Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), created by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is about ensuring that the right patient receives the right intervention at the right time.

The objective of SPOR is to foster evidence-informed health care by bringing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care as soon as possible to ensure greater quality, accountability, and accessibility of care.

SPOR is a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners dedicated to integrating research into care to improve health by involving key stakeholders such as:

  • patients and caregivers
  • researchers
  • health practitioners
  • policy makers
  • provincial/territorial health authorities
  • academic institutions
  • charities
  • industry
SPOR infographic

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SPOR abides by five principles:

  1. Patients need to be involved in all aspects of the research to ensure questions and results are relevant;
  2. Decision-makers and clinicians need to be involved throughout the entire research process to ensure integration into policy and practice;
  3. Funding under SPOR is based on a 1:1 matching formula with non-federal government partners to ensure relevance and applicability;
  4. Effective patient-oriented research requires a multi-disciplinary approach; and
  5. SPOR is outcome driven and incorporates performance measurement and evaluation as integral components of the initiative.

The Strategy has six major elements:


There are 11 provincial and territorial SPOR SUPPORT units across the country. The acronym “SUPPORT” stands for “Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials.” SUPPORT Units provide the knowledge infrastructure necessary for local patient-oriented research and to help lead change responsive to locally driven health, healthcare and health policy needs. All SUPPORT Units have six core functions:

  • Data platforms and services
  • Methods support and development
  • Health systems, knowledge translation, and implementation
  • Real world clinical trials
  • Career development in methods and health services research
  • Consultation and research services


SPOR Networks are national collaborative research networks including patients, health service providers, policy/decision makers and health researchers. CIHR has funded seven SPOR Networks covering three broad areas of research: Youth and Adolescent Mental Health; Primary and Integrated Health Care; and Chronic Disease.

Developing Capacity

SPOR has developed a Capacity Development Framework to improve Canada’s capacity to attract, train and mentor patient-oriented research professionals and researchers, and to create sustainable career paths in patient-oriented research. In addition, SPOR’s Capacity Development work includes mentoring, training and career support across other elements of SPOR (SUPPORT Units, Networks, Evidence Alliance).

Clinical Trials

SPOR has supported the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre to ensure that Canada is able to develop, support and deliver patient-oriented clinical trials that can bring new therapies and technologies to Canadian patients faster and more efficiently.

Patient Engagement

SPOR is has developed a patient engagement framework that outlines key opportunities for action, setting the stage for worthwhile collaborations in determining health research priorities as well as in the design and conduct of research projects.

Evidence Alliance

The latest part of the SPOR strategy, the Evidence Alliance was funded in 2017 to provide national-level support in knowledge synthesis, clinical practice guidelines development, knowledge translation, and patient-oriented research.

For information on CIHR funding, click here or click here for Researchnet.