Information for Researchers

The BC SUPPORT Unit, part of the Michael Smith Health Research BC, offers researchers resources to conduct and implement high-quality patient-oriented research.

Patient-oriented research must include patients in:

  • Meaningful and active collaboration in governance
  • Priority-setting
  • Conducting research
  • Knowledge translation

Some other terms you may hear that describe patient-oriented research include “Patient & Public Involvement (PPI)”, “Public Participation” and “Patient Engagement”.

Research support

Patient engagement plans should cover how to effectively recruit, train and support patients to become part of a research team.

Letters of support

We provide letters of support for research proposals that use patient-oriented research approaches. Submit requests at least one week in advance of the competition deadline in order to ensure sufficient time to respond.

To get started, please fill in our inquiry form. You can also email bcsupportunit@healthresearchbc.ca.

Please note, we are unable to provide letters of support for BC-based applications to Health Research BC funding opportunities.


REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, sophisticated web application for building and managing online surveys and databases.

View our infographic: Five reasons to use REDCap for data management.

REDCap is now available for a broader range of projects, including health research studies, clinical trials, learning health systems projects and improvement initiatives.

Follow these three steps to get started:

  1. Register for a my.popdata account
  2. Login to access REDCap
  3. Submit a request to open a new project

REDCap is offered through a partnership between the BC SUPPORT Unit (part of Michael Smith Health Research BC), BC Children’s Hospital, the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation (C2E2), Interior Health, Island Health, and Population Data BC.
More information.

Health Data Platform

Health Data Platform BC is a single, secure platform that provides access to health data from multiple organizations.
People in government, health authorities and research can request access to data, and bring their own data. People access data through a secure virtual desktop with industry-standard analytics tools. Each person has their own protected storage for imported project data.

The platform protects sensitive health data by controlling access, logging and monitoring desktop activity, and reviewing output. And the results from data analysis can help develop policy, evaluate programs, inform strategy, support academic research and more.

Access to Health Data Platform is project-based. Organizations access the platform through the Ministry of Health. Academic researchers access Health Data Platform BC through PopData BC.

Health Data Platform BC is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the BC SUPPORT Unit.


Health Data Platform infographic

Service request for SPOR-Funded Entities

The BC SUPPORT Unit is offering a new annual service request process for SPOR-Funded Entities (SFE), including:

  • SPOR Networks*
  • SPOR National Entities* (e.g. SPOR Canadian Data Platform, Evidence Alliance, National Training Entity)
  • SUPPORT Units

*Please ensure that only the entity’s executive director or principal investigator submits a service request.

Please submit your service request online.

Our experts can provide you with the tools, knowledge and resources to support your research at any stage.

Questions? Review our FAQs and process flow chart to understand how your request is managed. You can also email mtorrejon@healthresearchbc.ca.



Methods Clusters

In 2016, the BC SUPPORT Unit funded a five-year initiative to study the methods of patient-oriented research: the “Methods Clusters”. The Methods Clusters studied the way patient-oriented research is done, and how it could be better.

Learn what we found. Read summaries of the Methods Clusters work.

Interactive education modules

Health researchers in BC now have access to an interactive learning platform to collaborate with patients and the public. The tool includes educational modules designed to help researchers engage diverse people in health research.

Have knowledge or resources to share? You can also add your own content, ask questions, or suggest future topics by completing this form.

This project is funded by the BC SUPPORT Unit and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  The modules were developed using the Tapestry Tool in partnership with the University of British Columbia.

View the modules.

Plain language guide

Accessibility starts with our words. But research can be so full of jargon that it prevents many audiences that we care about from truly engaging with the work. That’s why we created this guide, to help patient-oriented research teams approach their plain language summary.

Visit the guide

Patient-oriented research 101: A video introduction

Learn about patient-oriented research in this introductory video for health researchers, trainees and patients, public and community members.

This 40-minute video includes:

  • Why patient-oriented research exists in Canada
  • What patient-oriented health research looks like
  • Different levels of partner engagement in research
  • Ways patient or public partners may be meaningfully engaged throughout the research process
  • How you can be involved with patient-oriented research

The video was co-developed by the BC SUPPORT Unit and patient partners.

Recruit study participants through REACH BC


REACH BC makes it easier for you to recruit potential health research study participants and patient partners, from across all of British Columbia, in all health authorities, and throughout rural BC.


Learn more and sign up for REACH BC