Research Services

AbSPORU offers a wide range of services to support every step of your patient-oriented research journey. We can help you build relationships and engage patient partners, as well as formulate your research with Alberta’s learning health systems in mind. Our experts can also provide you with all the tools you need to design and execute your study, including accessing and analyzing the wealth of Alberta patient data available. We also can advise on accessing external services offered by other health partners across Canada.

To access these supports at any stage of your research, complete our service request form. You can also request a letter of support to confirm the feasibility of a planned project and include with your grant application, after AbSPORU has been involved in one of the services listed below.

Please note that a minimum of 2 weeks’ time is needed to process letters of support. We cannot guarantee the completion of the letter if applications are submitted less than 2 weeks prior to the required deadline.

Beginning November 1, 2022, AbSPORU will be implementing a variable fee-for-service model. Service fees will be discussed during your initial consultations with AbSPORU. Some clients may be eligible to receive in-kind services.

Data & Research Services

AbSPORU’s Data & Research Services team of experts can help you achieve your research goals by helping you plan and execute your study effectively. We can also connect you with other services offered by our provincial and national partners.

To learn more about health data in Alberta, watch our Introductory Data Series.

Research design

Designing an effective research question and approach is the foundation of a successful study. Our team can help:

  • Conduct feasibility assessments for secondary data use
  • Consult on method, design and research questions
  • Develop an analytical plan
  • Consult of sample size
  • Determine the right preliminary cohort to analyse
  • Review and support grant applications

Data extraction and linkages

We can help you access most health databases across Alberta and advise where to find the data you need. This includes:

  • Extracting data from multiple databases and linking them to answer your research question
  • Connect Care integration
  • Research Electronic Database Capture (REDCap) integration with secondary data

Data management

Using the right data management tools sets your study up for success. Our experts can help with:

  • Database development and maintenance
  • Research tool development and automation

Data analysis

AbSPORU’s Data Services team are experts at every aspect of patient data analysis, including:

  • Data science and statistical analysis
  • ICD coding algorithm
  • Algorithm validation
  • Clinical event adjudication

To learn more about the data available through AbSPORU, you can review the current list of AHS data sets. Learn more

Learning Health System Services

Making lasting and effective change takes more than just good ideas, based on good research. It requires understanding the theory behind change and the ‘why’ behind the way things currently are. The Learning Health Systems team works with researchers to ensure implementation is built in from the very beginning.

Knowledge translation

AbSPORU’s knowledge translation experts know how to translate knowledge into action. Before you even begin your research, they can help you build out your plan with implementation in mind. They offer support with:

  • Developing end-of-plan or end-of-grant knowledge translation plans
  • Creating integrated knowledge translation proposals
  • Identifying and developing knowledge translation products


Our Learning Health Systems team is also here to help you create the best possible approach for implementing your findings within a health system. With their knowledge of change management and best practices they can help:

  • Assess implementation readiness
  • Understand barriers and facilitators to implementation
  • Develop an implementation plan
  • Identify appropriate implementation strategies
  • Map key stakeholders
  • Build sustainability plans
  • Evaluate implementation and progress

Patient Engagement Services

We support patient partners and health researchers to work together as active and equal members of health research teams. The following describes the services we provide through the service request form. Our other services include training and mentorship.

Patient engagement plans

Developing a comprehensive patient engagement plan is essential to patient-oriented research success. Our Patient Engagement team can help you:

  • Access patient engagement resources
  • Develop a patient engagement plan (strategies, timelines, budgets)
  • Obtain an AbSPORU Letter of Support

Patient partners

Including patient partners from Alberta’s many communities and patient groups can help ensure your project priorities, processes and outcomes are meaningful, relevant and accessible to all Albertans. Our team can work with you to:

  • Connect with patient and community organizations
  • Establish and support a Patient Advisory Group
  • Identify patient research partners


Our team can help evaluate the patient engagement process and experience through-out your project.

Who is eligible for AbSPORU services and resources?

Researchers who want to

  • learn or request assistance on including patients and patient partners in their research, or
  • enhance their patient-oriented research

Patients and patient partners who want to

  • help researchers by becoming team members and/or partners with research teams, or
  • become involved in research studies.

The research must

  • be conducted in Alberta or the Northwest Territories and seek to impact patients and/or the healthcare system.
  • have a patient-oriented focus, which AbSPORU can help researchers identify.

Review our service descriptions and request a service or letter of support by completing the forms below

Service Descriptions – people with expertise in many research service areas are available to assist in your Patient-Oriented Research.
Service Application – complete the application form to access services. Ensure all mandatory fields are complete to avoid delay.
Letter of Support – can be provided to confirm the feasibility of a planned project and included with a grant application. This usually occurs after AbSPORU has been involved in one of the services listed above.

Beginning November 1, 2022, AbSPORU will be implementing a variable fee-for-service model. Service fees will be discussed during your initial consultations with AbSPORU. Some clients may be eligible to receive in-kind services.

Questions? Contact AbSPORU at

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University of Calgary Foothills Campus
3330 Hospital Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1


College Plaza
1702, 8215 112 St NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8

Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.