How to build Your Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) Plan

KTT plan toolkit

Are you applying for a research project under through one of OMAFRA's research programs? If so, you need to include a knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) plan in your application.

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Why build a KTT plan?

Knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) is a new focus of OMAFRA's research funding programs. A KTT plan is important to the OMAFRA research funding process for the following reasons:

KTT is a:

  1. technique used to accelerate research into use for the benefit of Ontario's agriculture, food and rural communities.
  2. time tested method. Starting in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the concept of agricultural 'extension' successfully collected, preserved and distributed agricultural science knowledge. The international development field uses similar approaches.
  3. reflection of current priorities. Over the last ten years, research has become more focused on addressing real world problems.
  4. tool to broaden the impact of research. It is a method that bridges gaps between research and each of:
    • programs
    • policy
    • commercialization

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. There is opportunity for effective knowledge exchange between research users and researchers.

Aids to a successful plan

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

  1. What?

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

  2. To whom?

    Who would benefit from the knowledge produced by your research?

  3. By whom?

    Who should transfer this knowledge to users?

  4. How?

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

  5. Impact?

    What is the expected impact of the your KTT efforts?

The above questions were adapted from work by John Lavis. We have incorporated them into the KTT Plan Template and KTT Plan Checklist below.

KTT is becoming an integral part of research funding programs. Many research funding organizations now request a form of knowledge translation and transfer plan and related budget to accompany research proposals for funding.

KTT plan template

Developing a plan is a great starting point for researchers interested in enhancing the knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) activities of their research.

Three components of developing your KTT plan are:

  1. Target audiences -there could be more than one target audience and therefore different research needs and varied KTT methods.
  2. Involvement of research users in the project - The earlier the better.
  3. KTT methods (forms and types of communications venues, each adapted to a target audience need), including general timelines.

Additionally, your KTT plan can include a fourth component which explains how the different research users will each benefit.

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

Research user groups/target audiences:

The research is important to _______________________________.

Example - OMAFRA policy staff, X industry representatives and Y commodity group.

Involvement of research users in project:

The users of this research are involved in the implementation of the project_______________________________.

Example - industry X identified the need for the project and are a part of the broader research team.

KTT methods (forms and types of communications venues), including general timelines:

The research users will be communicated via the following ways:_______.

Example - annually, late winter, throughout project and for 1 year following project completion; information exchange meetings, workshops, presentation and Questions and Answers, trade publications, and participation in theme-based research highlight days, etc.

Explain how users will benefit from the research*

The users benefit from this part of the research in this way_________.

Example - the successful research will result in the production of a new variety of soybeans that are more resistant to pests. The increased resistance to pests will enable soybean growers to increase their crop yields and their economic return on investment.

*Researchers must include component number four in their KTT plans when applying for OMAFRA funded research (this requirement excludes research funded by the OMAFRA - University of Guelph Partnership)

KTT plan checklist

Researchers are encouraged use the following checklist to see if their research proposal has a comprehensive knowledge translation and transfer (KTT) plan.

Note: the items in this list are guidelines only

Research focus:

Which of the three streams applies to your research: program, policy and/or commercialization?

  • Program: will the user(s) of your research use the research to change a practice or implement a program?
  • Policy: will your research user(s) use the research to develop or modify policy?
  • Commercialization: is your research contributing to a product for the marketplace? Do you see intellectual property (IP) potential? Do you have industry involvement / sponsorship?

Research user group/target audiences:

  • Have you identified the potential groups/industry partners who will likely benefit from your research (research user group(s))? Who will you target?
  • Do you know what each user group's needs are? Can your research meet the specific needs of the user group(s)? (demand driven)
  • Have you planned ways to involve the research users in your research?
  • Are your users members of associations, partnerships or networks that your research can link to?
  • How will the research be used by the target audience(s)?
  • Do you have letters of support from specific users/user groups? If possible, include in the letter how they will assist in the research's impact and/or dissemination.

KTT methods - information sharing activities:

  • Have you described ways to involve your research user groups in your research?
  • Have you planned to inform the user groups on a regular basis?
  • Do your KTT activities include venues/information products/ publications that the research user(s) will likely attend/apply/read?
  • Do you have a budget for KTT activities?

KTT methods - collaboration (beyond the potential target research user):

  • In your research team, do you work together with researchers from other universities and research institutions? Which ones?
  • Do you have an advisory/steering group in place? How often does/will the advisory group meet?
  • Are you collaborating with, or does your research team or advisory group include, an OMAFRA staff representative (if applicable)?
  • Do you plan to link with groups outside of your research team, advisors and users to share, discuss, exchange knowledge?

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. Knowledge Broker Forum.
  8. Health Evidence Tools.
  9. Knowledge Synthesis, Transfer and Exchange in Agri-Food Public Health: A Handbook for Science-to-Policy Professionals
  10. Clear language eresources

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For more information:
E-mail: research.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Elin Gwyn, Research Analyst/RIB
Creation Date: 23 December 2013
Last Reviewed: 18 March 2015