KT needs assessment survey informs SPOR business case

6 August 2014

As a leader in the health research community, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) has an important role to play in helping to close the gap between knowledge (what we know) and action (what we do), through knowledge translation (KT).

Knowledge translation encompasses the theories, strategies and activities used to increase the development and use of health research evidence in policy, practice and further research. MSFHR supports the KT activities of the British Columbia (BC) health research community through a variety of roles as described in our 2012 Implementation Science article.

Much of our focus has been on the role of building capacity for KT among BC researchers and knowledge users through KT skills training and access to KT resources. To further understand the KT training and resource needs in BC, MSFHR launched a provincial online needs assessment survey in March 2012. More than 1,200 people responded to the survey, which was targeted at both BC health researchers and those who use health research evidence in their work.

The results of the survey were recently outlined in a June 2014 Implementation Science article written by MSFHR’s KT and Evaluation staff. The findings emphasize the importance of considering all aspects of KT in training opportunities (e.g., tailoring research results to identified key audiences; engaging key users of the research in its development and use; understanding the body of research literature on a particular research topic; and using the research evidence in different contexts), while taking into account different stakeholder needs (e.g., different training methods, costs, levels).

The value of the survey results has already been demonstrated in relation to one provincial capacity-building effort where learnings informed the development of the business case for a Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit in BC — a provincial initiative co-led by MSFHR in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health. SPOR aims to improve health outcomes and enhance patients’ health care experience through the integration of research evidence at all levels in the health system; KT and KT skills training is a fundamental component of this initiative. [1] It is a national initiative developed by CIHR “to foster evidence-informed health care by bringing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care.” [2] Read more about SPOR here.

Through our involvement in the BC SPOR Support Unit and other regional and provincial KT initiatives, opportunities will continue to be developed to address the KT needs of the health research community with the ultimate goal of increasing the use of health research evidence in BC and beyond.   

To learn more about KT, visit the KT 101 page on the MSFHR website.


Chelsea Noel is a Marketing & Stakeholder Relations Assistant and Jessica Collins is a Knowledge Translation Coordinator for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

[1] “About SPOR”, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research website, http://www.msfhr.org/our-work/activities/patient-oriented-research/about-spor

[2] “Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research”, Canadian Institutes of Health Research website, http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/41204.html