EDMONTON, ALBERTA, August 31, 2022 – Alberta Innovates, the University Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), together with the Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) and Alberta Health Services, are pleased to announce an investment to continue building a national initiative to ensure health research is relevant to patients and their health outcomes.

The Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) is a pan-Canadian initiative established by CIHR that ensures patients have a voice in health research, and findings and results from this research are implemented into practice. Alberta Innovates established AbSPORU in 2013 with the aim to improve Alberta’s health research ecosystem. Phase II, for AbSPORU, will entail mobilizing capacity for patient-oriented research generated throughout SPOR Phase I to help bring evidence- and patient-informed transformation and innovation to improve the health outcomes of all Albertans.

Alberta Innovates will invest $6.7 million into Phase II of AbSPORU as part of a combined $21 million in financial support from CIHR ($13 million) and the University Hospital Foundation ($1.25 million). In-kind support will come from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Alberta Health Services, Athabasca University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, and the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute.

AbSPORU will continue to have a significant impact on Alberta’s research, innovation and healthcare ecosystems by providing essential training, research support and strategic transformational change, all with the goal of building an integrated Learning Health System.

Phase II of AbSPORU will continue to listen to the patient voice throughout the entire research process and in the implementation of best practices related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA).

Researchers who conduct patient-oriented research can continue to engage AbSPORU as a multidisciplinary research service hub, accessing data, research supports, training and connecting to a community of other researchers and patient partners. For a full list of AbSPORU’s research services, visit


“Alberta-based innovation and research have the ability to improve health outcomes, diversify our economy, and create jobs. This investment supports ongoing health research and will strengthen Alberta’s position as a hub for world-class research, helping to attract investment and talent to our province.

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

“Alberta Innovates is pleased to partner with CIHR to administer the Alberta SPOR Support Unit. When we put patients at the center of research, we expect positive outcomes. This investment is not only good news for patient-oriented research but for the health and wellbeing of Albertans.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

“Our work at CIHR has made patient-oriented research no longer just a concept in Canada; patients and researchers are working together to produce measurable improvements in service delivery and health care practice across the country. Patient-oriented research wouldn’t be where it is today without the ongoing support and contributions from all SPOR-funded entities and their steadfast commitment to patient-oriented research in each of their communities.”

Dr. Michael Strong, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“As a catalyst in health ecosystem leadership in Alberta, the University Hospital Foundation is thrilled to support this far-reaching initiative that puts patients at the centre of health research.”

Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, President & CEO, University Hospital Foundation

“Patients are at the heart of everything we do at Alberta Health Services. Understanding how best to engage them in shaping a health system that best meets their needs is of fundamental importance. We look forward to playing a major role in further developing the Learning Health System platform, which will help ensure the latest evidence is informing patient care.”

Dr. Braden Manns, AHS Vice President Provincial Clinical Excellence (interim),
co-applicant on the SPOR 2.0 grant, and researcher

“With the support, expertise and resources from Alberta Innovates, AbSPORU has become a key force in the Alberta health research ecosystem. Our ultimate goal for Phase II is to bridge the gap between research evidence and health care practice to make a positive impact on health policies, health outcomes and health care.”

Kelli Buckreus, Executive Director, Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit


Alberta Innovates has forged trusted partnerships with the CIHR and others within Alberta’s health ecosystem. This includes Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, the Strategic Clinical Networks, the province’s research universities, the Alberta Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network, the Provincial Continuous Professional Development Committee, the Physician Learning Program and more.

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) provides expertise, training and resources to Alberta’s health research community to increase Alberta’s capacity for patient-oriented research. We work closely with patients from diverse communities and with our network of healthcare partners to improve health outcomes for all Albertans. By fostering these partnerships, we are strengthening Alberta’s learning health system through effective, evidence-based knowledge translation and implementation, and studying that implementation to accelerate change. Learn more.

The University Hospital Foundation (UHF) raises funds to advance patient care, research and innovation at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, as well as research at the University of Alberta and care in the community through Alberta Health Services (AHS).

As agents of hope, we boldly seek solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges, matching the determination and purpose-driven intensity of the healthcare teams we support. Using innovative approaches to philanthropy, including new partnerships and bold ideas to bring the right people, resources and solutions together, we are improving health, reducing the devastating impact of disease and addressing the inequitable health challenges faced by members of diverse cultures. Learn more.

Alberta Innovates is the province’s largest and Canada’s first provincial research and innovation agency. For a century we have worked closely with researchers, companies and entrepreneurs – trailblazers who built industries and strengthened communities. Today we are pivoting to the next frontier of opportunity in Alberta and worldwide by driving emerging technologies across sectors. We are a provincial corporation delivering seed funding, business advice, applied research and technical services, and avenues for partnership and collaboration.Learn how Alberta Innovates.

Dwayne Brunner

Senior Manager, Media & Strategic Community Relations