Completed Programs

MSFHR was created in 2001, in honour of Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith. Funded by the province of British Columbia, MSFHR is is BC's health research funding agency, focused on talent development and building health research capacity in the province.

This list summarizes initiatives led or funded by MSFHR that have now completed, no longer fall under the scope of MSFHR, or have matured into independent enterprises. To request more information on specific programs, please contact

Active Communities Initiative Evaluation

The BC Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport contracted MSFHR in 2008 to undertake an independent evaluation of the Active Communities Initiative. The initiative aimed to increase the number of physically active British Columbians by 20 percent by 2010. MSFHR developed evaluation options through stakeholder consultation and contracted Cathexis Consulting Inc. to conduct the review. The findings were presented to the ministry in April 2009.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

From 2003 to 2004, MSFHR worked with the BC Ministry of Health to build capacity for research into the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders. MSFHR assisted with data collection and an inventory of research activity to inform future planning for a regional collaboration. The inventory was presented in March 2004 to a meeting of policy-makers, researchers, and funding agencies from across Western and Northern Canada.

BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI)

MSFHR provided core funding to the BCEHI from 2010 to 2016 to facilitate a harmonized approach to health research ethics review, to allow researchers to submit a single ethics application regardless of the number of BC jurisdictions involved in a project. The initiative led the development and implementation of harmonized models to make the ethics review process more timely and efficient whilst ensuring consistency and quality. Learn more.

BC Health Research Strategy

At a meeting of health research and health care leaders in 2012, participants agreeed on the need for a BC health research strategy to shape a more comprehensive, coordinated and systems-oriented approach to health research in BC. The group endorsed MSFHR to consult with the community and facilitate its development. Learn more.

BC Healthy Living Alliance Evaluation of Initiatives

MSFHR facilitated the evaluation of seven health promotion initiatives implemented by members of the BC Healthy Living Alliance. The initiatives were designed to deliver activities across the province in three areas that underlie much of BC’s chronic disease burden: healthy eating, physical activity, and living smoke-free.

BC Immunization Program Evaluation Research Project

In 2008, MSFHR launched a special competition to fund research project that support the goals of the BC Immunization Strategy. MSFHR’s role was to administer funds, facilitate arms-length review of the studies, oversee grant administration, and ensure the reporting requirements of the BC Ministry of Health were met. Three research projects were chosen to receive two years of funding.

Digital health forum

A one-day forum brought together more than 130 participants – representing research, health care, industry, government, and lived experience – to start a dialogue about digital health needs and opportunities in BC and the Yukon. Convened by MSFHR in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Yukon government, the inter-regional workshop aimed to accelerate digital solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges by connecting individuals outside their typical networks. Learn more.

Early Childhood Development Program Evaluation

In 2009, MSFHR hosted a gathering of stakeholders and experts in early child development to review a parenting support program evaluation framework. Led by the Success By 6 Initiative and funded by the Max Bell Foundation, the framework supported a project to provide common tools and reporting systems for measuring the effectiveness of early child development programs across BC.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders

At the request of the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, MSFHR supported efforts to create a proposal for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders research networking. Consultation focused on networking to enhance links between investigators, policy-makers, care providers, and consumers in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the three territories. MSFHR delivered a report containing recommendations for a regional network, which was adopted and implemented in 2004. The Provincial Health Services Authority was designated the host organization for this network.

Fuse international conference on knowledge exchange in public health

On May 8-10, 2018, MSFHR co-hosted Fuse 2018 alongside the BC Ministry of Health, the Public Health Association of BC, and the United Kingdom's Fuse Centre for Translational Research in Public Health. Fuse 2018 was convened to support the use of research evidence in policy-making that promotes and protects the health of citizens. Learn more.

Health of Population Networks

Between 2004 and 2010, MSFHR funded eight Health of Population Networks to build partnerships among BC researchers conducting research related to specific population groups. The networks addressed a diverse range of issues, including child and youth health, environmental and occupational health, mental health and addictions, aboriginal health, and women’s health. Learn more.

Health Services and Policy Research Support Network (HSPRSN)

HSPRSN launched in 2005 supported by $16 million in funding from the BC Ministry of Health to foster innovative research to improve our health system. MSFHR coordinated programs through HSPRSN to evaluate the impact of health redesign and change initiatives, build capacity for health services research, and increase collaboration between researchers and decision-makers. Learn more.

Institutional Awards

MSFHR provided funding to eight major health research institutions in BC to support the creation of a vibrant and sustainable health research environment. Institutional awards totaling $15.1 million were granted between 2003 and 2009.

Research Unit Program

Research Unit awards enabled established BC research teams to advance their research agendas, address provincial priorities, and promote collaborations among academics, health practitioners, and policy makers. In total, MSFHR funded 31 research units in four cohorts between 2003 and 2007. See award recipients.

SARS Vaccine Development Initiative

In April 2003, the Government of British Columbia appointed MSFHR to manage the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (SAVI), a $2.6 million investment to fast-track the development of a SARS vaccine. The initiative led to BC researchers decoding the SARS virus in record time and developing three vaccine candidates. Learn more.

Team Planning Program

Team Planning awards were one-year grants that supported collaboration by enabling BC-based researchers to plan shared research activities. The awards focused on the establishment of teams and the identification of research priorities. These awards were offered from 2006 to 2008. See award recipients.

Team Start-Up Program

Team Start-Up awards supported researchers involved in multidisciplinary collaboration to compete successfully for infrastructure and operating funds from provincial, national, and/or international sources. These three-year grants were offered from 2006 to 2008. See award recipients.

Technology/Methodology Platforms

The Technology/Methodology Platform program ran from 2006-2017 to establish shared research infrastructure and build capacity for health research in BC. Thanks to these investments, three funded infrastructure projects have matured into sustainable enterprises that are nationally-recognized for their research expertise and leadership. Learn more.