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’re happy to provide letters of support for research proposals that align with our goals and objectives. 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.






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.


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.


BC Data Scout


BC Data Scout™ is an online tool that gives health researchers a general idea about how many people in BC meet specific health characteristics or criteria. BC Data Scout searches the BC Ministry of Health data warehouse, counts people with certain characteristics, and returns a general summary report with approximate numbers to the researcher.


Researchers can make sure there’s enough information available to determine if a research study is worth pursuing further, making their research applications stronger and giving them a better chance of securing future funding.


The service is important for patients because stronger research programs can lead to higher-quality research, which is key to better health care and has potential benefits for everyone.


Eligibility and access


BC Data Scout is currently offered only to academic researchers who work in a BC academic institution or university. Access is provided to users with account privileges through Population Data BC’s online portal


Data Scout is a collaborative effort between the BC Ministry of Health, the BC SUPPORT Unit, and Population Data BC.


Learn more.


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 spurewal@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”.

Methods Clusters
The Methods Clusters studied the way patient-oriented research is done, and how it could be better. Learn what we found: Methods Clusters.

Methods Section
Read our blog about methods of patient-oriented research. We’re interested in building the science behind how we do patient-oriented research, and thinking critically about how to do it well. See the latest blog post: Methods Section.


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