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Investing in Priorities

Investing in priority health research gaps, needs and opportunities.

Our Priorities portfolio works in concert with government-set priorities to strengthen impact and enhance value from publicly funded research.

We play an important role in addressing urgent and emerging health issues and cross-sectoral challenges. We’re able to do this through targeted investment mechanisms, often in partnership with stakeholders and communities that share mutual interests. 

Responding to need

The HRC helps respond to sector and community-identified health needs and opportunities through targeted funding initiatives.

We are also agile enough to launch a rapid research response in times of crisis, with the aim of providing solutions and strategies to manage new health threats in real time. 

Facilitating collaboration

By partnering with others, or initiating collaborative ventures, the HRC helps coordinate research efforts, reduce duplication, and ensure researchers connect with next- and end-users of health research to accelerate the uptake of research findings.

The HRC’s Connecting for Impact Fund is designed to invest in areas of critical and significant research need. This fund takes a strategic and proactive approach to the HRC’s investment portfolio, enabling us to foster connections across the health research system; bring together partners to leverage funds; and create funding opportunities of higher value and greater benefit.

Setting national research priorities

The New Zealand Health Research Prioritisation Framework document cover

In addition to identifying research priorities and gaps, the HRC encourages all research applicants, funders and research providers to uphold the health research attributes, as outlined in the New Zealand Health Research Prioritisation Framework.

The framework prioritises how and why health research needs to be done in New Zealand with the aim of driving high-level health outcomes and ensuring maximum impact from the government’s investment in health research.

The HRC developed the framework in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) to help ensure that research efforts across the country are aligned and designed to address areas of highest need.

Under the framework, researchers applying for government funding need to:

  • Address why their research is important to New Zealand
  • Consider mana tāngata and advancing Māori health
  • Meet the criteria of excellence
  • Ensure their research has the best chance of delivering impact
  • Include measures to build health equity.

The Health Research Council (HRC) has a leading role in implementing the framework. We do so by ensuring our funding assessment criteria reflects the attributes and delivers on the intentions of the framework. You can find both English and Te Reo Māori versions of the framework here in the HRC's Resource Library.

Funding opportunities

All our ‘Priorities’ funding opportunities will be available on HRC Gateway, and are grouped into the following rounds: 

  • Request for Proposals (funding in partnership with other agencies)
  • Rapid Response rounds (urgent funding rounds)
  • Connecting for Impact Fund (mission-led funding)
  • Independent Research Organisation funding (negotiated funding for critical skills and research organisations)
  • Ngā Kanohi Kitea Grants (community-led research funding).