Thursday, June 20, 2024

Health Ministry prepares for $9m COVID research jab

The Ministry of Health is gearing up to consider applications for the newly-announced $9 million funding to support research into future pandemic responses, as well as the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.  

Dr Ian Town, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Science Advisor, says this research is needed to learn from New Zealand’s response to COVID-19, and take key lessons forward to improve our nation’s resilience in the event we’re confronted with another pandemic in the future. 

“We need to understand better how our communities and whānau have experienced and dealt with COVID-19 and the response,” says Dr Town.  

“The funding is for investigator-initiated projects that will address gaps in our knowledge about the impacts of the pandemic.

“We are particularly interested in research that will help the Ministry improve its support for Māori, Pacific and disabled people and communities.

“in relation to the vaccination programme, what can we do to ensure more equitable access to and greater uptake of vaccines in the future? 

“The pandemic continues to have far-reaching impacts on New Zealand society. We are looking to fund research projects that enable rapid application of national and international evidence to New Zealand,” says Dr Town. 

A Request for Proposals (RFP) will open on 19 April and will close on 10 June 2022. The Ministry is looking to fund projects with terms of up to 12 months up to a maximum value of $500,000 (excluding GST).    

“We’ve designed the process to be straightforward and simple for researchers and research support staff by using proposal templates and assessment criteria that they will be familiar with. We’ll be releasing the Ministry’s Priority Research Themes in mid-April to help guide respondents,” Dr Town says.   

“We have benefitted enormously from the research projects we have already funded and are excited to be able to further strengthen the evidence base for what we do.”  

More details on how New Zealand-based research organisations can apply for this funding are now available on the GETS website . Provider briefings will be held during the week commencing 2 May.

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