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Five-Year, $1 Million Partnership: Unveiling the True Value Partnership between SHRF and Lung Saskatchewan

Breathing, the essence of existence, is a simple act often taken for granted -- until you can’t. 


Recognizing the paramount importance of lung health, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and Lung Saskatchewan (Lung Sask) show what it means to collaborate on a shared vision with our recent announcement of another five-year, $1 million partnership to support respiratory research in Saskatchewan. Since 2015, SHRF and Lung Sask have invested nearly $1.2 M together and supported over 15 projects in various areas of lung health research. 


Patrick, SHRF's CEO, describes this partnership as “a testament to the possibilities when you move beyond the conventional realms of co-funding and towards a more thoughtful and impactful alliance.”  


Partnership is not a new idea, but it is more than financial commitments; it is built on foundations of alignment, trust, and role clarity. 

Alignment of Vision and Values 

At the heart of this partnership lies the alignment of values and vision between SHRF and Lung Sask. Our collaboration is not merely a merging of resources but a convergence of ideals and aspirations for improving respiratory health. We have identified shared priorities, ensuring that research endeavours are interdisciplinary, include diverse stakeholders such as people living with lung disease or facing threats to their lung health, health care providers, Indigenous communities, and youth, and are geared towards tangible outcomes that can be mobilized for the benefit of those on a lung health journey. We respect each other’s strengths and see them as synergistic; we support innovative and responsive health research and share the same vision.  


Building a Foundation of Trust 

Central to the success of any partnership is the establishment of trust. SHRF and Lung Sask have a more profound bond characterized by mutual respect, trust, and collaboration. Described as the “Switzerland” of health research funding, SHRF’s reputation for neutrality and transparency has fostered a sense of confidence in its processes and its commitment to open communication and accountability. This trust extends to Lung Sask, a provincial organization with a mandate for public responsibility and accountability and a trusted name for those on a lung health journey. The relationship between the two is not just about fulfilling professional obligations; it involves a genuine sense of purpose and builds a solid foundation upon which collaborative endeavours can flourish.  


Each Partner has a Role 

In navigating the intricacies of partnership, clarity regarding respective roles and responsibilities is paramount. While the work of Lung Sask includes advancing lung health policy, providing support, education, and resources to both health care professionals and those on a lung health journey, it prides itself on funding and supporting a lung health research community. Erin Kuan, Lung Sask's President and CEO, highlights the significance of their partnership with SHRF, stating, “Investing in cutting-edge research and making it more accessible to patients is a top priority for Lung Sask. Our partnership with SHRF empowers us to address the most relevant, timely, and crucial respiratory issues right here in Saskatchewan.” 


SHRF’s role is that of a research funder, leveraging its expertise in grant administration and research funding management, which includes peer review processes. However, this delineation of roles is not fixed or inflexible; instead, it is filled with a feeling or quality of shared responsibility and collaboration. Operationalizing this partnership entails setting priorities, and timelines, as well as actively working towards fulfilling mutual objectives, which maximizes the impact of joint initiatives.  


As SHRF and Lung Sask continue their transformative journey of collaboration, the lessons learned from their partnership serve as a blueprint for future endeavours in health research funding. These organizations exemplify the essence of value-based partnerships by prioritizing alignment, trust, and role clarity. SHRF and Lung Sask’s partnership goes beyond providing financial support and extends to deeper levels to propel progress and innovation in respiratory health.  

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