Government funds critical health research

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
Research, Science and Innovation

Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns like mental wellbeing, asthma and heart disease have received crucial funding of $81 million, Research, Science and Innovation Minister, Megan Woods announced this morning.

58 health research programmes, have been funded up to $5 million through the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

“This significant investment has the potential to vastly improve the health of New Zealanders, and really lift their wellbeing,” Megan Woods said.

“The research happening as a result of the funding will range from drug addiction and mental health to optimising heart attack diagnosis and antimicrobial resistance. This government is committed to improving health outcomes, and this research will be a vital part of how we do that.”

Included amongst the successful applications are projects led by Māori and Pacific researchers, driven by Kaupapa Māori and Pacific research methodologies which help to reduce inequities in health for Māori and Pacific peoples.

“Investing in Māori and Pacific health creates resilient communities and is crucial to enabling advances in wellbeing for Māori and for New Zealand as a whole,” Megan Woods said.

This research funded in the 2019 round showcases New Zealand leading the way in developing innovative solutions that will have an immediate impact on the health system and shows we have an agile and capable research sector that’s able to respond to community needs and emerging health threats.

More information and the full list of successful projects can be found on the Health Research Council’s website.

Background for editors

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) is responsible for managing the government’s investment in health research.

Each year HRC offers funding for Projects, Pacific Projects and Programmes through an annual contestable funding round, awarding grants valued between $600,000 and up to $5 million for each successful proposal. Funded projects and programmes have a strategic, long-term vision that will contribute to significantly improving health outcomes for New Zealanders.

This year’s projects, to highlight a few, will:

  • help inform the development of evidence-based infant feeding guidelines for New Zealand parents with respect to the use of popular ‘on-the-go’ baby food pouches and baby-led weaning.
  • enable quicker and reliable diagnosis of heart attacks, reducing strain on emergency departments.
  • focus on the wellbeing of families, working directly alongside a Māori community to reduce the harm caused by P to mothers, babies and their whanau, in the Hawke’s Bay.
  • assess the effects of climate change on the mental wellbeing of Pacific peoples.

In the past 10 years (2009 to 2019), the Health Research Council of New Zealand has invested more than $230 million in research programmes; $472 million in research projects, and $5.3 million in Pacific Projects (which have only been available since 2016).