The BC Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join forces to create a dynamic and integrated health research organization that will support the growth and evolution of BC’s research and life sciences sectors. The proposed new organization will be committed to improving the health of British Columbians, the health-care system, and the knowledge economy.

BC AHSN and MSFHR have complementary mandates as BC-based health research organizations. The two organizations, with many shared stakeholders, are already strong partners with long-term connections on key activities. BC AHSN focuses on creating collaborative partnerships, including with patients and people with lived experience, in order to create an environment in which research and innovation are more readily translated, applied into clinical practice and policy, and evaluated for patient benefit and value. MSFHR helps develop, retain and recruit the talented people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, addresses health system priorities, creates jobs and adds to the knowledge economy.

“We have the potential to shape the next chapter for health research in British Columbia, building on a legacy of shared achievements,” said Bev Holmes, president and CEO of MSFHR, which was founded in 2001. “By joining with BC AHSN, we aim to be more than the sum of our parts. Together as a new organization, we will be in a stronger position to drive discovery and innovation and maximize our contribution to BC’s vibrant and globally-competitive health research enterprise.”

The organizations are jointly undertaking additional due diligence and engagement with key stakeholders. In the coming months, both organizations will hold separate board and member meetings to vote on the decision.

“This new organization will provide the opportunity to work with the many curious, creative and passionate minds across the province to enable learning health system environments,” said Stirling Bryan, president, BC AHSN. “Our work will continue to engage patients and the public, researchers, health-care providers, government, industry and community partners.”

Additional information and updates will be provided as consolidation progresses. Both organizations are excited about the opportunity to combine their efforts towards a stronger health research system for the benefit of all British Columbians.