Health Research Categories
How NSHRF Defines Health
Health Research Priorities
Demonstrating Relevance to NSHRF

The NSHRF was founded in 2000 after the Health Research Foundation Act (Bill 22) was proclaimed on January 1, 2000. The Act received Royal Assent on December 3, 1998. Our goal is to assist, collaborate with, and fund individuals and organizations conducting health research in Nova Scotia.

What We Do

The NSHRF exists to improve the health of Nova Scotians through health research.

We do this by working with stakeholders, including provincial government, health authorities, and health researchers, on a number of initiatives and funding opportunities. These include but are not limited to:

  • Supporting health research in Nova Scotia by nurturing careers, monitoring progress, and championing health researchers provincially, nationally and internationally
  • Offering funding opportunities that reflect contemporary standards of excellence
  • Providing a foundation for informed decision making with research
  • Generating greater public awareness about health research

The NSHRF supports the health research enterprise through five programs:

1) Research Program
2) Success Program
3) REAL Knowledge Program
4) REAL Evaluation Services
5) REAL Innovation Program

Program elements are either investigator or priority driven. Our priorities maximize the impact of the health research enterprise on informed decision making through the focused and efficient use of NSHRF resources.

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Health Research Categories

As defined in our Legislation and Regulations, the NSHRF’s four health research categories are: 

Medical Research
Basic scientific and biomedical study; clinical and epidemiological investigations.

Health Policy Research
Impact of social factors; allocation of resources; legal and ethical issues; administration, organization and financing of health care.

Health Outcomes Research
Changes in the health status of populations as a result of health programs or services.

Health Services Research
Efficiency and effectiveness of management, organization, and delivery of health services.

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The word "health" is defined broadly at the NSHRF. We have accepted the Ottawa Charter definition of health as "a complete state of physical, mental, social and emotional well-being ... a resource for living that enables people of all ages to realize their hopes and needs and to change or cope with the environments around them". We recognize the determinants of health, as outlined by the World Health Organization, as factors that influence health.   

Health Research

The NSHRF defines health research as a systematic investigation to establish facts, principles, or generalizable knowledge in the areas of biomedical research, health outcomes research, health policy research and health services research.

Health Research Enterprise

The NSHRF defines the health research enterprise as a community that is an integral part of the health system and includes not only researchers and research institutions but also those who use research to develop policy, deliver care and maintain the health system. By extension then, the national research enterprise is defined as an integral part of the economic and social fabric of Canada and it includes not only those who generate knowledge, but also those who use knowledge to develop policy, deliver goods and services and maintain our socio-economic structures.

Statement of Principle

The NSHRF believes that research is a central component of the health system and the health research enterprise plays an integral role in supporting the health system. We are committed to supporting the health research enterprise in Nova Scotia.  

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Health Research Priorities

As the NSHRF broadly defines health and recognizes there are many factors which influence health, our priorities have been designed to fit within this complex system. We have defined our health research priorities in broad topic areas which will ensure all four health research categories can be reflected within any priority. To work towards improving the health of Nova Scotians through health research, all areas of health research, including basic science, are required. We recognize basic science questions are central to understanding the potential causes, treatment and prevention of disease and promotion of health and sustainability of the health system. Basic science plays a key role in both the area of population health and health services. 

In 2010-11, we identified new health research priorities which have been implemented through our programs and services. To learn more about the priority identification process click here.

The NSHRF’s Health Research Priorities are:

Population Heath

  • Changing demographics
  • Factors that contribute to inequities (income, education, race, culture, literacy, etc.)
  • Issues specific and unique to marginalized populations in Nova Scotia
  • Disease prevention
  • Mental health 

Health Services

  • Continuing care models
  • Primary health care (access)
  • Models of Health Human Resources (HHR)
  • Governance, sustainability and costs

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Demonstrating Relevance

The NSHRF is committed to supporting and enabling research of the highest quality to improve the lives of Nova Scotians. When developing the section of your application regarding relevance to Nova Scotia, it is helpful to include/address the following items:

  • How the proposed research addresses health issues of relevance to Nova Scotians
  • Any relevant demographic and epidemiological data
  • The potential economic impact of the research in Nova Scotia (if relevant)
  • The potential impact of the research on clinical practice in Nova Scotia (if relevant) 
  • The potential impact of the research on health policy or health services in Nova Scotia (if relevant)

The following links may be of assistance in assessing the relevance of your proposed research for Nova Scotia:

Government of Nova Scotia Departments and Agencies

Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness

Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness Statement of Mandate

Additional resources related to the impact of health research in Nova Scotia can be found on the NSHRF website.

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