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Health Researchers Pleased by Funding Boost

Media Release
Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Health Researchers Pleased by Funding Boost

Health Researchers of New Zealand (HeRoNZ) has reacted positively to funding increases announced today by the Minister of Research, Science and Technology, the Hon Steve Maharey. Health Research Council (HRC) funding will be boosted from $51.3 million to $72 million over the next four years

“This will make a big difference to the viability of health research in this country and put it on a much more viable footing,” says Professor Mark Richards from HeRoNZ. “Health Research has been struggling with no real increase for several years. The AEGIS report last year made it clear that New Zealand was lagging well behind other benchmark countries in health research funding.”

Professor Richards says the announcement of increased funding to $72 million in 2007/08 brings spending on health research through the main funder, the HRC, close to that recommended by the AEGIS report, and which HeRoNZ has also been consistently presenting to the Government since December 2003. It also takes account of the impact of full-cost recovery funding.

Professor Richards says the big lift in health research funding is welcome relief for research groups around the country who have to apply for contestable funding from the Health Research Council to survive. The increase in HRC funding will have an immediate effect in terms of the 2004/05 grant round, with an extra $14 million on top of the existing funding pool of $51.3 million. Results of that grant round are due to be announced soon after the Budget on May 19.

Further funding increases in 2005/06 of $19.8 million and 2006/07 of $20.7 million will lift total HRC funding to $72 million by May 2008.

Professor Richards says tagging $9 million of this new funding for clinical research training fellowships is also a very good move. It will help to encourage more doctors to get involved with research. “It’s vital that we encourage young doctors into research as this has a direct bearing on the clinical application of New Zealand health research in our hospitals and in the primary sector,” he says.

ENDS

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