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HRC updates during COVID-19 outbreak

Issue date:
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8 September 2021

Assessment of Pacific Health Research Career Development Awards delayed by one month

Assessment of the Health Research Council’s 2022 Career Development Awards (CDAs) is currently underway – a process that involves a number of science assessing committees, including those convened to assess Māori and Pacific Career Development Awards.
 
Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, which has had a significant impact on the Pacific community, the HRC will be delaying assessment of the Pacific Health Research CDAs by one month.
 
Many Pacific health researchers who are contributing to our assessment process are currently involved in the response to the outbreak; as frontline health workers, supporting broader public health initiatives, or mobilising to support their communities in other ways. This short postponement will ensure they can focus on their current priorities and help us retain their valuable expertise which is pivotal to our robust assessment process.
 
As a result, applicants for the Pacific Health Research Career Development Awards will be notified of results in early November 2021, and the outcomes of the funding round as a whole will be publicly announced soon after. This announcement will include all CDA categories – General, Māori health research, and Pacific health research.

Closing date extensions for upcoming funding opportunities

Given the potential impacts of higher or changing alert levels, as well as the direct impact of COVID-19 on applicants, we have extended the registration and application deadlines for some of our upcoming funding opportunities.

Health Delivery Research Investment Round
The deadline for full applications for the Health Delivery Research Activation Grants and Health Delivery Research Career Development Awards has been extended to 1pm, 16 September.

In addition to this extension, we are also extending the deadline for full applications for the Health Sector Research Collaboration Grants (currently 1pm, Thursday 9 September) until 1pm, 23 September 2021

Emerging Researcher First Grants and Pacific Emerging Researcher First Grants
The deadline for registrations and full applications for our Emerging Researcher First Grants and Pacific Emerging Researcher First Grants (currently 1pm, Wednesday 29 September) has been extended until 1pm, Wednesday 6 October.

Programme Grants
The deadline for registrations and full applications for our 2022 Programme Grants has been extended from 1pm on 13 October to 1pm on 20 October 2021.


26 August 2021

Contract variations and reporting extensions in light of COVID-19

The current COVID-19 outbreak and nationwide lockdown poses many challenges for our research community. Accordingly, we have prepared the following guidance for HRC-funded researchers.

Reporting timelines:

  • There will be a blanket extension on all reports due while we are at Level 4 or Level 3 in any parts of the county. The new due date for those reports will be the first day at Alert Level 2 or lower across the country, plus an additional 4 weeks. Please note, we will not update due dates in HRC Gateway, so automated reminders will continue to be sent according to the original due dates. Also note that retention payments will still not be made until the final report is accepted by the HRC.
  • If a late report becomes a barrier to a new application, please contact us so we can address this.

Contract variations:

  • Variations related to COVID-19: No variation requests are required or will be processed until the first day at Alert Level 2 or lower across the country, plus 4 weeks. The exception is for contracts that may need to be terminated or suspended: in these cases an email request may be submitted to suspend the contract until further notice, if the contract holder wishes to avoid an overpayment and subsequent refund.
  • Variations not related to COVID-19: Variation requests can continue to be submitted and actioned in the usual manner, but we will allow an extended timeframe of 6 weeks to receive variation requests for changes that would normally require a variation request to be sent promptly.
  • All requests and communications should come through the contract holder organisation’s Research Office or equivalent (except in the case of independent researchers). These requests should be sent to Dr Deming Gong at dgong@hrc.govt.nz 
  • Research Offices are welcome to contact us with any issues and/or different requirements to negotiate. Please allow as much time as possible, as our small team of HRC staff are based in Auckland and some will be experiencing additional challenges in lockdown.

Remember, for any general enquiries to the HRC, please email us at info@hrc.govt.nz and our administrators will forward your query to the most appropriate person.

Closing dates extended for the current Health Delivery Research Investment Round

Given the restrictions of higher alert levels, as well as the direct impact of COVID-19 on the health sector, the deadline for the Health Delivery Research Activation Grants and Health Delivery Research Career Development Awards (currently 1pm, Thursday 2 September) will be extended until 1pm, 16 September.

By extending the deadline date, we are looking to utilise as fair and equitable approach as possible to running this round, whilst still ensuring important health delivery research can proceed. We will continue to monitor this balance.

All current applications will have the opportunity to utilise this extension. If an application has been submitted in HRC Gateway and a team would now like to undertake further work, the host institution can email Luke Garland at lgarland@hrc.govt.nz to request that the application be pushed back to the Research Office in HRC Gateway. The HRC would like to emphasise that while this extension is available to all applicants, we would encourage applicants to submit as soon as they are able to (or to leave their application as submitted if no further work is required), as this will assist the HRC from a process perspective and allow us to better manage the next steps for running this round.

In addition to the extension above, we are extending the deadline for the Health Sector Research Collaboration Grants (currently 1pm, Thursday 9 September) until 1pm, 23 September 2021. If any further changes are necessary, we will keep you informed.

We appreciate that these are uncertain times for everyone, and we thank you for your understanding and patience while we work through and respond to this situation as it evolves, to ensure important health research can continue to be funded.


20 August 2021

While New Zealand bands together to contain the current COVID-19 outbreak, we understand the challenges and uncertainty this brings for HRC-funded researchers actively engaged in research projects.

We know that much of this work must be put on hold due to restricted access to the workplace and research materials, restricted travel, and the requirement for all of us to keep to our bubbles. At the same time, many researchers will also be involved at the frontline of our health response, in clinical and advisory roles, doing the work that all New Zealanders rely on. Some of you will be stepping in to provide support and guidance to your communities in other ways. We hope you are managing under the circumstances and taking care of your wellbeing too.

The HRC is monitoring the situation so we can support our researchers as much as we can. Should there be any need to make changes to funding round timelines or usual HRC processes, we will let you know through our Update newsletter (please sign up here if you haven’t already) and we will also post details on HRC Gateway as well as on this page.

The top priority now is taking care of yourselves and loved ones, and following the government’s guidance available here.

Kia haumaru te noho – stay safe.


18 August 2021

With New Zealand currently at Alert Level 4, staff at the Health Research Council will be working remotely for the next seven days.

At the HRC office, which is in Auckland, we are now familiar with adapting to alert level changes, and our staff are well-prepared for this. Every employee is equipped to work from home and has been working at least part of each week from home since the HRC introduced a flexible work location policy after the first nationwide lockdown.

Thanks to other policies introduced over the past year, such as holding committee meetings virtually, the HRC aims to operate under all alert levels with minimal disruption to workflows. We will continue supporting our research community as best we can in the current circumstances.

That said, we ask you to remember that our staff may be fulfilling whānau responsibilities alongside their HRC roles, just as other New Zealanders will be doing over the next few days, so we ask for a little patience and understanding as we respond to queries.

Should you wish to contact us, please email us at info@hrc.govt.nz and our administrators will forward your query to the most appropriate person.

Our existing protocols, application processes and assessment processes will remain in place. This includes requiring only online submissions of proposals on HRC Gateway – not hard copies.

If you have any concerns about research continuity or contracts during the foreseeable days ahead, please reach out to us. And for the government's latest updates and advice, visit the COVID-19 website which has information for the public all in one place.

Thanks for your support and ongoing contribution as we all work through this situation together. Take care and stay well.