Bev J Holmes

Chief Executive Officer, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research


I am privileged to lead British Columbia’s health research funding agency, funded by our provincial government. Our primary mandate is to develop research talent – supporting people and teams to produce and apply research evidence – through annual competitions.

A few years ago we made a commitment to responsive and responsible research funding. That is the opposite of a ‘fund and forget’ model. We commit to developing our expertise as a funder and bringing it to bear – at the grant, program, organisational and system levels – to both respond to and influence the environment that ultimately determines the success of research activity. We’re excited to be a partner in the new Research of Research Institute, working with others to strengthen the evidence base for health research funding.

Knowledge translation

I am interested in the role of funders in knowledge translation (KT) – the Canadian term for ‘research use.’ How can funders support knowledge translation themselves, and how best can they help their funded researchers to ensure the use of the evidence they produce?


I am interested in how researchers and research users – be they patients, members of the public, communities, policy makers and health professionals – can work together to understand health and health system issues, and address them through research.

Discourse analysis

I am interested in the words we use and how they shape – one could even say ‘create’ – realities. In my PhD work I studied health communications discourse, focusing on constructions of expertise and lay knowledge and how those positioned various groups in terms of their power in society.

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