Translation and Transfer (KTT)
The goal of Knowledge Translation and Transfer is to accelerate
the transformation of knowledge from research into use.
On this page:
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. All research proposals require a KTT
History of use in research
In Ontario, the concept of translating research into action is
strongly associated with the field of agriculture. In 1906, the
first agricultural 'extension' representative in Ontario was hired.
Since then agricultural extension experts in Ontario have focused
on providing practical technology transfer advice often in close
association with the University of Guelph and affiliated colleges
(i.e., Ridgetown and Kemptville).
International development processes apply knowledge of advancements
in research and technology to assist developing parts of the world.
In 2000, knowledge Translation (KT) gained greater emphasis in the
field of health research at the Canadian Institute for Health Research
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.
Different disciplines describe accelerating the transformation
of knowledge into action in a variety of ways and using a number
of different terms.
Other terms commonly used for KTT activities:
- Agriculture extension
- Technology transfer
- Agriculture communications
- Communicating science
- Patents and licensing
- Knowledge exchange
- Knowledge mobilization
- Knowledge dissemination
- Research implementation
- Knowledge extension
- Knowledge utilization
- Knowledge star (K*) link
- many more
Knowledge translation and transfer is the spreading and use of
knowledge through various processes which speed up the benefit of
research outcomes for the various user groups:
- brokering among researchers and users
Objectives and Impacts
The mission, vision, objectives and impacts of knowledge translation
and transfer (KTT) in OMAFRA research funding programs are shown
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
The impact of KTT in this research is being considered in three
- 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.
These three streams have characteristically different target audiences,
each with different needs, therefore different KTT approaches will
have to be undertaken.
Role of a Knowledge Broker
A "Knowledge Broker" plays a very important role in accelerating
the transformation of knowledge into action.
The role of the knowledge broker includes:
- Connecting people to share and exchange knowledge
- Understanding both 'worlds' and connecting research users with
researchers and vice versa to accelerate knowledge into use
- Working on overcoming barriers
- Communicating with stakeholders/users
- Helping researchers, technology transfer staff, and research
users take responsibiity for connecting and exchange knowledge.
1: The bridge builder
The following best practices were compiled from a review of current
literature about the use of research knowledge:
- 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.
- Research user groups are identified, defined and involved in
the research process:
Understanding your research audiences (users): Who are
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 or 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
The KTT plan is implemented through timely, user-targeted transfer
There are incentives, recognition and rewards for KTT.
- 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)
Tools and Techniques- From Across the Different Sectors:
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).
Water Network Advice from Research Users on Facilitating Research
Partnerships (natural resources and the environment).
Research to Practice: A Knowledge Transfer Planning Guide - Institute
for Work and Health (PDF 190kb - health care).
- Canadian Institutes
of Health Research (CIHR) Knowledge Translation and Commercialization
Publications. This includes learning modules, evaluation information,
casebooks and other resources.
- Sick Kids
Foundation Knowledge Translation Training and Tools (health
- Research to Action.
Synthesis, Transfer and Exchange in Agri-Food Public Health: A
Handbook for Science-to-Policy Professionals
The model for knowledge translation and transfer KTT shown in Figure
1 below (also
available in PDF 10.98) highlights the key concepts of knowledge
translation and knowledge transfer. These concepts, combined with
data management and linkages and exchange, generate a flow of knowledge
that helps to create successful KTT within a research program. The
model shows that knowledge goes through a process of creation in
a research project, translation, transfer, use in practice and finally
Researchers and user groups are the core players in this process.
They need to know each other and exchange and co-produce knowledge.
Data management and linkage and exchange activitities support this
whole knowledge flow process.
1 Model for Knowledge Translation and Transfer
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