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Participate in Research

As confirmed by our Masters student research intern Emily Giroux in the video above, your personal experience and insights can help change the world. Whether it’s a quick online survey or a few days in a clinical setting, participating in research advances the science of SCI and helps those living with SCI in any number of important ways.


Participating in ethical research studies can be a rewarding experience, not to mention super helpful for moving science forward! Check below for Current Opportunities. Spinal Cord Injury Ontario may not be affiliated with the researcher or the research project and provides this information as a resource to those who may be interested in participating. To learn more about a particular study please contact the person identified with each project.

We encourage you to do your own research before agreeing to participate in any study.


1. How do people living with a spinal cord injury select a bladder management method? 

This project will determine how people living with a SCI value different psychosocial aspects that are related to bladder management.

If you have a spinal cord injury you may be eligible to participate in a research study.

Who is eligible?

  • You must have a Spinal Cord Injury for 1 year or longer
  • You must be 18 years of age and older
  • You must be willing to communicate with research staff using either email or telephone.

This study includes the following:

  • One short telephone call to gather some basic information (10-15min) followed by an online survey (30-45min) done at your convenience.
  • A $50 honorarium is provided at the end of the study in recognition of your time.

For more information and to see if you qualify, please contact
Dr. Blayne Welk’s Research Nurse (Mary) at mary.mckibbon@sjhc.london.on.ca or go to https://www.nbrg.org/research/selecting-a-bladder-management-method/participate.php


2. Understanding how muscles respond to Functional Electrical Stimulation Therapy

Functional electrical stimulation therapy (FES-T) has been shown to help restore reaching and grasping function after spinal cord injury (SCI). This study is examining factors that may predict how well a muscle will respond to FES-T. This information is needed to personalize treatments and ensure the best use of time in therapy. We are recruiting individuals with cervical SCI, at least 6 months post-injury, who are planning to start FES-T for reaching and grasping. The study will involve one measurement session before the start of therapy, and a 5 minute muscle testing procedure at every therapy session. While this study does not itself provide the therapy, individuals interested in potentially receiving FES-T can contact the Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic at UHN: https://www.uhn.ca/TorontoRehab/Clinics/Rocket_Family_Upper_Extremity

Who can participate? 

We are recruiting individuals with cervical SCI, at least 6 months post‐injury, who are planning to start FES‐T for reaching and grasping. While this study does not itself provide the therapy, individuals interested in potentially receiving FES‐T can contact the Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic at the University Health Network: https://www.kite‐uhn.com/service/rocketclinic

What does the study involve?

  • 1 visit before you start FES‐T, in which we will measure the electrical activity of a few upper limb muscles.
  • A short procedure (less than 5 minutes) at the beginning of every FES‐T session, in which the therapist will manually measure the strength of the muscles receiving treatment, in order to track their recovery over time.
  • Participants will receive compensation for the study visit.

How to get involved?

This study is being conducted at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network in Toronto. For further information, please contact Sharmini Atputharaj at Sharmini.Atputharaj@uhn.ca or 416‐597‐3422 ext. 6119.


3. Online Peer Health Coaching for People with Spinal Cord Injury

The University of Toronto is currently recruiting participants for an Online Self-Management Program for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) called SCI&U.

  • Participants meet privately, one on one and online with trained peer health coaches;
  • Coaches are all Canadians with SCI;
  • Participants define and follow their own goals and plans for health related behaviour change;
  • Participants meet with coaches up to 14 times over six months.

How long is the study and how does it work? 
This study will use a randomized controlled method. This means that when participants enrol, they will be assigned by chance into one of two groups:

  1. Immediate enrolment in the SCI&U online health coaching program.
  2. Wait-list control (this means delayed enrolment; the participant won’t be enrolled in the program until
    after 12 months).

What do participants do? 
Participants provide informed consent • During the study o Participants will either be in the “SCI&U” program or waiting to be in the program; o Participants will do online surveys at 4 different times over one year; o Participants may be asked to discuss the program with researchers at program exit.

What do people get for being in the study? 
Participants receive an honorarium (a pre-paid credit card) of $300.

Who is eligible? 
We are looking for participants who

  • have not previously participated in the SCI&U Program
  • 18 years or older and fluent in English
  • have been living with a spinal cord injury (traumatic or non-traumatic) for at least one year

If you are interested, contact sciandustudy@utoronto.ca. We hope to hear from you!



4. Measuring hand use in the home after SCI using egocentric video

The overall aim of the project is to develop a new wearable technology that will provide information about hand use in the home and community after SCI. In particular, we are developing computer vision techniques to automatically interpret the egocentric video recordings (i.e. videos recorded with a GoPro camera) and extract outcome measures related to upper limb function.

Participants will be eligible if:

  • Level of injury is between C4 and C8
  • AIS grade A-D
  • Unilateral ISNCSCI Upper Extremity Motor Score between 10 and 23 for at least one limb (evaluated during the first meeting with the participant)
  • Between 18 and 65 years of age.
  • Participants must be using their hands in at least some of their regular ADLs at home, based on self-report.

What does this research involve?

  1. Pre-screening on the phone for eligibility according to the above criteria and for an explanation of the study. Individuals who express interest and appear likely to meet the criteria will be invited for a first appointment in person at Lyndhurst, along with their primary caregiver, if applicable.
  2. First visit (~2 hours): demographic questionnaire, clinical assessment of upper limb function (GRASSP and SCIM) and, if participants are eligible, brief training on the use of the wearable camera. Through a discussion with the participant, a schedule for video recordings in the home will be established.
  3. At home sessions (2 weeks): participants will record 3 sessions of approximately 1.5 hours at home using the wearable camera. Videos will be recorded during normal daily activities, without the investigators being present, following the guidelines provided during the first visit.
  4. Second visit (~1 hour): At the end of the two-week recording period, the camera, memory card and spare batteries will either be picked up by the investigators in person, or be returned by mail. A questionnaire about usability will also be administered.

Interested? Get in touch:

Study Coordinators: Vera Zivanovic
E-mail: vera.zivanovic@uhn.ca
Phone: 416-597-3422 x 6119


5. Wellbeing for Persons with SCI

The Lawson Health Research Institute is looking for adults with spinal cord injury who might be interested in guidance on simple and effective techniques to help with gaining control over their pain and emotional wellbeing.

The program consists of 5 lessons delivered over 8-10 weeks with weekly contact from a trained guide. It generally takes participants an hour per week with brief questionnaires related to symptoms of mood and pain.

Each participant will receive $50 in compensation.

For more information contact:
Dr. Swati Mehta



6. The Disability and Pregnancy Study

Researchers at the University of Toronto are doing a study to learn about the experiences and needs of women, trans, and non-binary with disabilities when they are pregnant and having a baby.

Am I eligible?

You may be able to be part of this study if:

  • You live in Ontario
  • You are 18 years old or older
  • You had a baby in the last 5 years
  • You have a physical, sensory, intellectual, and/or developmental disability 

What do I have to do?

You will be asked to take part in an interview about what services you used around the time you were pregnant and if those services were helpful. The interview will take about 1 hour and can be done at a time and place that is good for you. You can do the study, or not do the study. No one will be told about what you choose. The choice you make will not impact any of the services you use now or later. 

What are the benefits of participating?

You can help us learn how to improve supports for people with disabilities during pregnancy and birth. You will get a $50 gift card to thank you for your time. If you need any supports to participate, like ASL interpretation, these can be arranged.

I am interested! Who do I contact?

Please contact the Study Coordinator, Lesley, by telephone 647-601-4519 or email wiresearch@utsc.utoronto.ca





Calling on Men with SCI for three confidential, 15 to 20-minute online surveys.





Examining the impact of Virtual Integration Platform for individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (VIP-4-SCI)

During this study you will have access to a web-based platform that will allow you to virtually connect with your network of care (including your SCIO Regional and/or Peer Co-ordinators) using your computer, tablet or mobile phone. You’ll have access to the web platform for one year and will be asked to complete a brief survey after each use of the video consultation feature so that the usage of the platform can be evaluated by the research team.

Are you suitable to participate?

To participate in the study, you:

  • live in Ontario
  • are a client with Spinal Cord Injury Ontario
  • can be male or female

You will not be able to participate in the study if:

  • you are not comfortable communicating in English
  • you have no access to a mobile phone, computer or tablet with an internet connection

If you have questions regarding this study and your potential participation, you may contact:

Dr. Chip Rowan  416-597-3422, ext. 6217   chip.rowan@uhn.ca

Investigators on this study include:

Principal Investigator: Dr. B Catharine Craven

Co-investigators: Mr. Courtney Cole, Dr. Stuart Howe, Dr. James Milligan

This is a joint study by For a Healthy Me, Mobility Clinic, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario and UHN Toronto Rehab.

This study is funded by Ontario Centres of Excellence



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