Global Water Futures: Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change is a University of Saskatchewan-led research program that is funded in part by a $77.8-million grant from the Canada First Excellence Research Fund. Lead institutional partners include the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and McMaster University. The Global Water Futures (GWF) program will transform the way communities, governments and industries in Canada, and other cold regions of the world, prepare for and manage increasing water-related threats. Key research areas include predicting change in Cold Regions, developing Big Water data and support systems, and designing user solutions that focus on real world problems.
A fundamental component of the GWF program is an active, state-of-the-art program of knowledge mobilization (KM) for the benefit of society, the environment, and the economy. Defining research needs with users, and the engagement and communication with stakeholders throughout the research process, is a defining characteristic of the GWF program. In order to institutionalize and support the GWF KM philosophy and approach, a GWF KM Core Team, with representatives from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, has been established to provide oversight, advice, and support. The GWF KM Core Team is an advisory body that reports to the GWF Strategic Management Committee.
The KM Specialist will support and report to the GWF KM Core Team member from the University of Waterloo. The KM Specialist will be responsible for designing, implementing, monitoring and reporting on KM activities on a day-today basis with primary responsibility for GWF-related activities, and with secondary responsibility for home university water-related KM activities.
This role is contingent on funding.
Knowledge Management Strategy Development and Implementation
- Support researchers in identifying relevant knowledge users for various research proposals, projects or initiatives;
- With researchers and end users, facilitate the co-design and –development of robust KM strategies that detail specific mechanisms to ensure that KM occurs throughout, and perhaps beyond, the life of the project, including the:
- Identification of user needs (eg, research challenges, research questions);
- Appropriate design of research outputs (eg, modality, format, language, timing, type of evidence);
- Design of (an) active and inclusive knowledge exchange, transfer and communications process(es),including the use of appropriate messaging and methods;
- Development of clear accountability structures and processes, ensuring that ideas and information flow in all directions;
- Collection of relevant supporting KM documentation (eg, support letters).
- With researchers and knowledge users, facilitate the:
- Implementation and monitoring of KM strategies, including knowledge exchange, transfer and communications components;
- Identification of KM successes and challenges;
- Identification of opportunities to overcome challenges, and to improve on KM processes, practices and
- Development of project-specific knowledge exchange, transfer of communications products.
- Where appropriate, help overcome differences in understanding and perspectives among researchers and knowledge users.
Knowledge Transfer and Communications
- Design and implement a strategy for transferring and communicating program- and project-level information, ensuring that the content and delivery is compatible with end user needs and characteristics, including the:
- Identification of results of interest to specified user groups;
- Appropriate messaging, methods, messengers, timing and formats;
- Analysis and synthesis of research results, and the production of knowledge products suitable for risk analysis, decision making or other purposes;
- Research and prepare stories on the implications of research results, including accounts of “lessons learned” and successes.
Networking and Relationship Management
- Cultivate and maintain contacts, communications and relationships with water researchers and various knowledge user groups, stakeholder groups and individuals.
- Represent the GWF, or the home university, through oral presentations, and through attendance or participation in various face-to-face or virtual meetings.
Training and Capacity Building
- Design, develop and implement a KM training/capacity building program targeted at researchers and knowledge users;
- Develop various KM training/capacity building modules and materials;
- Deliver KM training/capacity building activities;
- Measure short- and long-term impact of KM training/capacity building activities;
- Where appropriate, participate in, or support, broader KM networks or communities of practice
Reporting and Administration
- Identify relevant program- and project-level performance indicators.
- Measure, track and report on KM performance indicators on a regular basis.
- Prepare annual KM performance reports.
- As required, prepare reports on KM progress and achievements for the GWF Strategic Management Committee.
- Assist in the administration, planning and scheduling of regular GWF KM core team meetings and activities, including meeting materials, minutes and reports.
- Assist in the development of KM proposals, or KM components of proposals.
- Bachelor’s Degree with particular relevance to knowledge mobilization, or equivalent experience is required; a Master’s Degree is preferred
- Background in the water or environment sector would be considered an asset
- Minimum of 5 years of experience in a position where knowledge mobilization was a key functional role
- Demonstrated experience with diverse stakeholders across multiple disciplines.
- Knowledge mobilization experience in the university sector would be considered an asset
- Familiarity with modeling as a tool for knowledge co-production would be considered an asset
- Strong theoretical and practical understanding of knowledge mobilization approaches and methods
- Understanding of opportunities and challenges associated with mobilizing knowledge between, and among, researchers and knowledge user groups
- Understanding of Canadian and international water issues and opportunities
- Strong familiarity with key water knowledge user groups, and other water sector stakeholders
- Excellent verbal and listening communication skills
- Superior writing skills, including the ability to prepare “plain language” documents
- Refined interpersonal and diplomatic skills
- Ability to understand, integrate, translate and disseminate research outcomes undertaken in an inter- and transdisciplinary context
- Excellent critical thinking and analytical skills to enable assessment of complex issues and scenarios of concern to researchers, knowledge users, and other stakeholders
- Ability to work independently, and to work as a contributing member of a larger team
- Strong organizational skills, and the ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines
- A positive attitude and approach to working with colleagues and a diversity of partners
- Travel regionally, nationally, and internationally is required