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Horizons

A vibrant culture of health research and innovation for a stronger Saskatchewan

Every success experienced by SHRF is due to the solid foundation of excellence that has been cultivated over the past 12 years. In our first issue of Horizons, we highlight the four main values that drive the success of Saskatchewan's health research enterprise.

We are committed to investing in high-quality, peer-reviewed research. We believe that an investment in health research and innovation is an investment in people. Our investments play a key role in attracting and retaining top researchers that contribute to a world-class health research environment.

We recognize the importance of fostering collaborative partnerships and stakeholder engagement to help build and broaden Saskatchewan’s health research and innovation capacity. Our partnerships with not-for-profits such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Alzheimer's Society of Saskatchewan have leveraged millions of dollars in additional money, trained and employed faculty and students and extended their research beyond Saskatchewan.

We focus on accountability and impact, ensuring that our investments are truly impacting the well-being of Saskatchewan residents. This is done through our high quality, peer-reviewed process, the evaluation of the research we fund and reporting publicly on developments in health research across the province.

Finally, as a lean organization we operate efficiently and effectively. This allows us to keep our administrative costs low and to put the majority of our funding in the hands of researchers. The researchers who are working to make Saskatchewan a healthier place to live.

These values enable Saskatchewan health researchers to place themselves among the world's best, allowing the province to be a global leader in creating and adopting new health innovations. Below is a glimpse of the success stories and the impacts this research has on local and global health.

Below we share some of our success stories

Excellence

SHRF's activities and investments serve as the catalyst for excellence in health research and innovation.

The benefits of health research and innovation improve the physical, mental, social and economic well-being of Saskatchewan citizens. Our investments play a key role in attracting and retaining top researchers that contribute to a world-class health research environment.

These health researchers are builders. Their stories resonate with triumph and opportunity. Their contributions to knowledge and understanding of health issues have strengthened Saskatchewan's health research enterprise.

 

Saskatchewan Health Research: An Investment in Discovery

 

Collaboration

SHRF's activities and investments foster strong partnerships that support the creation and adoption of new knowledge and health innovations.

SHRF's activities and investments foster strong partnerships that support the creation and adoption of new knowledge and health innovations.

Health research and innovation is the cornerstone of a healthier society and we all have a part to play. By working together we can help build a vibrant culture of health research and innovation for a stronger Saskatchewan. Through our Saskatchewan Research Chair program, we work with partners to address our province's pressing health issues such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. These partnerships have leveraged millions of dollars in additional money, trained and employed faculty and students and extended their research beyond Saskatchewan.

The following examples highlight our commitment to increasing the health research capacity in the province and improving local and global health.

Did you know that stroke is the number three killer in Canada, with 50,000 Canadians of all ages suffering a stroke and 14,000 dying as a result each year?

In 2012, the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Saskatchewan and SHRF announced the $1M partnership to support stroke research, awarded to Dr. Michael Kelly, a neurosurgeon and researcher at the University of Saskatchewan. Both agencies provided $100,000 per year for five years. Additionally, the University of Saskatchewan provided $200,000 for equipment and personnel costs, as well as providing protected research time and salary. The Saskatoon Health Region also provides contributions through additional access to equipment, facilities and personnel.

A highlight of Dr. Kelly's research program thus far is that we are a study site in the ESCAPE stroke trial, an international randomized controlled trial showing that a clot retrieval procedure, known as endovascular treatment (ET), can dramatically improve patient outcomes after an acute ischemic stroke. There were 22 sites from North America, Europe, UK and Asia and it recruited 316 patients in ESCAPE.

22 sites from North America, Europe, UK and Asia that recruited 316 patients in ESCAPE.

"Twenty years ago patients presenting with a stroke in the emergency department were put at the back. This has changed and the work undertaken by Dr. Kelly has changed the way we look at patients and how we treat them. It has improved people's lives"

- Dr. Jim Thornhill,
Special Assistant to the Vice President, Research, University of Saskatchewan.

Did you know 1 in 10 Saskatchewanians 65+ has Alzheimer's disease or another dementia and it costs Saskatchewan $65,000 per person annually?

In 2010, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan and SHRF announced the $1M partnership to support Alzheimer's disease and related dementia research, awarded to Dr. Darrell Mousseau, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan. The Chair is a partnership between the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, and the University of Saskatchewan. The two funding partners each provide $100,000 per year for five years, while the University provides infrastructure and support. The position was renewed in 2015 for an additional five years.

Dr. Mousseau continues to make tremendous progress in Alzheimer's disease and related dementia research, a disease that currently has no cure.

“People and families affected by dementia often feel hopeless,”

Explains Joanne Bracken,
Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan CEO.

“By funding research, we’re providing hope for a tomorrow with a cure – a tomorrow without Alzheimer’s.”

  • $200,000 per year for five years, shared equally between Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan and SHRF
  • Chair has leveraged additional $2M from other sources
  • Employed 1 junior faculty member, 7FT and 1 PT technicians
  • Trained 3 post-docs, 4 MSc students, 3 Sask Polytech students, 32 UG students, 20 high school students
  • Confirmed link between depression, use of antidepressants and AD
  • Clear evidence that AD is the terminal phase of two distinct diseases in men and women
  • Designing a blood-based screen to diagnose young women at highest risk of developing AD in late life
  • 22 articles, 3 book chapters, 27 media stories, 65 conference presentations, 12+ community/industry presentations, 1 patent pending

Transparency
and accountability

SHRF's decision-making and business processes are open and accessible.

Given today's economic climate, increasing demands for public dollars, obligations for accountability and transparency, and the need to demonstrate the benefits of investments in health research, there is a greater need for funders to maintain the highest standard of financial stewardship.

As a publicly funded organization, we are accountable to taxpayers' dollars by ensuring we are investing in high quality research, and evaluating and demonstrating the impacts of the research we fund. This is done through our high quality, peer-reviewed process, the evaluation of the research we fund and reporting publicly on developments in health research across the province.

Our high quality, peer-review process ensures that we are funding the best research. This is in part due to the panel of dedicated and active experts committed to following our processes to assess research proposals.

In the last year, more than 110 experts from across Canada reviewed SHRF funding applications.

aboriginal health report

An example of our impact assessments is the publication Weechihitotan (Let’s help and support each other) – The Value of Aboriginal Health Research in Saskatchewan. This publication uses a case study approach to demonstrate the impact of Aboriginal health research in Saskatchewan.

View our Aboriginal Health Report

We also pride ourselves on the way in which we evaluate the research we fund and the innovative ways that we showcase the impacts being made from health research.

Efficiency
and effectiveness

SHRF's lean organization allows it to be flexible and nimble in responding to health research and innovation priorities of Saskatchewan, and to ensure that we meet the needs of our stakeholders and funders.

SHRF is a provincial agency that receives funding from the Saskatchewan government. Operating as a lean organization allows us to keep our administrative costs low and enables us to put the majority of our funding in the hands of researchers who are continually working to make Saskatchewan a healthier place to live.

2015-16 Budget $5.6M

  • SHRF-led Programs
    63%
  • Leadership and management
    13%
  • Impact and Evaluation
    2%
  • Communication, Outreach and Partnerships
    7%
  • Programs support
    4%
  • Partner-led programs
    11%
 

324-111 Research Drive
Saskatoon, SK Canada S7N 3R2
Phone: 306.975.1680 | 1.800.975.1699

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