Health Research Council update

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Issue 13/19 - 31 October 2019





1. Announcing our Career Development Award recipients for 2020
2. New-look NZ Health Delivery approach to be announced in December
3. New Zealand's health research excellence on full display at Royal Society Te Ap?rangi Honours
4. Recent health headlines
5. Conferences and events
6. About Update




1. Announcing our Career Development Award recipients for 2020

Today we are pleased to announce the 67 recipients of our 2020 HRC Career Development HRC logoAwards. These awards, which this year total more than $13.4 million, play a crucial role in helping us foster and sustain New Zealand's health research workforce. A huge congratulations to all the recipients.

2020 HRC Career Development Awards

General and Advanced Fellowships 
View full results and all lay summaries here, or check out our media release.

M?ori Health Career Development Awards
View full results and all lay summaries here, or check out our media release.

Pacific Health Career Development Awards
View full results and all lay summaries here, or check out our media release.




2. New-look NZ Health Delivery approach to be announced in December

In our 20 September issue of Update, we provided a progress update on the changes we are HRC logomaking to the HRC’s investment in health delivery research. To recap, the New Zealand Health Delivery (NZHD) research investment stream (normally a component of the Project funding round) is being run out of cycle to the other investment streams this year while we redesign how we invest in and assess health delivery research proposals. The redesigned NZHD investment stream will provide a more comprehensive and fit-for-purpose investment opportunity that more effectively meets the needs of New Zealand. We expect to announce our new approach to health delivery funding in December this year.
What do we mean by health delivery research?
Health delivery research is a key area of health research undertaken within different health care and health service settings by a range of health researchers. It includes the full range of health care delivery (such as prevention, intervention, detection, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, care and support), at all levels of care (i.e. primary through to tertiary), by all those who work in health and disability service settings. It includes improvements at a local, regional and/or national level regarding policy, systems and practice. Health delivery research can be characterised by several sub-disciplines, including health economics, health services, health technologies, clinical (later stages), social science and implementation science. It is important that health delivery research involves communities to ensure that the research generated responds to a health need.
What will be the focus of the HRC’s new health delivery research investment?

  • Growing the capacity, capability and engagement of the research workforce in health delivery settings – particularly from the health sector side. The health sector has a critical role in health delivery research and in translating research findings to improve health care delivery and health outcomes.
  • Supporting the sector to identify and respond to health delivery evidence needs and research and innovation opportunities from real-world, practical settings. This includes supporting the excellent research already happening in health delivery settings, as well as enabling new research opportunities and pathways.
  • Making sure we are using the (soon to be launched) Prioritisation Framework in our processes to guide a people-centred, connected focus in our investment.
  • Improving translation and uptake of research findings into policy, systems and practice
  • Supporting system-level efforts.

We will enable this by providing health delivery research funding opportunities across all stages of a Project-focused pipeline and a People-focused pipeline (see graphic below). The Project pipeline will support health delivery research activities from establishing evidence need, responding to evidence need and translating evidence. The People pipeline provides a career development pathway for health delivery researchers, from entry, progression to champion opportunities. These pipelines seek to enable and develop both health delivery research and researchers to create a people-centred and connected health delivery system that has positive impacts on New Zealand's health and wellbeing.

Project and People focused pipeline graphic
We will be rolling out the funding opportunities in several phases, which we will confirm in December. A key part of implementing this redesigned health delivery research investment will be to evaluate the funding opportunities to ensure they’re addressing the gaps and barriers the way they are intended to. We encourage sector feedback on this once the new opportunities are up and running.

We'll continue to keep you updated via Update and will ensure that you have sufficient time to apply. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to build and strengthen your health delivery partnerships and understanding of health sector and community needs. If you are a health provider organisation, we encourage you to consider what activity and support would enable you to deliver on your research aspirations, from wherever your starting point along the research pipeline. 




3. New Zealand's health research excellence on full display at Royal Society Te Ap?rangi Honours

This year's Royal Society Te Ap?rangi Research Honours took place in Dunedin on 17 October and featured a stellar line up of researchers. HRC Chair Dr Lester Levy and Dr Emma Professor Richard BeasleyDr Matire HarwoodWyeth (Kai Tahu), who is on the HRC's M?ori Health Committee, presented our Te Tohu Rapuora Award and Beaven and Liley Medals to three extremely deserving health researchers. 

Ng?puhi doctor Matire Harwood (pictured top left) received the HRC Te Tohu Rapuora Award for her outstanding leadership and contribution to M?ori health. In her acceptance speech, Matire said "if we can get it right for M?ori, we can get it right for everyone". You can listen to Matire talk about her work with Kim Hill on Radio NZ.

Asthma expert Professor Richard Beasley (pictured top right) from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand received the HRC Beaven Medal for excellence in translational health research. Richard's work helped halt an epidemic of asthma deaths in New Zealand and has gone on to change the way the world manages asthma, saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process. 
Dr Anne Horne
Distinguished Professor Ian Reid, Dr Anne Horne (pictured right) and team from the University of Auckland received the HRC Liley Medal for their groundbreaking paper that could help reduce the number of older women presenting with fractures by up to half. You can read more about this research on Stuff

Other health researchers honoured include Distinguished Professor Jane Harding from the University of Auckland's Liggins Institute, who received the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi's top Rutherford Medal for her pre-eminent work determining the causes of newborn conditions and long-term consequences of interventions around the time of birth. We are proud to have supported Jane throughout her research career, including for her work on low blood glucose levels in newborns, which has revolutionised the management of affected babies around the world. 

Dr Lisa Te Morenga (Ng?puhi, Ng?ti Wh?tua ?r?kei, Te Uri o Hau, Te Rarawa), from Victoria University of Wellington, was awarded the Hamilton Award for providing irrefutable evidence that sugar in the diet contributes to weight gain. Lisa is a current member of our Public Health Committee and a previous HRC Emerging Researcher First Grant recipient.

You can read more about all the recipients on the night at the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi website.




4. Recent health headlines

Top honour for scientist behind breakthroughs in the care of newborns - NZ Herald (Distinguished Professor Jane Harding, HRC-funded Projects)

Why Pasifika aren't getting much-needed bariatric surgery - Newshub (Dr Tamasin Taylor/Professor Peter Shepherd, HRC Sir Thomas Davis Health Research Fellowship)

Research aims at improving M?ori recruitment and retention in nursing -Radio NZ (Miss Phillipa Barton, M?ori Health Research PhD Scholarship)

Kiwi researchers in breakthrough treatment for tuberculosis - Scoop




5. Conferences and events

Free public talk: Responding to the dual crises threatening health in the Pacific Islands 

6 November 2019Dr Colin Tukuitonga
Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre | University of Otago, Wellington
Come hear Dr Colin Tukuitonga discuss the two greatest threats to good health in the Pacific region: the huge burden of noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors; and the negative health impacts of the climate crisis. More information available at:

For those outside of Wellington, this talk can be viewed by live video link – see the University of Otago's website for details.


11th Health Services and Policy Research Conference

Health Services Research Association conference logo

4-6 December 2019

The Pullman | Auckland

Theme: Addressing health service inequities to improve health system performance

UPDATE: A new workshop has been added to the pre- and post-conference workshop programme: Reducing waiting time for community outpatient services using the STAT Model 

This workshop will be presented on 6 December by Katherine Harding and Professor Nicholas Taylor from Eastern Health Clinical Research Office and La Trobe University, together with Annie Lewis from Eastern Health and Dr David Snowdon at Peninsula Health. Timely access to health services is an important aspect of appropriate and effective care and the STAT (Specific & Timely Appointments for Triage) model has been developed to re-think how referrals are managed in high demand, ambulatory services.

This workshop will be complemented by two pre-conference workshops on 3 December 2019:

  • Indigenous Pre-Conference Hui (workshop) facilitated by Dr Rachel Brown (free of charge for indigenous delegates only); and
  • Achieving impact through research: An introduction to implementation science - facilitated by Professor Gill Harvey, University of Adelaide, and Professor Tim Stokes, University of Otago.

See the conference website for more information.


Medicinal Cannabis SummitMedCan logo

19 March 2020
SkyCity Auckland Convention Centre | Auckland

MedCan 2020, New Zealand’s first Medicinal Cannabis Summit, will take a deep dive into the world of medicinal cannabis and examine it through the lens of medicine, science, industry and technology. 

The objectives of the summit are to:

  • Bring together leading experts, scientists, clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers and thought leaders to gain first-hand, expert and up-to-date information about the world of medicinal cannabis.
  • Create discussions to ensure robust understanding of the complex science and medical benefits for patients.
  • Gain insights into the future of the industry for local and global markets.
  • Foster networking and collaboration, nationally and internationally.
  • Learn from the many years of experience from other countries.

Check out the MedCan 2020 programme.




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