AbSPORU Data and Research Services Lead
Alberta Innovates
Kamouraska, AB, CA
1d ago

Data and Research Services Lead

SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) is a coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners comprised of Networks and Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units.

The SPOR Units are specialized, multidisciplinary research service centres located across Canada working with provincial or territorial health services that supports the use of research evidence in decision-making and inform best practices.

The goal of SPOR is to help transform the role of patient from a passive receptor of services to a proactive partner who helps shape health research and, as a result, health care.

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) is currently seeking for Phase II, starting July 2020, a

Data and Research Services Lead. This is a contract position with Alberta Innovates.


Responsibilities require a minimum two-year commitment to support stability and continuity as well as an estimated 1 day / week of dedicated effort to meet AbSPORU expectations.

Flexibility is required and the details can be negotiated with the current employer(s).

Review of performance would occur annually with possibility for a one-term renewal.


  • PhD or ScD in quantitative field such as Health Services research, Medical Economics, Medical Informatics, Biostatistics, or Computer Science, computer engineering or related field
  • An existing faculty appointment with an Alberta university and knowledge of university policies, processes, and procedures with regard to hiring and managing staff in a university context, including relevant collective agreements
  • 10 years of experience in conducting advanced analysis of health data with real-world application
  • Experience working with business stakeholders as a trusted adviser in the fields of life sciences, medical diagnosis, biostatistics, and / or patient-oriented research
  • Experience communicating effectively with project and business stakeholders about Data Science and data science projects and to communicate results of statistical models to broad audience and convert findings to actionable applications.
  • Experience providing mentorship, education, and thought leadership to organizational stakeholders regarding best practices in data science and research design
  • Application of advanced statistical, machine learning, and / or data mining techniques (e.g., classification, clustering, association mining, forecasting), to real-world problems with massive healthcare claims data
  • Experience in a healthcare setting or work with health care data such as discharge abstract database, health provider claims, EMR, among others
  • Experience with any of the following : biomedical data types / population health data / real world data / novel data streams
  • Experience with diverse research methodology and in conducting studies
  • Experience with external customers - conducting presentations, participating in strategy or QA meetings
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • A demonstrated ability to work and collaborate in a team environment
  • Able to create a shared understanding and vision
  • Prior experience in multi-disciplinary teams involving working and communicating regularly with the other AbSPORU platforms and networks
  • Superior networking skills
  • Strong innovation management skills including creativity, problem solving and continuous improvement; risk management / risk taking skills;
  • relationship building skills and implementation skills.


    If Interested please attach a letter of interest, CV and a one-page proposal.

    This competition is open until a successful candidate is found.

    Interested candidates should highlight the following in their proposal :

  • Vision statement for Data and Research Services within AbSPORU 2.0
  • Why is patient oriented research and meaningfully engaging patients and citizens important
  • Where you see the needs, future direction and opportunities for a learning health system locally, nationally, and internationally
  • How this opportunity builds upon your existing achievements and will integrate with your current professional responsibilities
  • Your aims and objectives for AbSPORU Data and Research Services and how you propose to advance patient-oriented research and impacts in health system performance
  • Identify real and perceived conflicts of interest
  • Provide ideas for sustainability of the Unit
  • As one of the AbSPORU Leads, the successful candidate will champion, develop and facilitate through access, use, analytics of data including artificial intelligence / machine learning, as well as providing other identified research project services to support patient-oriented research, learning health system and patient care innovation.

    This is done in collaboration with patients and caregivers, researchers, clinicians, health system program managers, and health system decision makers (in keeping with Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness principles and Indigenous paradigms) to positively impact health policies, health outcomes, health care efficiency, and patient / provider experience.

    This Data and Research Services (DRS) Lead is a thought leader in health care data and analytics, understands the health data assets and gaps in Alberta, and is also responsible for direct services to AbSPORU clients (researchers, clinicians, patients, industry, decision-makers, policy individuals) working in patient-oriented research to facilitate acceleration of positive change and transformation of the health care system.

    The DRS Lead is responsible for the strategic and tactical goals for AbSPORU and will be able to :

  • Acquire and manage data relevant to the conduct of POR, which includes administrative health data, clinical data and social / economic data.
  • Identify and study new data sources for insights / correlation to investigate how data can be used to solve new business challenges in patient-oriented research.

    Create prototypes with data sets and provide guidance on leveraging and combining new data sources for new business insights that would be available to clients.

  • Harmonize, standardize and create linkages between jurisdictional datasets on an on-going basis, prioritizing datasets that will be useful to POR.
  • Provide data access or facilitate access to data and direct technical services for primary and secondary data, and the other research project supports for patient-oriented research within the jurisdiction in a timely, fair and transparent manner.
  • Support timely data access and linkage by facilitating or developing appropriate data sharing agreements within the jurisdiction.
  • Relevant data-sharing partners may include individual researchers, research communities, Indigenous communities, research institutions and jurisdictional government agencies following the Principles of OCAP®.

  • Understand business challenges and propose new modeling and algorithmic solutions that leverages the latest in statistical and machine learning techniques.
  • Foster advanced analytic methodologies applied to healthcare data, and other integrated data sources, which drives analytic innovation and market leadership in healthcare analytics, that informs healthcare delivery.

  • Communicate complex analytics and research methodology and results in a clear and concise manner to non- technical clients and others.
  • Provide guidance in the resolution of complex data issues utilizing available resources and referrals to other expertise in support of AbSPORU objectives.
  • Manage staff and serve as advisor and enhance the skills of the Informatics team as well as develop the skills of other health care analytics and staff.
  • Ensure integrity, accuracy and timelines of all analyses and services
  • Respond to data analytic service requests for POR in their jurisdictions.
  • Collaborate with the SPOR Canadian Data Platform to process and respond to data access requests in support of multi-jurisdictional research prioritizing the data needs for other SPOR-funded entities.
  • Collaborate with the SPOR Canadian Data Platform and the other SPOR SUPPORT Units to create a community of practice with the mandate to :
  • Identify data linkages across jurisdictions;
  • Establish common standards for data access requests;
  • Create and support a cohesive network of P / T SUPPORT Unit Data Platforms;
  • Share best practices, tools and lessons learned; and
  • Coordinate discussions around priorities and challenges.
  • This position works closely with the other AbSPORU Leads in achieving the goals of AbSPORU.

    As a recognized outstanding and innovative leader, the successful candidate will bring best practices, evidence-based rigor for patient oriented research, health system learning and transformation, and extensive experience working with key stakeholders as well as :

  • Serve as a leader, coach, and expert in data and research project services that enable patient-oriented research and innovations including digital health implementation in health systems.
  • Understand the field of data, data analytics (including AI / ML) and research design, its concepts, theories, methods and appropriate applications
  • Create and sustain partnerships among the academic, policy, clinical practice, government, and voluntary and private sectors
  • Build capacity / mentoring in the science and practice of data and research project services
  • Set and monitor annual performance targets
  • Manage teams (people, finances, resources) including performance management and the development, implementation and evaluation of strategic plans
  • Work with the other Leads in AbSPORU to address and cultivate a culture of the patient-oriented research and sustainability of the Unit
  • Participate nationally on SPOR working groups and networks


    Provide leadership in the continued and future development of data and research services and the learning health system within AbSPORU.

    This position will report to the Scientific Director, AbSPORU.

    Create and communicate clarity of purpose as well as a compelling vision of the transformative goals of AbSPORU.

  • Promote meaningful citizen engagement in healthcare delivery model(s); withstand periods of uncertainty; confront critiques by opponents;
  • seek areas of opportunity for improvement / progress; and adapt skillfully to change.

    Working with others in AbSPORU, develop an internationally recognized Unit and learning health system within AbSPORU focused on the opportunity to meaningfully engaged patients and citizens, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers, that will generate evidenced based improvements in clinical performance to achieve the highest quality health care delivery, best health outcomes within the most cost-efficient health care system.

    Build a collaborative network of researchers, research personnel, health policy makers and health delivery decision-makers, patient partners, etc.

    as necessitated by this Platform’s needs) to support and accelerate the ability of Alberta researchers, policy makers and health care decision makers to achieve measurable, citizen incorporated impact on health outcomes and health system performance through the platform initiatives.

    Know and use diverse methods to engage, communicate and mobilize key stakeholders to achieve AbSPORU results and promote adoption of change.

    Lead complex and / or contentious multi-party discussions on issues that may have impact on program level issues or policies.

    Establish and maintain bridges to people and constituencies who can enable and facilitate the success of the platform.

    Serve a s a leader in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and capacities emanating from AbSPORU activities.

    With Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit partners and with the other Leaders, contribute to the AbSPORU business plan for the undertakings and sustainability of the Unit.


    Ensure accountability for effective resource allocations to Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit platform


    Provide oversight, support and direction to platform staff and participants, as well as a workplace culture that is consistent with AbSPORU’s vision and goals

    Establish a financial sustainability plan for the platform services that aligns with the unit.


    Advocate and establish adaptive planning within AbSPORU initiatives to act, assess results and utilize setbacks as learning opportunities.

    Consistently monitor results and modify assumptions and approaches accordingly. Identify and communicate success metrics, strategic goals and objectives, and impact.

    Build trust, partnerships and capitalize on connections among people, ideas and opportunities. Demonstrate and promote research excellence, transparency, and integrity in all activities and interactions.

    Foster a climate that inspires and enables others to creatively identify and pursue excellence within and outside AbSPORU, as well as the health care system (e.

    g., strategic clinical networks).

    Apply change management principles and build understanding and consensus within clinical networks; identify obstacles and support the transformation of health service delivery .

    $15,000 per annum

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