local policy and practice.
Knowledge brokering in the IAU facilitates communication between all stakeholder groups involved in the implementation of research into practice and develops strategic methods of knowledge communication. Knowledge brokering supports the unit’s understanding of different types of knowledge in order to adapt and translate it into accessible and understandable formats.
Introduction to knowledge mobilisation
- NIHR Introduction to knowledge mobilisation for researchers webinar.
- Lamont T. Making Research Matter Steps to Impact for Health and Care Researchers - Policy Press 2021 ISBN 978-1447361152
Theories, models, and frameworks
- Oliver, K., Kothari, A. & Mays, N. The dark side of coproduction: do the costs outweigh the benefits for health research? Health Res Policy Sys 17, 33 (2019)
- Sreenan, N. Impact by design: Planning your research Impact in 7Cs. Emerald Open Research 2019; 1 (18)
- Beckett, K., Farr, M., Kothari, A., Wye, L., & Le May, A. Embracing complexity and uncertainty to create impact: Exploring the processes and transformative potential of co-produced research through development of a social impact model. Health Research Policy and Systems. 16(1), 1-18 (2018)
- Lynch, E.A., Mudge, A., Knowles, S. et al. “There is nothing so practical as a good theory”: a pragmatic guide for selecting theoretical approaches for implementation projects. BMC Health Serv Res 18, 857 (2018)
- Ward, V. L. Why, whose, what and how? A framework for knowledge mobilisers. Evidence and Policy. 13, 3, 477-497 (21) (2017)
- Nilsen, P. Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks. Implementation Science. 10, 53 (2015)
- Gill H, Kitson A . "PARIHS revisited: from heuristic to integrated framework for the successful implementation of knowledge into practice." Implementation Science 11.1: 1-13 (2015)
- Dopson S, Fitzgerald L (Eds) (2005): Knowledge to Action? Evidence-based health care in context. Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Rogers, E. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations Free Press: United Kingdom
- Wenger, E. (2002) Cultivating communities of practice: a guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business School Press, USA
- Kolb, D. (1976) The Learning Style Inventory: Technical Manual. Boston, MA: McBer & Company, USA
Mobilising knowledge with clinicians
- Beckett, K., Deave, T., McBride, T., le May, A., Gabbay, J., Kapoulas, U., Long, A., Warburton, G., Wogan, C., Cox, L., Thompson, J., Spencer, F. and Kendrick, D. Using Forum Theatre to mobilise knowledge and improve NHS care: the Enhancing Post-injury Psychological Intervention and Care (EPPIC) study. Evidence & Policy, (2022)
- Grindell, C., Sanders, T., Bec, R., Mary Tod, A. and Wolstenholme, D. Improving knowledge mobilisation in healthcare: a qualitative exploration of creative co-design methods, Evidence & Policy (2022)
- Gabbay J, le May A. Evidence based guidelines or collectively constructed "mindlines?" Ethnographic study of knowledge management in primary care. BMJ. 30;329(7473):1013. (2004)
- Cowdell F, Ahmed T & Layfield C. Knowledge mobilisation: a UK co-creation study to devise strategies to amend lay and practitioner atopic eczema mindlines to improve consultation experiences and self-management practices in primary care. BMJ Open. 2020;10:e036520
Mobilising knowledge with members of the public
- Knowles, S.E., Allen, D., Donnelly, A. et al. More than a method: trusting relationships, productive tensions, and two-way learning as mechanisms of authentic co-production. Res Involv Engagem 7, 34 (2021)
- Appleby B, Cowdell F, Booth A. Knowledge mobilisation in bridging patient-practitioner-researcher boundaries: A systematic integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing. Feb;77(2):523-536. (2021)
- Langley, J. ‘Collective making’ as knowledge mobilisation: the contribution of participatory design in the co-creation of knowledge in healthcare. BMC Health Services Research 2018. 18: 585.
- Salway, S., Chowbey, P., Such, E. et al. Researching health inequalities with Community Researchers: practical, methodological and ethical challenges of an ‘inclusive’ research approach. Res Involv Engagem 1, 9 (2015)
Mobilising knowledge with commissioners and policy makers
- Wye, L. Cramer, H. Beckett, K. Farr, M. le May, A. Carey, J. Robinson, R. Anthwal, R. Rooney, J. and Baxter, H. (2020). Collective knowledge brokering: the model and impact of an embedded team. Evidence & Policy
- van der Graaf P, Cheetham M, Redgate S, Humble C, Adamson A. Co-production in local government: process, codification and capacity building of new knowledge in collective reflection spaces. Workshops findings from a UK mixed methods study. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2021 Jan;19(1):12
- Boaz A, Davies H, Fraser A and Nutley S (2019). What works now? Evidence-informed policy and practice, Policy Press
- Lynch J, West DC. Agency Creativity: Teams and Performance: A Conceptual Model Links Agency Teams' Knowledge Utilization, Agency Creativity, and Performance. Journal of Advertising Research. 1;57(1):67-81. (2017)
Final reports from NIHR-funded research projects
- Marshall M, Davies H, Ward V, Waring J, Fulop NJ, Mear L et al. Optimising the impact of health services research on the organisation and delivery of health services: a mixed-methods study. Health and Social Care Delivery Research 2022. 10 (3)
- Burton C, Hall B, Williams L, Meacock R, Fisher D, Harris G, McBride A, Rycroft-Malone J, Parkinson J, Waring J, Makin M, Bucknall T. Theory and practical guidance for effective de-implementation of practices across health and care services: a realist synthesis. Health and Social Care Delivery Research 2021; 9 (2)
- Staniszewska, S. & Lilford, R.J. The capacity of health service commissioners to use evidence: a case study. Health Services and Delivery Research 2018; 6(12)
- Davies, H.T.O., Powell, A.E., Nutley, S.M. Mobilising knowledge to improve UK health care: learning from other countries and other sectors - a multimethod mapping study. Health Services and Delivery Research 2015;3(27)
- Greenhalgh T, Jackson C, Shaw S, Janamina T. Achieving research impact through co-creation in community-based health services: literature review and case study. Millbank Q. 2016;94:392–429.
We work with strong NHS, research and charity networks to move research into practice. The majority of our work is resourced through external funding and in collaboration with our health and care partners:
- NIHR School for Primary Care Research
- SPHR | NIHR
- Research Design Service | NIHR
- NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre
- ARC (Collaborating in applied health research | NIHR)
- Clinical Research Network | NIHR
- Staffordshire and Shropshire Health Economy Research Partnership (SSHERPa) Project: Funding Success for Innovative Projects Hosted by MPFT : Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust
- NICE | The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
- Versus Arthritis | All of us pushing to defy arthritis
- The Health Foundation
- Haywood Foundation
- AHSN Network
- West Midlands Health Technologies Cluster
- Midlands Health Innovation
- Race Equality Framework | NIHR
- The NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination | NIHR
- EIT Health | Promoting innovation in health
- The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- JEI - Implementation of OAMPs | Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)
Key members of the IAU team are our clinical champions and fellows. They bring a wide variety of clinical and academic expertise to help us mobilise knowledge to where it is needed to have the greatest impact. Our clinical champions generally have two roles, one role is at their clinical base and one here within the IAU. They generally spend half of their week in the IAU and the other half in their clinical role. Currently, we have General Practitioners and Consultant Physiotherapists as our Clinical Champions. They have expert knowledge of the NHS context, evidence-based patient management, how the NHS works and the future challenges and direction. They also have expertise in service transformation and innovation, research, education, clinician and patient engagement. Many of our Champions also hold influential local, national and regional roles. They have extensive networks to share knowledge and innovations and to learn from the experience of others.