Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT)

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The goal of Knowledge Translation and Transfer is to accelerate the transformation of knowledge from research into use.

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KTT stands for Knowledge Translation and Transfer. At OMAFRA, it is defined as the transformation of knowledge into use through synthesis, exchange, dissemination, dialogue, collaboration and brokering among researchers and research users.


Since 2008, Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) have been integrated into OMAFRA's research funding programs. In 2009 the Agri-food and Rural Link KTT Program was launched at the University of Guelph under the OMAFRA-University of Guelph partnership.


The agricultural, food and rural sectors successfully adapt to changing conditions and societal needs through demand-driven transformation of knowledge into use.


To help mobilize the unique, synergistic capacities of the research's various stakeholders in the development of demand-driven research related to Ontario's agriculture, food and rural sectors and the acceleration of knowledge produced through that research into use.


Key objectives for KTT in research are:

  • That research be developed using a needs-based approach also known as demand-driven research.
  • That knowledge produced in research is used in a timely, effective manner.


The impact of KTT in this research is being considered in three streams:

  • Program - Research that is used in traditional agricultural extension and technology transfer processes to alter programs. Includes audiences through the entire value chain.
  • Policy - Research undertaken to meet gaps in policy and provide results for use by government as part of the policy development process.
  • Commercialization - Research that has application in the development or enhancement of a commercially viable product or technology within the value chain. For the commercialization stream, the target audience may include businesses with an interest in licensing or moving the product or technology into the marketplace, as well as, groups or organizations that facilitate this linkage between research and the market.

How to Build a Successful KTT Plan

Deliberate planning is key to building a successful KTT plan. The plan should be flexible so it can evolve as the research progress evolves. The plan should also emphasize collaboration, partnership and networks. It should embrace all potential audiences and approaches of sharing knowledge. Involvement of the end user during the various research stages and the KTT process is important; the earlier the better.

Successful KTT plans also require dedicated resources. A knowledge broker (like OMAFRA staff) can help you share knowledge among researchers and users. In the most successful KTT plans, the culture around the research and its users is open, trusting, positive and sharing.

The following five questions will assist you in building a successful KTT plan.


What knowledge (or message) about your research will you transfer to users?

To whom?

Who would benefit from the knowledge produced by your research? (there could be more than one target audience and therefore different research needs and varied KTT methods)

By whom?

Who should transfer this knowledge to users? (Involvement of research users in the project - The earlier the better.)


What processes will you use to transfer this knowledge to users?


What is the expected impact of the your KTT efforts?

Researchers are encouraged to use the template that follows in preparation of their comprehensive KTT plan:

Best Practices of Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT)

The following best practices were compiled from a review of current literature about the use of research knowledge:

  1. Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) isn't "let to happen" it is "made to happen" through a "KTT Plan". KTT begins at the research planning stage.
  2. Research user groups are identified, defined and involved in the research process:
    • Understanding your research audiences (users):
      • Who are they?
      • What are their interests and needs?
      • What terms/concepts/language do they understand?
      • Key messages - If you could only make three points about your research to your audience, what would they be?
      • What communication form is best for your audience? (i.e. face to face, social media, policy meetings or journal articles)
    • Linkages, associations, partnerships and networks between researchers and research users are defined and active to allow access to knowledge and knowledge flow.
    • Researchers and research users work in close proximity and / or together on collaborative teams throughout the research process.
    • Resources are allocated to KTT and research institutions, knowledge brokers, and knowledge translation and transfer institutions have the internal capacity and infrastructure to support and engage KTT.
    • The KTT plan is implemented through timely, user-targeted transfer activities.
    • There are incentives, recognition and rewards for KTT.

Additional Resources

Tools and Techniques- From Across the Different Sectors:

  1. Knowledge Translation 'Toolkit- Bridging the Know-Do Gap: A Resource for Researchers, (ed) Gavin Bennett and Nasreen Jessani, Sage India, IDRC/2011-05-13 (international development).
  2. Canadian Water Network Advice from Research Users on Facilitating Research Partnerships (natural resources and the environment).
  3. From Research to Practice: A Knowledge Transfer Planning Guide - Institute for Work and Health (PDF 190kb - health care).
  4. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Knowledge Translation and Commercialization Publications. This includes learning modules, evaluation information, casebooks and other resources.
  5. Sick Kids Foundation Knowledge Translation Training and Tools (health care).
  6. Research to Action.
  7. Health Evidence Tools.
  8. Knowledge Synthesis, Transfer and Exchange in Agri-Food Public Health: A Handbook for Science-to-Policy Professionals
  9. Clear language eresources

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