InspireNet transitions to new role with the BC SUPPORT Unit

Healthcare professionals joined in a network

In 2008, MSFHR established the BC Nursing Research Initiative (BCNRI) with an $8 million dedicated grant from the Ministry of Health. BCNRI’s goal is to support research related to BC’s nursing workforce. BCNRI has had many success stories, including the development of InspireNet [1], a virtual platform connecting those active and interested in health services research across BC. Although BCNRI’s funding of InspireNet has now come to an end, a repurposed and rebranded InspireNet will continue to build connections between researchers and research users as the communications platform for the BC SUPPORT Unit [2].

Launched in 2009, InspireNet initially focused on building connections between those involved in nursing health services research. However, the network quickly grew to include more than 4,200 interdisciplinary members from researchers to health care providers, policy and decision-makers, educators, and students.

Since launch, InspireNet members have collaborated to create and share health services knowledge through working groups and research partnerships, discussion forums, blogs, event calendars and document libraries. This ability to foster collaboration between researchers and research-users has established the virtual network as an important mechanism for strengthening research and building capacity for knowledge translation in BC.

Although BCNRI’s funding of InspireNet has now come to an end, InspireNet is currently being repurposed and rebranded for a new role as the integrated communications platform for the BC SUPPORT Unit (‘the Unit’). This transition will draw on the network’s past successes to build a ‘new look’ platform dedicated to the Unit’s mission of supporting, streamlining and increasing patient-oriented research throughout BC.

Engaging patients as research partners is a fundamental part of this effort and the organization is already using the platform to support several teams and working groups. In due course, it will also be adapted to encompass the Unit’s external communications and networking activities.

“The Unit is extremely pleased to be working with Dr. Noreen Frisch and Pat Atherton (former InspireNet academic co-lead and manager, respectively) on this transition. Their experience and expertise in engaging researchers and clinicians through virtual platforms, and increasing research capacity through the development of electronic communities, is intrinsic to furthering patient-oriented research and integrating patients as partners .“

- Minnie Downey, executive director, BC SUPPORT Unit 

Having been involved with the development of both the BC SUPPORT Unit and BCNRI since their inception, MSFHR is pleased that InspireNet will be used to further expand access to patient-oriented research resources across the province, and ultimately increase the uptake of research in practice and policy-making.


[1] InspireNet - Innovative Nursing Services and Practices Informed by Research and Evaluation Network

[2] BC SUPPORT Unit - BC Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Unit