Te Niwha, the Infectious Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness Research Platform in their first commissioning round, have awarded fifteen research projects from across Aotearoa New Zealand. The funded research will contribute to ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand has world class research capability for current and emerging infectious diseases and pandemic preparedness.
The fifteen Te Niwha commissioned projects spread across biomedical, technology, public health and Mātauranga and have accountability, relationships, partnerships and leadership with communities to ensure strengthened impact.
The University of Otago and the Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) are cohosts of the $36M MBIE strategic Science research platform. The Platform, alongside building and coordinating domestic research capability, is tasked with delivering an integrated and transdisciplinary research programme which continues to address COVID-19, current and emerging serious infectious diseases threats and ensure preparedness for future pandemics.
Professor Richard Blaikie, University of Otago Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Platform CoHost acknowledged the announcement of projects as a tremendous effort from the Te Niwha team and all researchers involved.
“As an integrated suite of research, designed with the needs of people and communities at heart, we look forward to seeing relationships flourish between projects, institutions and organisations involved. The past three years have taught us how important this work is.”
Platform Director Te Pora Thompson noted the large number of high-quality submissions and looked forward to the ongoing engagement with researchers and community.
“Te Niwha have formed a foundation of projects within each Research Priority Area and will look to build on these projects with ongoing commissioning to ensure we achieve the full research agenda potential.”
Te Niwha Chief Science Advisor Distinguished Professor Nigel French chaired the assessment panel and highlighted the strong science integrity and innovation of the projects awarded - these traversed research priority areas of prevention, surveillance, diagnostics and therapeutics.
The investment objectives of the platform to significantly lift Aotearoa’s infectious disease response and management capability by improving health outcomes and achieving equity particularly for Māori and Pacific Peoples was underlined by ESR General Manager Māori Impact Jymal Morgan.
Full project details including amount awarded and project partnerships will be available shortly on the Te Niwha full website at the beginning of October.