CHSRF’s Knowledge Brokering Program: A Review of Conditions and Context for Success

Executive Summary

Between 2004 and 2007, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) funded a Knowledge Brokering Demonstration Site Program (hereafter, KB program). The program provided funding support to six healthcare organizations to pilot innovative approaches in the field of knowledge brokering. All six healthcare organizations were supported in hiring staff specialized in the promotion of evidence-based decision-making. The role of the “knowledge brokers” was largely focused on bringing researchers, managers, and decision-makers together to engage in collaborative problem solving. The budget for the KB program totaled $1,400,000 over the three-year period.

This review provides a description of the ways in which the hired knowledge brokers facilitated the use of research evidence in decision-making processes of each healthcare organization funded under the KB program. It finds that targeted investment in knowledge brokering can offer some promise in promoting evidence-based decision-making among frontline staff and middle- and senior-level leaders of healthcare organizations. The key conditions and context for success as they arose in this initiative include:

  • solid leadership and commitment from senior management 
  • dedicated resources
  • clear objectives and good project management and evaluation 
  • flexibility and variation in tools and approaches 
  • persistent effort throughout the project