Calls for additional funding

Despite recent success attracting funding, the University of Otago is singling out the Government for not investing enough in health research.

Research and enterprise deputy vice-chancellor Prof Richard Blaikie's criticism came after the university this week gained more than $31.3 million in new Health Research Council (HRC) funding.

A lack of funding increases for the HRC in recent budgets meant high quality health research missed out on funding, Prof Blaikie said,''Seeing that fund grow is something that is high on our priorities,'' he said.

Prof Blaikie's comments raised the ire of Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

''I'm not sure where Prof Blaikie is coming from on this when Otago University has just obtained, by its own admission, more than double the amount it received compared to last year from the HRC,'' Mr Joyce said.

The university had benefited from increases to other research funds including the Marsden Fund and had also just been announced as host of two new Centres of Research Excellence.

''Different government research funds are increased each year and the university benefits from those changes.''

Overall, the Government's investment in science had increased by by more than 70% since 2007-08 to almost $1.5 billion annually in 2015-16.