What is SPOR?


The Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) is the result of the vision and commitment of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Maritime provinces that recognize decisions in healthcare need to be patient-focused and evidence-based. 

Launched in 2011, the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, SPOR is about providing the evidence needed to inform the development of health policies and improve the health care system. It is about moving scientific discoveries to the bedside and producing the information that decision-makers and health care providers need to improve care.

SPOR is guided by the following principles:

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

To help catalyze patient-oriented research across Canada, SPOR:

Establishing hubs for patient-oriented research

As part its commitment to facilitating patient-oriented research, SPOR has established a number of provincial and territorial hubs to connect research to patients, caregivers, families, policy-makers and healthcare providers.


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.

There are 11 SPOR SUPPORT Units. The MSSU is the only SPOR SUPPORT Unit serving more than one province.

Learn more about SPOR SUPPORT Units

Learn more about the MSSU Strategic Plan

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.

There are currently seven funded networks: CHILD-BRIGHT Network; Chronic Pain Network; Diabetes Action Canada; IMAGINE-SPOR Chronic Disease Network; Can-SOLVE CKD; ACCESS Open Minds; and, the Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI). 

Learn more about the CIHR SPOR Networks 

Other SPOR Initiatives 

The SPOR Evidence Alliance involves more than 175 members across Canada in creating a coordinating centre to which knowledge-users can submit health research questions, which will then be matched to experts who will conduct systematic reviews and knowledge synthesis research to address the topic. 

The SPOR Canadian Data Platform will provide a single portal through which researchers will be able to request access to a multitude of administrative, clinical, and social data from various sources from across the country.

The Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) brings stakeholders together to strengthen the Canadian clinical trials environment and promote Canada as a leading destination for clinical trials globally through policy development, advocacy, standardization, and evaluation.

More about SPOR

Download an infographic: What is the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research?

Visit the CIHR website for the latest information on the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research