Investigating a Knowledge Exchange Network for the Reclamation Community

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  • Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF) and other parties have been investigating reclamation research, development and deployment capabilities and capacities in the province for several months. The concept of a ‘Reclamation Centre’ was first discussed through a Challenge Paper distributed in August 2011 to a variety of participants in the reclamation community. The original key challenge was to engage the reclamation community in a dialogue to determine the benefits of forming a ‘Reclamation Centre’ in the Edmonton area. We obtained feedback from researchers, practitioners, regulators and other individuals and organizations who are interested in reclamation. The response from the participants clearly articulated that there was no need for additional reclamation research capabilities in central Alberta (e.g., greenhouses, buildings and other infrastructure). However, there was a need for a central point for collection and distribution of knowledge, information and data related to reclamation activities. A Knowledge Exchange Workshop was held in Red Deer on February 29th, 2012. It focused on centralization, collection, distribution and synthesis of knowledge, information and data related to reclamation. The workshop was used to answer a series of questions identified by the steering committee around knowledge exchange and the aspects of \"What” (what kind of information, data, knowledge to share, etc.); “Why” (why would the community benefit from shared information, etc.) and “How” (type of format used to share the information, etc.). The intention was to have multiple stakeholder groups represented by the participants and to distribute them evenly throughout the room during the discussion to stimulate insightful, constructive and comprehensive conversation. The desired outcomes were: 1. To gain an understanding of what the reclamation community needs (wants) in terms of information, knowledge and/or data; 2. To gain an understanding of why the reclamation community wants this information and how they intend to use it; 3. To obtain suggestions on how to best achieve this and ways to move forward. It became obvious from the table discussions that to be successful, this initiative requires involvement from the entire reclamation community. This includes service/consulting organizations, oil and gas, mineable and in-situ oil sands, sand, gravel and other mining industries, academia, government, and applicable associations such as CLRA, ESAA, AIA, PTAC, etc. All of these industries and organizations have a role to play in collaboration within the reclamation community. Overall the participants found the question of why access to information, knowledge and/or data would be helpful and who would utilize it, easier to address than specifically ‘what’ needed to be shared and how to share it. However, evidence of the potential benefits of a knowledge exchange initiative for the reclamation community is compelling enough to warrant further exploration of the concept. Overall the conclusions from the discussion indicated the reclamation community was interested in multiple types of information and knowledge that could be shared through different mechanisms. The information required was a hierarchy of quality, from peer reviewed literature and knowledge to broadly defined grey literature and most importantly anecdotal practitioner experiences. A main desire is to have greater access to information, but also to the people who generated the information. There were several challenges associated with this type of an initiative related to how the information would physically be shared and how to encourage more effective collaboration in the broader reclamation community. The participants concluded the information should be shared through a variety of mechanisms. Although challenges were identified, the most important obstacles to overcome are to clearly identify the benefits for multiple users, determining a funding mechanism and how to get started. The issues associated with information and computing technologies (ICT) and large databases, intellectual property, QA/QC in data quality, privacy, links to other organizations, etc. could be resolved during the process. Although there was agreement that the concept of exchanging information, knowledge and/or data within the entire reclamation community was feasible, it was determined that the scope and intent of the initiative must be clearly articulated to answer key questions such as who will do the work, what will it cost and who will participate. It was suggested to start the initiative small and grow it appropriately with well-developed and clearly defined goals.

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    Attribution 3.0 International