The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) is making it easier for communities to undertake research and address self-identified health/hauora needs and priorities.
With its revamped Ngā Kanohi Kitea Community Advancement Fund and a funding pool of approximately $2M, the HRC is supporting communities to build research capability at a grass roots level.
“Health research isn’t just the domain of academics and scientists – it’s often driven by communities,” says HRC chief executive Professor Sunny Collings. “We’d like funding to reach iwi, hapū, and other Māori community groups, so they’re able to make a direct and signficant difference to the health of their communities.”
The HRC has provided community research funding through Ngā Kanohi Kitea grants since 2010, but the revised funding mechanism will be more responsive to community needs.
The scope of the fund has increased, allowing communities to access funding to build research capability skills, relationships, networks and development opportunities that they need to get started on their health research journey.
There is funding for research projects to help communities answer questions that are directly relevant to them, as well as funding to facilitate knowledge sharing and the uptake of research findings.
Application forms are now more community-focused and the timeframe for community grants assessment has been shortened.
“We’re making research funding more accessible, while retaining the Health Research Council’s stringent criteria for excellence and impact,” says Professor Collings. “This funding is one of the ways we can advance Māori health and gain the unique benefits of Māori knowledge, which contributes greatly to the goals of health research in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
The Ngā Kanohi Kitea Community Advancement Fund will be distributed across a range of community-led research activities. While applications may involve partnership with a larger research entity, such as a university, research must be clearly driven by the needs and focus of the Māori community or community organisation.