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Table 3 IKT initiation themes and associated activities

From: Initiation is recognized as a fundamental early phase of integrated knowledge translation (IKT): qualitative interviews with researchers and research users in IKT partnerships

Theme Activities
Newly identifying and securing partners is an intensive process • Identify stakeholders • Conduct research together as an extension of the partnership • Contact individuals with dual role of researcher and research user • Convince and get partner buy-in on research project • Form partnership early and ensure collaboration lasts throughout
Processes and activities take place over a protracted period through multiple interactions • Clarify roles, responsibilities, scope of project, research question by meetings, committees, agreements • Align idea with research user organization’s goals; educate each other on how to align goals • Provide opportunities for communication and input
Identifying and engaging committed partners is reliant on funding People and Roles: • Build a network well in advance and have organizational capacity to maintain network • Use research project as incentive for research users to stay up to date and researcher to obtain tenure • Build and maintain a relationship with connectors, boundary spanners, or mentors • Leadership role • Early partnership formation and collaboration from the outset of a research initiative
Building commitment: • Shared goals amongst the researchers and the research users themselves, or their organizations • Shared interest, synergy and passion for the subject matter • Trust and commitment achieved by being responsive, respectful of time, planning face-to-face meetings and maintaining credibility • Time to commit to partnership and creating time-saving methods for busy research users to take part in projects • Build a sense of ownership by making researcher users feel valued, respected and have a sense of ownership over research outputs • Develop a shared language and culture
Funding • Enable initiation by supporting identification of partners • Enable travel for face-to-face meetings at beginning of partnerships • Establish commitment and launch planning activities
Partnership building challenged by maintaining continuity and enthusiasm • Maintaining continuity during IKT initiation due to high turnover of individuals • Over-reliance on one person representing a research user group • Difficult to maintain enthusiasm throughout the first few meetings during the initiation phase • Engagement was further compromised by competing priorities among research users • The amount and extent of administrative paperwork at the beginning of partnerships also influenced enthusiasm • Personality of the researcher or research • Lack of understanding of the research cycle or research culture • Misaligned goals, roles and expectations. • Geographical distance between the partners
Partner matching forum, toolkit and funding needed to foster IKT initiation • A shared forum or repository where researchers could identify potential researcher user partners who shared matching interests and goals • An IKT initiation toolkit, guide or checklist described as ‘how to start IKT partnership information’ • Funding for non-research IKT initiation activities such as travel and meetings