Dunedin input to health research panel

Stephen Robertson
Stephen Robertson
An Otago academic is one of 13 health experts sitting on an independent panel to help decide New Zealand's health research priorities.

Over the next 18 months, associate dean for research at the Dunedin Medical School Stephen Robertson and the development group will consult widely and develop a broad set of strategic investment areas expected to guide investment activity through to 2027.

Until now, New Zealand has not had a unified set of health research priorities at a national level.

As a result, the full potential of research efforts across the sector has not been fulfilled.

Since the introduction of the New Zealand health research strategy (2017-27), the Health Research Council
of New Zealand had been working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Health to ensure that health research addressed the needs of all New Zealanders.

Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the group will consult widely and develop a broad set of strategic investment areas, which will be announced in early 2019 and are expected to guide investment activity through to 2027.

Prof Stephen Robertson, a former Nuffield Fellow and, since 2002, Curekids professor of paediatric genetics in the department of women's and children's health in Dunedin, is also an active clinician teaching genetics to science and medical students in Dunedin.

He said yesterday his involvement in the ``very disparate'' independent development group of health researchers, innovators, advisers and health delivery experts was more about his experience as an administrator and as a representative of a health professional working in association with an academic institution rather than as a specialist in molecular biology.

There would be a heavy emphasis on consulting and listening so the group could decide where the research priorities lay.

He believed it was a smart and intelligent way of getting ``the best bang for our research dollars''.


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