Development of a health research strategy is a key recommendation of the just completed review of the New Zealand Health Research Council (HRC).

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman say a new health research strategy will be developed to focus and align the economic and health goals of the health research sector.

“A health research strategy is needed to focus and align the twin economic and health goals of New Zealand’s health research investment,” says Mr Joyce. We want to maximise the contribution of science to New Zealand’s economic growth and wellbeing of New Zealanders.”

“The new strategy will help to enhance the impact, relevance and uptake of health research. It will optimise the Health Research Council’s contribution to improving the effectiveness of our health system,” says Dr Coleman.

Development of a health research strategy is a key recommendation of the just completed review of the Health Research Council (HRC). The review was announced in March 2015 to identify how to optimise the HRC’s contribution to the Government’s broader goals.

The review concluded the HRC is an efficient organisation, well regarded by stakeholders, and that health research plays a central role. It found the HRC can make a greater contribution by taking more of a leadership role and improving connections across the health and science and innovation system.

“Health research is a strength for New Zealand. It underpins improvements in health outcomes and the quality of care for New Zealanders,” says Dr Coleman.

“We want to improve collaboration between health researchers and those in the health system delivering care for New Zealanders. Stronger relationships will help align research with health sector priorities such as childhood obesity or improving the health of vulnerable groups.”

“Health research is also a strength for New Zealand in terms of scientific quality, and it generates new high-value, knowledge-intensive companies and industries,” says Mr Joyce.

“Developing a health research strategy will also set the direction for future Government funding, with the National Statement of Science Investment stating health research is a priority for future funding increases. This is in line with the Government’s goal to raise science funding to 0.8 per cent of GDP.”

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will lead the development of the health research strategy in collaboration with the HRC.

A public consultation on the health research strategy is expected to begin in early 2016.

HRC Chief Executive Professor Kath McPherson said “The results of the refresh may be positive for the HRC and for health research, but we’re far from complacent. The report rightly recommends that we need to increase our visibility and the impact of our investment. We also need to play more of a leadership role in the health sector, facilitate better connections between researchers and end users, and improve our measures of the return on investment – a key issue for all funding agencies, both here and internationally.”

For more information visit: www.health.govt.nz or www.mbie.govt.nz.

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