Tertiary education researchers are welcoming a $97 million boost to health research funding.
Science minister Steven Joyce and health minister Jonathan Coleman announced the Budget 2016 initiative this week.
Joyce said the annual amount for health research through the Health Research Council (HRC) will increase by 56 percent over four years – from $77 million in 2015-16 to $120 million in 2019-20.
“The HRC supports research that leads to improved health outcomes and more effective delivery of healthcare for New Zealanders, and research that brings economic gains for New Zealand,” Joyce said.
“We want to maximise these opportunities. Commercial health research is also a great opportunity to grow our high-value exports.”
Chris Whelan, the executive director of Universities New Zealand called the money the biggest increase in health research funding since 2009-2010.
“Around 90 percent of health research ends up being carried out by universities. This is research that delivers new or better treatments, drugs and technologies that benefit New Zealanders.”
TEU president Sandra Grey agreed, saying that although the money was targeted at health, and for some unfathomable reason, commercial health exports, it would provide an important financial boost for universities.
“When there is no across-the-board increase to support education and research to recover from previous budget cuts, targeted measures like these are lifelines to the small pockets of the tertiary education sector that are lucky enough to get them.”