Background: The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has defined knowledge translation (KT) as a dynamic and iterative process that includes the 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 healthcare system. CIHR, the national health research funding agency in Canada, has undertaken to advance this concept through direct research funding opportunities in KT. Because CIHR is recognized within Canada and internationally for leading and funding the advancement of KT science and practice, it is essential and timely to evaluate this intervention, and specifically, these funding opportunities.
Design: The study will employ a novel method of participatory, utilization-focused evaluation inspired by the principles of integrated KT. It will use a mixed methods approach, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, and will elicit participation from CIHR funded researchers, knowledge users, KT experts, as well as other health research funding agencies. Lines of inquiry will include an international environmental scan, document/data reviews, in-depth interviews, targeted surveys, case studies, and an expert review panel. The study will investigate how efficiently and effectively the CIHR model of KT funding programs operates, what immediate outcomes these funding mechanisms have produced, and what impact these programs have had on the broader state of health research, health research uptake, and health improvement.
Discussion: The protocol and results of this evaluation will be of interest to those engaged in the theory, practice, and evaluation of KT. The dissemination of the study protocol and results to both practitioners and theorists will help to fill a gap in knowledge in three areas: the role of a public research funding agency in facilitating KT, the outcomes and impacts KT funding interventions, and how KT can best be evaluated.