Strategies for Sustaining Complex Partnerships


  • Naomi Nichols York University
  • Stephen Gaetz York University



Knowledge mobilization, Knowledge exchange, Networks, Productive interactions, Research impact, Case study


This article details the role that networks play in the creation and implementation of a comprehensive knowledge mobilization strategy. Using the activities of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) as a case study, the authors draw on in-depth interviews, participant observation, and document analysis to understand how the interactivity cultivated in a multi-stakeholder partnership can increase the impact of research on policy, practice, public opinion, and, in this case, the lived experiences of people who are homeless. The article details the diverse activities of the CHRN (e.g., its methodologies, processes, and tools), highlighting the tension points, successes, and failures of particular approaches. Findings bring into view a) the CHRN’s role as a central connecting node, linking multiple and diverse individuals, institutions, and other networks; b) relations of reciprocity, which support ongoing interactivity between network members; and c) the changes (e.g., in research use) that network activities have influenced. Data suggest that the use of research evidence to co-produce “useable content” is a key indicator of network productivity.