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10 March 2015

The Science and Innovation Minister, Hon Steve Joyce, and Health Minister, Hon Jonathan Coleman have today outlined their intent to undertake a strategic refresh of the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).

The Government has called for the refresh to examine how the HRC’s contribution fits with the Government’s broad health and economic goals.

The HRC’s Chief Executive, Dr Kathryn McPherson, says the ministers have expressed support for the HRC’s role in supporting what is recognised internationally as New Zealand’s high performing health research sector.

“As the new Chief Executive of the HRC, I welcome this strategic refresh as a real opportunity for our stakeholders and the Government to consider what it is the HRC does well in contributing to health research in New Zealand, and what we might do better. Such a process augments our own emphasis on funding the very best research to enhance the health of New Zealanders,” says Dr McPherson.

“The process is aimed at strengthening our contribution, and the intent is that it will be an open and engaged process.”

Officials from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Ministry of Health will jointly conduct the refresh exercise. They will work closely with the HRC to collect information, and consult with the health research sector and end-users to develop their advice. Feedback will be sought from a range of stakeholders such as researchers and universities, district health boards, clinicians, medical technology firms, Māori and Pacific stakeholders and other funding agencies.

“I look forward to receiving the synthesised findings of the refresh in due course. As I have travelled around the country meeting researchers and other stakeholders, I have really enjoyed hearing their views and ideas. The refresh is a chance to engage with our stakeholders and the ministries on the best way for us to achieve our mission and our goals,” says Dr McPherson.

The timeframe for the refresh is over the next few months with ministers expecting to receive the findings in June.

“The HRC is proud of the research we support and the difference it makes. Our recent bibliometric survey indicates we are funding the highest quality, most frequently cited health research in the country – the best research delivering the best health, social and economic outcomes for New Zealanders,” says Dr McPherson.

To read the ministerial press release about the nature and purpose of the refresh, go to www.beehive.govt.nz/release/health-research-council-review-underway.

Details on how the refresh is progressing will be published in future issues of the HRC's fortnightly e-newsletter, Update, and on the HRC website as information becomes available.