Knowledge transfer is an essential piece of the research puzzle that brings together knowledge, innovation, and products from applied research. Agriculture presents a unique challenge for knowledge transfer (KT) efforts with such a great diversity of industry organizations, producers and policymakers. To move agricultural safety practices and applications forward it is essential for the transfer of this knowledge from research into practice in order to develop new processes and ways of thinking. There is an existing gap in research-to-practice knowledge transmission that knowledge transfer efforts will aid in bridging in Canadian agricultural health and safety.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) defines knowledge translation as “…a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system.” In the context of agricultural health and safety, this includes the synthesis, dissemination, and exchange of new knowledge and applied outcomes to improve the health and safety of Canadian farmers, and to help protect them from injury, illness, and disability. At the end of the day, the ultimate factor in determining the success of research is to have it put to meaningful use in real-world settings.
The Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA) has a 30-year history of conducting knowledge translation activities throughout Saskatchewan (and, in the past, across Canada) through the Agricultural Health and Safety Network. The Network produces and delivers occupational health programs and materials to almost 30,000 farm families across Saskatchewan, representing more than half of all Saskatchewan farm families and approximately 70% of all Saskatchewan rural municipalities. CCHSA will utilize its expertise in agricultural health and safety to develop and disseminate KT materials, information, and resources to stakeholders across Canada regarding the funded projects under the Canadian AgriSafety Applied Research Program. This will be conducted in an integrated fashion involving input from both research teams and stakeholders. The process of KT begins by asking a relevant research question that leads to the development of improved health and safety in Canadian agriculture. The end results of KT focus on actionable tasks that contribute to practical solutions that positively impact health and safety in agriculture.
The overarching goal of this component of the Canadian AgriSafety Applied Science Program is to provide KT materials and programming to ensure that practical, usable products, processes, and knowledge are developed and made available to end-users in the most effective manner possible. The KT team will work with researchers for each project with the objective of developing appropriate programming that interfaces with the six elements of the Hierarchy of Control (hazard identification, risk assessment, hazard elimination, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment). Safety knowledge gained from these applied research projects will be available across Canada through collaboration and distribution efforts through the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). One of the primary methods of dissemination and communication will be through a national KT news alert publication CANFARMSAFE. All documentation produced by KT activities will be produced in the two official languages of Canada: English and French.