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An Evidence-based Model for the Transfer & Exchange of Research Knowledge (EMTReK) Relevant and Applicable to Palliative Care

Research Project Title

Developing & implementing a ‘System’ of structured network-wide dissemination & knowledge transfer activities


Knowledge Transfer & Exchange (KTE), KTE Model, Knowledge Transfer Activities, Dissemination and Evidence into Practice


Policy requires practice to be based upon evidence. Despite increasing levels of research being gathered in health settings, there are several challenges to the implementation of evidence into practice, which is required to influence change.

Research Project

The aim of the research project was to enhance palliative care across the island of Ireland through the development of a knowledge transfer and exchange model for use in palliative care research. The research project used mixed methods in two stages: (1) Adapting a model of knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE); and (2) Implementing and evaluating the KTE model in palliative care.  A number of case studies were identified from the Palliative Care Research Network projects to evaluate the KTE model.

Key Findings & Recommendations

A systematic review of existing knowledge transfer and exchange frameworks used in health care was carried out. Although over 60 different models or frameworks with relevance to or components of knowledge transfer and exchange in various areas of the fields of health care were identified, many remain largely unrefined and untested. The core concepts of these models/frameworks were analysed. Based on research findings an Evidence-based Model for the Transfer & exchange of Research Knowledge (EMTReK) was developed. The model (Figure one) was designed to provide a framework to guide the process of knowledge transfer and exchange. Five case studies were conducted to explore the use of the EMTReK model within palliative care settings. These case studies highlighted the potential impact of this model to optimise KTE within palliative care.


The main conclusion from this research is that the model has shown itself to be relevant and applicable to palliative care. We do not recommend any changes to the model at present, though further research is needed to test its impact for researchers more objectively whilst applying the learning to knowledge transfer of the model itself. The immediate focus for the research team is on developing resources for researchers interested in using the model. As part of this process a HRB-funded student scholar is working to identify resources for KTE from the systematic review database, with additional resources gathered through a review of web-based resources. In addition, the Principal Investigators (PIs) are working with the research staff in the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) to develop a workshop to support researchers working in palliative care to implement the model in their own practice. Focusing on raising awareness of the model will allow the PIs to identify further opportunities to test the impact of the model in the future, further contributing to the refinement of EMTReK as a resource for researchers to ensure their new knowledge is effectively transferred and exchanged.

Next Steps

In 2017, the AIIHPC set a three year timeframe to build and evaluate competence in the area of knowledge transfer and exchange using EMTReK. This project lead to the design, development and delivery of a series of workshops advocating the use of the EMTReK model to guide researchers’ knowledge dissemination activities. The first one day, CPD accredited, workshop of the series was delivered September 2017 in Dublin: A Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Workshop for Palliative Care Research. Workshop content evolved over the three year period based on pre- and post-evaluation of participants’ competence in knowledge dissemination activities.

In 2020, based on the success of the award winning workshops AIIHPC, in collaboration with University College Dublin and Ulster University developed an eLearning course, ‘Developing a Dissemination Strategy for Health Research’. Similar to the workshops the eLearning course is designed to build researcher’s competence on how to apply a peer-reviewed knowledge transfer and exchange model [EMTReK] to a research proposal, project and/or findings to achieve successful research dissemination.  It supports building capacity on how to develop, activate and evaluate a research dissemination strategy using a structured approach to maximise outcomes. This eLearning course contains 8 short modules, 4 case studies, learning resources and is supported throughout with narration, imagery and videos. Learners can progress through the contents and materials provided independently and at their own pace.


Study carried out: November 2013 – July 2017

Research Team

Principal Investigators: Prof George Kernohan, School of Nursing, University Ulster (UU) and Assoc Prof Suzanne Guerin, UCD School of Psychology, University College Dublin (UCD).

Project Team: Dr Lucia Prihodova, Dr Mary Jane Brown and Dr Cathy Payne (Postdoctoral Scholars).

Funding: This research was funded by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) through its Palliative Care Research Network (PCRN).

Research Project Outputs:

Suzanne Guerin: A ‘System’ of structured network-wide dissemination & knowledge transfer activities

EMTReK Evidence-Based Model for the Transfer & Exchange of Knowledge

Developing a Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Model (EMTReK) for Use in Palliative Care Settings – By Prof George Kernohan

Exploring and Applying the Operational Elements of a Knowledge Transfer & Exchange Model – EMTReK. By Assoc Prof Suzanne Guerin

A Palliative Care Researcher’s Experience Using a Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Model – EMTReK [The Model for Dementia Palliative Care Project]. By Dr Siobhán Fox

Prihodova L., Guerin S. & Kernohan W.G. (2015) Knowledge transfer and exchange frameworks in health and their applicability to palliative care: scoping review protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing 71(7), 1717–1725. doi: 10.1111/jan.12642

Prof George Kernohan, Assoc Prof Suzanne Guerin, Ms Marie McKeon, Dr Cathy Payne, Dr Mary Rabbitte and Dr Lucia Prihodova.  Building Expertise in the Dissemination of Research Knowledge to Advance Palliative Care Policy and Practice: Evaluation of a Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Workshop. Poster presented at the 10th World Research Congress for the European Association for Palliative Care; 2018 May 23-26; Bern, Switzerland.  

Prihodova, L., Guerin, S., Tunney, C., and Kernohan, W.G (2018) Key components of knowledge transfer and exchange in health services research: Findings from a systematic scoping review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 00:1–14. doI: 10.1111/jan.13836

Payne C, Brown MJ, Guerin S, Kernohan WG.(2019) EMTReK: An Evidence-based Model for the Transfer & Exchange of Research Knowledge—Five Case Studies in Palliative Care. SAGE Open Nursing. Jul;5:2377960819861854.

For Further Information Contact:

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