More About SPOR

The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, or SPOR, is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) initiative focused on integrating health research more effectively into care. SPOR is made up of two elements: SPOR SUPPORT Units and SPOR Networks.

Patient Engagement is also an integral component of SPOR, the MSSU, and the SPOR Networks:

“An important goal of Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is for patients (an overarching term inclusive of individuals with personal experience of a health issue and informal caregivers, including family and friends), researchers, health care providers and decision-makers to actively collaborate to build a sustainable, accessible and equitable health care system and bring about positive changes in the health of people living in Canada. Engaging patients is thus an integral component in the development and implementation of all elements of SPOR”

1: Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Patient Engagement. [updated 2014; cited September 03, 2014]; Available Here


Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units consist of multidisciplinary researchers and facilitators specialized in research methods, policy development, and patient engagement. These Units, of which the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) is one, provide expertise and support to patient-oriented research in their region, as well as assist with decision-making in health services.

The objectives of a SUPPORT Unit are to:

  • Identify and address the needs of patients and knowledge users by facilitating research;
  • Provide specialized and multidisciplinary methodological expertise in patient-oriented research and its application;
  • Assist decision makers and investigators to identify and design research studies, conduct biostatistical analyses, manage data, provide and teach project management skills, and ensure studies meet regulatory standards;
  • Advance methods and training in comparative effectiveness research and develop the next generation of methodologists;
  • Provide timely access to data including linked datasets and integrate existing or new databases.

SPOR Networks

SPOR Networks are groups of patients, researchers, policy-makers and health services providers who work together across Canada to conduct research that is effective in addressing patient needs in targeted areas.

The objective of SPOR Networks is to generate evidence and innovations that advance practice and policy changes, leading to transformative and measurable improvements inpatient health, health care, and the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

There are currently two targeted networks under SPOR, the Network in Youth and Adolescent Mental Health, and the Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations. You can find more detailed information on these networks on the CIHR SPOR Network page.