The Leadership in Patient-Oriented Research: Pragmatic Clinical Trials Certificate is a unique training opportunity developed to increase the knowledge, capacity, and practical skills of clinical trial professionals across Alberta. The vision of this program is to create a highly trained workforce to raise the standard for clinical trial conduct in Alberta. Dr. Michael Hill, Joint Lead of the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Platform, explains:


Patient-Oriented Research

Patient-oriented research refers to a continuum of research that engages patients as partners, focuses on patient-identified priorities, and aims to improve patient outcomes. This research, conducted by multidisciplinary teams in partnership with relevant stakeholders, aims to apply the knowledge generated to improve healthcare systems and practices.

  1. Meaningfully engages patients
  2. Focuses on patient-identified priorities
  3. Aims to improve patient outcomes.

Incorporating a patient-oriented approach is becoming an integral part of health services research. Several journals now require applicants and researchers to provide evidence of their patient-oriented research approach to be eligible for funding or publication (British Medical Journal; Canadian Medical Association Journal). Many research institutions and organizations have created teams of stakeholders, including patients, families, and community members, to make decisions on priority areas, projects, and funding allocation.

For more information on Patient Engagement in Health Research, visit CIHR.

Applying a patient-oriented research approach to clinical trials is the next step in health research that reflects the increasing emphasis on patient engagement, partnership, priorities, and patient outcomes. CIHR has identified the improvement of competitiveness in conducting clinical trials as a key goal for SPOR. One of the ways in which the Pragmatic Clinical Trials and the Career Development Platforms of AbSPORU are focusing on this goal is through capacity development for clinical trial staff by developing the Leadership in Patient-Oriented Research: Pragmatic Clinical Trials Certificate.

Principal investigators who are conducting research with a patient-oriented approach may also benefit from the support services offered by AbSPORU platforms. For further information about how to apply for services with AbSPORU, please visit and click “Apply for Services”.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has developed provincial partnerships across the country to support patient-oriented research with expertise, resources, and knowledge through the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) is supported by CIHR and Alberta Innovates and is dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of patient-oriented research in Alberta.

AbSPORU fosters evidence-informed health care by brining innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care, to ensure greater quality, accountability, and accessibility of care. With equal funding from the CIHR and Alberta Innovates, AbSPORU has seven (7) platforms that provide key services and supports to priority areas.

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates in partnership with multiple Universities across the province. The University of Alberta and the University of Calgary provide the infrastructure in which the Certificate was developed, with two of the Leads with Faculty appointments at UofA and two at UofC, with the Certificate staff operating out of UofC. The Platform Leads recognize the Universities for their support and operational assistance in the development of this program.

University Partnerships
University of Calgary University of Alberta