The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and the University of Otago jointly co-host the Infectious Diseases Research Platform announced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Funded through the Strategic Science Investment Fund via MBIE, the platform aims to build and coordinate domestic research capability in infectious diseases and improve New Zealand’s preparedness for future pandemics.
“We’ve all felt the widespread impacts that COVID-19 has had on our communities,” says Deputy Secretary Labour, Science and Enterprise, Paul Stocks.
“The excellent research produced in Aotearoa New Zealand is helping address the COVID-19-related impacts. However, we know that a longstanding gap in our domestic science capabilities is the lack of a dedicated infectious diseases research fund.”
The next six months will focus on the establishment of the platform and will include extensive discussion with the wider science sector to establish collaborative work.
“This is the beginning of the platform and its valuable work – there will be ongoing conversations, and opportunities for the sector to contribute,” said Mr Stocks.
“ESR and the University of Otago will begin to have open, transparent conversations and will look to host webinars, meetings and explore further opportunities to engage with the sector.”
Mr Stocks says while this is the start of the process, there will be a long-term focus on major research questions relating to COVID-19, which are common to all infectious diseases.
“It’s vital that we ensure that New Zealand has world class research capability to respond to serious infectious disease threats. This platform and the research that will be funded will help to improve our ability to prevent and control infectious diseases,” he said.
“This work will contribute to significantly lifting New Zealand’s infectious disease response and management capability, addressing key gaps and creating an agile and integrated research and response system.
“Congratulations to ESR and the University of Otago. We’re confident that the work that will come from this platform will improve health outcomes, increase equity of health outcomes and will encourage collaborative research, both domestically and internationally.”
More information: Infectious Diseases Research Platform