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Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units are locally accessible, multidisciplinary clusters of specialized research resources, policy knowledge, and patient perspective. SUPPORT Units provide the necessary expertise to pursue patient-oriented research and help lead reforms in response to locally-driven health care needs. They also lead and facilitate decision-making within the health services setting, foster the implementation of best practices, and promote collaboration among researchers engaged in patient-oriented research.

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 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.


Key stakeholders such as patients, researchers, policy makers, funders and health care professionals will be involved in the development of all aspects of a SUPPORT Unit via a collaborative leadership approach. This collaborative leadership and governance will ensure that all voices crucial for changing practice, implementing evidence and ensuring sustainability are integrated.

SUPPORT Units will conduct and support implementation science and integrated knowledge translation approaches. They will also support the design and conduct of clinical and health services studies that address jurisdictional priorities. In addition, all SUPPORT Units will develop new and innovative methods and support systematic evidence reviews. Data systems will be put in place by each SUPPORT Unit to accelerate the conduct of clinical and health services research. Finally, SUPPORT Units will provide training and career development in health services research methods.

Health research investments

Representatives from each jurisdiction are developing SUPPORT Unit business plans to present their priorities, governance, resourcing and budget requirements. It is anticipated that the financial framework for each SUPPORT Unit will be between $2 million and $10 million per year, per jurisdiction. Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) will match financial commitments invested by the jurisdictions.

For more information

Visit the SUPPORT Units – Application instructions and view the SUPPORT Unit Budget Template.



Dr. Michael Patterson

Dr. Vasanthi Srinivasan

Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu

Dr. Gary Teare

Sabrina Kinsella


Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)
160 Elgin Street, 9th Floor
Address Locator 4809A
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0W9

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