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Media Release

$38M to support independent research in New Zealand

Issue date:
Health Research Council of New Zealand logo

Independent research organisations (IROs) doing crucial health research will receive funding to the value of $38.3 million from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).

The funding will be distributed among four IROs, spread over a maximum period of seven years. It will be used to build research and innovation capability which contributes to equitable health outcomes and delivers to four distinct ‘health research platforms’ that meet the government’s and HRC’s research priorities.

Funding has been awarded to:

  • Malaghan Institute of Medical Research for biomedical research in cancer, asthma, allergy and microbiome research.
  • Medical Research Institute of New Zealand for improving clinical management, clinical trial translation and implementation.
  • Te Atawhai o Te Ao for research focused on health, the environment, and intergenerational trauma.
  • Whakauae Research Services for Māori public health research, evaluation, health services and policy research.

These organisations exist outside of the Crown Research Institute and university sector, but are recognised by the government for doing work that’s nationally significant and deserving of more stable funding.

Funding was awarded through a negotiated process and based on the quality and expected impact of each IRO’s proposed plans for research, with priority placed on equitable health outcomes.

HRC Chief Executive Professor Sunny Collings says assessment for this round was aligned with national health research priorities designed to guide all investment decisions and improve health outcomes for all New Zealanders.

“Helping ensure New Zealanders equally experience better health is a key goal in everything we do, and it’s one of the biggest health challenges facing New Zealand.

“All publicly funded health research – regardless of discipline – can contribute to reducing health inequities, especially for Māori and Pacific people,” she says.

Long-term funding helps independent research organisations retain critical skills capability and carry out high-impact mission-led science. The HRC’s funding of IROs complements the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s research funding, which supports research programmes and scientific infrastructure with long-term beneficial impacts on health, the economy, environment, and society.

Aims and goals:

The vision of Te Atawhai o Te Ao for the next seven years is the end of intergenerational trauma. Through developing healthy and resilient strategies for living and for addressing trauma – healing from it and preventing it – it hopes future generations can flourish and exercise their rangatiratanga into the future, while honouring the past.

Through this funding platform, iwi-owned Whakauae Research Services aims to support a system shift to ensure Māori aspirations for health and wellbeing are maximised. It will build evidence for transformation through support for community-identified research projects, capacity building, and building research infrastructure support. Whakauae is focused on creating research evidence and ‘actionable intelligence’ that bridges the research and policy-making divide and meets its overall goal of equity of health for Māori.

Among its priorities, the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand will continue harnessing clinical trials to provide the knowledge needed to improve health equity; building a diverse clinical health research workforce; and supporting New Zealand health research organisations to meet internationally recognised benchmarks for data transparency and governance standards.

The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research aims to translate its pipeline of scientific discoveries in allergy and gut health, patented synthetic vaccines, and personalised CAR-T cell therapy into life-saving new therapies and interventions that will improve human health, grow the economy, and advance equity for Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand.