The IRSST places priority on knowledge translation to promote the uptake of research results by workplaces and other intended users. It seeks to ensure that research results have a real and positive impact on workers’ health and safety. Regarded as an organizational priority, knowledge translation is therefore an integral part of the Institute’s research activities.
Based on our experience, positive outcomes are achieved in the workplace if the knowledge translation potential of a research project is taken into account by ensuring stakeholders’ active participation from the planning stages through to project completion.
The scientific literature has shown that certain winning conditions promote knowledge dissemination and translation. These conditions must be in place to ensure the uptake of research results by representatives of the users (particularly, union and employer associations, joint sector-based associations, workers, employers, and professional orders and associations).
In 2006, the IRSST developed its own framework of practice for the research and knowledge translation cycle. Its goal is to ensure ongoing interaction between researchers and users throughout the process, from project development to results application. One of the winning conditions needed is the formation of a follow-up committee as a means of initiating the knowledge translation process.
Comprised of stakeholders in the research project, a follow-up committee shares its knowledge of the target workplaces with the researchers continually: during the definition, development and realization of the project; during the transfer of results and their application in the workplaces; and during impact evaluation.
More specifically, the follow-up committee helps ensure that the following goals are attained:
- the research projects address the needs and concerns of the workplaces involved;
- the committee members’ knowledge of the workplaces helps create optimal conditions for carrying out the project;
- the results obtained are useful to and usable by the workplaces involved, and the means used to communicate the results are adapted to their realities;
- the knowledge translation process is properly managed by the stakeholders such that all the workplaces involved are informed of the results and able to apply them;
- the impact evaluation is taken into account and leads to improved research and knowledge translation practices.
The presence or not of a follow-up committee depends on the nature of the research and scope of the stakeholders’ commitment. Its composition and role can vary, depending on the project, the phases of the research and knowledge translation cycle, and the progress made in the research work.
The committee’s composition reflects the following factors:
- respect for the principle of worker-management representation (worker/employer representatives);
- adequate representation of organizations that can play the role of intermediaries;
- diversity of viewpoints.