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Investing in People

Investing in developing excellent health researchers.

The HRC is the government’s principal agency for health research, with both a funding and strategic leadership role.

We invest in developing and sustaining New Zealand’s research workforce, helping build the capability and capacity required for a world-class research, science and innovation system. 

Our funding enables researchers at all stages of their careers to pursue innovative, meaningful research of local and global merit. We’re also committed to investing in Māori and Pacific health researchers, so they can lead in improving health outcomes for their communities now and into the future.

Career building

Our funding currently supports more than 4,500 research positions across the country, spanning the following broad categories:

Emerging researchers and future leaders

We target funding towards future research leaders, with advanced postgraduate fellowships which provide salary support for emerging researchers who wish to establish a health research career in New Zealand. Most of these Fellows go on to secure one of our highly-competitive Project or Programme grants to help them remain active in New Zealand health research.

Clinical research fellowships and engagement of health professionals

With our Clinical Research Training Fellowships and our Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowships, we enable clinicians at the frontline of health services to pursue research that improves the quality of healthcare in New Zealand while they fulfil career goals on home soil. 

In addition to these longstanding fellowships, the HRC’s wider investment in healthcare delivery research – ranging from career development awards through to research activation and project grants – helps ensure that both health practitioners and academics can undertake research that directly informs healthcare policy, practice, and systems. In 2023, 40% of HRC-funded research positions were held by practicing clinicians, and 48% held by those with clinical training. 

Māori health research career development

Through scholarships, studentships, and fellowships available to Māori researchers at all stages of their careers, we are developing the Māori health research workforce to ensure NZ has the capacity to address unique indigenous health issues. More than 18% of lead investigators on HRC-funded contracts identify as Māori, and our strategies for building the indigenous workforce are recognised internationally.

Pacific health research career development

Building Pacific health knowledge, research paradigms and capacity to undertake Pacific-led research in partnership with Pacific communities is crucial to improving the health of Pacific peoples.

Since 2020, we have funded 81 Pacific Career Development Awards, including 8 Pacific Health Clinical Research Fellowships. Thanks to these career-focused awards as well as targeted funding for Pacific-led research grants, more than 8% of lead investigators on HRC-funded contracts currently identify as Pacific.

Supporting fairness, diversity and inclusion

To contribute to a health system that delivers for all people, the HRC supports diversity, accessibility to research funding, and fairness in our funding processes. We are continually reviewing funding opportunities and implementing strategies to address barriers to career advancement or access to funding. 

Funding opportunities

All our people-focused opportunities are available on HRC Gateway, and are grouped into the following rounds:

  • Career Development Awards – General, Māori, Pacific 
  • Emerging Researcher First Grants – General, Māori, Pacific 
  • Health Delivery Research Career Development Awards
  • Māori Emerging Leader Fellowships
  • Pacific Emerging Leader Fellowships.