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5 November 2019

In our 20 September issue of Update, we provided a progress update on the changes we are making 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.

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.