Scoping knowledge mobilisation and implementation activities across CLAHRC SY

Knowledge mobilisation

Project Plan

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaborations in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) were set up in 2008 with the remit to:

  • Conduct high quality applied research
  • Implement the findings from research into healthcare practice
  • Increase the capacity of the NHS organisations to engage with and apply health research.

(NIHR SDO 2009 p3)
In the original proposal, the NIHR CLAHRC for South Yorkshire comprised seven research themes and a further four implementation themes. However, this simplistic categorisation does not reflect the breadth of activity undertaken. Research themes, in addition to undertaking applied research, are engaged in activities which support the other two functions of CLAHRC outlined above. Likewise, some implementation themes have broadened their scope to include research and capacity building.

As CLAHRC SY has evolved it has become apparent that both research and implementation themes have engaged in a broad range of activities in response to the needs of National Health Service (NHS) partner organisations. Whereas some of these activities fit comfortably within the remit of CLAHRCs identified above of ‘implementing research findings in healthcare practice’ others do not. For internal reporting requirements all projects which are not classed as research have been assimilated under an umbrella term ‘implementation’. However, it is recognised that this term does not capture the breadth of knowledge mobilisation and implementation activities (KMI) CLAHRC SY is engaged in. 
At the start of year 3 (2010) of CLAHRC SY, a scoping review was undertaken to map the range of KMI activities in order to gain a better understanding of how research and implementation themes were engaging on KMI initiatives.


To scope the range of knowledge mobilisation and implementation (KMI) projects within CLAHRC SY and identify the range of activities being undertaken.

The objectives were identified to:

  • Compile a comprehensive database of all KMI projects currently being conducted in CLAHRC SY. 
  • Identify the KMI activities that have or are planned to take place in each of those projects.
  • Apply a typology of KMI activities as the basis to creating a detailed categorisation of all KMI projects.
  • Identify the governance approaches taken for KMI projects.
  • Identify the training needs of all KMI project team members.

A scoping review of KMI projects was undertaken using documentary information.  The one year, two year and five year project plans for each theme, and individual project proposals, where available, were analysed. Information was extracted to populate a database that provided an overview of projects and captured core information about each project. 
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a key member of each theme.

The purpose of the interviews was twofold. Firstly to gain a detailed understanding of the KMI projects undertaken by the theme and the activities that were embedded within the projects. Secondly to identify specific training needs relating to knowledge mobilisation and implementation within the theme teams. 
Eleven interviews were conducted during Autumn 2010, one with a representative from each theme. Interviews were conducted with ten theme project managers, two of whom also held the position of theme lead, and one project co-ordinator.  Interviews were recorded and fully transcribed. 

A framework analysis approach was adopted (Ritchie and Spencer 1994). Transcripts were initially read and re-read in order to identify key themes which formed the basis of the framework. Implementation activities were categorised using the initial categories outlined in the project proposal as a starting point with additional categories that emerged from the analysis process. Other issues arising from the interviews that related to the project objectives were also indexed and categorised.