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Health Research gets biggest boost in a decade

10 May 2005

Health Research gets biggest boost in a decade

The government will invest an additional $70 million over the next four years to fund priority health research and to strengthen the health research workforce, Research Science and Technology Minister, Steve Maharey said.

The funding boost - the biggest in more than a decade - brings the total investment in health research to double the level it was when Labour came into government in 1999.

"This a significant investment which recognises the high standard of New Zealand's health research and its potential to generate significant health and economic gains for New Zealanders," Steve Maharey said.

The Health Research Council will receive an additional $61 million over the next four years for research with the potential to address the specific health needs of New Zealanders, with around a third of the funding dedicated to research in the highest priority areas.

"Funding more research in the highest priority areas will lead to real improvements in the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders," Steve Maharey said. "The process will involve identifying the areas where we want to make a difference and actively seeking high-quality proposals."

The research will focus on key health areas such as cancer control, disability and diabetes.

The remainder of the research funding will be allocated through the normal contestable funding pool to fund top research projects identified by scientific review.

In addition, more than $9 million will be spent on initiatives to strengthen the health research workforce, including research fellowships for frontline health practitioners.

"It is essential that the results of the research we're investing in are taken up and used in the health sector. This initiative will improve the linkages between the research community and the frontline."

Steve Maharey said an evaluation carried out last year had confirmed that New Zealand's health research was among the best in the world in terms of quality and systems of peer review and that a further investment was timely.

ENDS

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