2023 BC Health Research System Rapid Assessment


Health Research BC initiated three studies to benefit BC life sciences sector and health research system. The first of these studies was a rapid assessment of BC’s health research system. 

In June 2023, Michael Smith Health Research BC, in collaboration with the Health Research Council of BC, conducted a high-level assessment of the provincial health research system. The goal was to better understand current strengths, weaknesses and key areas of opportunity for improvement.



  • Overall, findings from this rapid, high-level assessment suggest that British Columbia’s health research system is characterized by world class institutions and people, substantial goodwill and collective interest in collaborating to continue to build and sustain a strong health research system.
  • All findings were analyzed according to the World Health Organization’s framework for health research systems and its four components — governance, financing, building capacity, and producing and using research — and several strengths and opportunities were identified for B.C. within each category.
  • A major finding from the assessment suggested that coordination and leadership within the B.C. health research system is a key area of opportunity, as were related actions around provincial vision, research priorities, standards and processes, and measuring and evaluating impact.
  • The Ministry of Health’s leadership on accessible data for research was appreciated though ongoing access was identified as a challenge, as was the use of research evidence in practice and policy which requires concerted efforts by the broader research community to address. 
  • Inequities in health care and health outcomes are stark, especially for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. Applying a decolonizing and equity, diversity and inclusion lens to future work will be a critical part of strengthening our health research system.



Health Research BC remains committed to continued proactive deep collaboration across authorities, institutions and communities to improve the health of British Columbians, the health system and the economy. Our organization is at a unique intersection to connect these parties across B.C. to identify opportunities that will actively strengthen our health research system, and this thoughtful exploration with our key informants has provided us with valuable perspectives. A key outcome of this assessment will be to determine areas requiring further analysis, and which additional communities should be included in the process for a more wholistic picture of BC’s health research system. 



The 2023 British Columbia Health Research System Rapid Assessment identifies current strengths and areas of opportunity to build a stronger health research system.