Impact and knowledge mobilisation

What is knowledge mobilisation?

Knowledge mobilisation strategies are about sharing knowledge between different communities to create new knowledge and catalyse change. Knowledge mobilisation is a two-way process and views knowledge as a process not as a product.

What is the difference between dissemination, knowledge mobilisation and impact?

Dissemination is a one-way process where research findings are provided to specific audiences by targeted channels and planned strategies.

Knowledge mobilisation involves a two-way dialogue between researchers (research producers) and research users. It begins from the outset of a study, when a research question is first being developed, and continues beyond the dissemination of findings.

Impact describes the contribution of research to the real world. It is the difference research makes and is the intended outcome of knowledge mobilisation. The term ‘pathway to impact’ is the planning for impact using the processes of knowledge mobilisation, including dissemination.

Why is knowledge mobilisation important?

The research process can take a long time, and when the findings are published, they might not be shared with the right people. This can impact the outcomes of patients. It has been suggested that as little as 14% of health research becomes standard of care. Up to 40% of patients don't get treated using the best evidence.

Using strategies to share research is important to make sure it reaches the right people and is used by them to improve clinical practice, service provision and patient care.

“….to discover, share and blend different forms of knowledge from different stakeholders, (putting) this blended knowledge to practical use allowing stakeholders to learn about the practical implications for knowledge use and to collectively create actionable products.” Langley, J., Wolstenholme, D & Cooke, J (2018) on ‘Collective making’.

Useful resources

An introduction into knowledge mobilisation for researchers (NIHRtv)

Engaging practitioner mindlines: a relational approach to mobilising research knowledge (NIHRtv)

The NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol have produced a handy table summarising the differences between knowledge mobilisation, communications (dissemination) and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI).

Table summarising the differences between knowledge mobilisation, communications and patient and public involvement (PPI).


For further information or enquiries, please contact Helen Baxter -

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