Major funding organizations of dementia research have prioritized knowledge translation (KT) in their overarching objectives and grant evaluation criteria. For example, the mandate of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s national health research funding agency is:
“to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health-care system” (CIHR, emphasis added).
The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has also included among its assessment criteria for Career Investigator awards the ability and planning of applicants to disseminate research findings.
The emphasis on KT by research sponsors is not surprising given that they are ultimately accountable to their funding sources. Government funding agencies, such as CIHR, are directly accountable to the taxpayers; it is therefore imperative for researchers to demonstrate that they are generating public good and an overall benefit to the end user.
The upcoming section outlines and draws upon CIHR’s KT criteria to demonstrate how DKT can be incorporated into grant writing sections in operating grants. However, the principles discussed are applicable to DKT in grant writing in general.
There are two broad categories of KT at CIHR:
End of project KT
- Researchers develop and implement a plan for disseminating results and making knowledge users aware of the knowledge generated through a research project.
- Researchers use a collaborative, participatory approach that is integrated throughout the life of a grant, and is action-oriented and impact-focused. (Tetroe & Jurkovic, 2009)
Note: CIHR is currently in the process of undergoing a review of its grant structure.