2020 Programmes

Programmes provide support for the long-term development of a health research field by a group of established investigators with an outstanding track record of achievement. They should have a strategic, long-term vision that will contribute to significantly improving health outcomes for New Zealanders. Up to $5 million is available over five years. Check out some of the past recipients of programme funding.

Eligibility criteria

If you're applying as the director (i.e., lead investigator) of a HRC programme, you'll need to be employed by a New Zealand host organisation, have citizenship or permanent residency status in New Zealand, set aside at least 20 per cent full-time equivalent (FTE) of your time on the programme, and have a record of managing projects of a sizeable nature. There are also a number of other specific requirements that you'll need to meet (see page three of the 2020 Programme application guidelines for all the details). The HRC now welcomes proposals from programme co-directors, in this context the eligibility requirements apply to either of the two co-directors or combined (see the 2020 Programme application guidelines for further details).

We require applicants to have three or more established researchers (named investigators) listed on the programme application who are responsible for the scientific direction and quality of the research. These researchers need to have had a successful funding history of peer-reviewed contracts, an outstanding track record of achievement in health research, and to have provided support for those seeking training in health research.

Application process

If you're applying for programme funding, there's a one-stage application process. However, once received, the applications are assessed in several stages. Firstly, applications are assessed and scored by external reviewers on a science assessing committee and programme assessing committee. If an application passes through these stages, it will then need final approval from a grant approval committee and the HRC Board.

Choosing a research investment stream

Our investment framework is made up of four research investment streams. If you're applying for programme funding you need to specify which research investment stream your application applies to. We can't advise you on which research investment stream to choose. We highly recommend that you review the HRC's research investment streams document under 'Helpful links' to guide your decision. Our research investment streams are:

  • Health and wellbeing in New Zealand - Keeping populations healthy and independent throughout life
  • Improving outcomes for acute and chronic conditions in New Zealand - Improving outcomes for people with illness or injury
  • Rangahau hauora Māori - Supporting Māori health research that upholds rangatiratanga and uses and advances Māori health knowledge, resources, and people

Please note: the New Zealand health delivery research investment stream is not listed above as it does not apply to programmes.

Changes to this year's funding round

Key changes introduced with this year's Programme funding round include:

  • Allowance for co-directors
    We now welcome proposals for Programme co-directors under circumstances that would result in a research team of exceptional strength, such as interdisciplinary work. See pages 3-4 of the Application Guidelines for more information.

  • New Māori Health Advancement criterion 
    For many years, the HRC research contract has specified that research providers must have policies and processes in place to ensure that consultation with Māori has occurred, and that research is responsive to the needs of Māori. We're now introducing a new Māori Health Advancement criterion to replace the existing Māori responsiveness section in our application forms. Please read the Application Guidelines below, and our new Māori Health Advancement Guidelines for all you need to know. 

Changes to 'impact' assessment to note

The below slideshow explains changes to the HRC's Research Impact assessment criterion, which has been revised for the 2020 Project and Programme funding rounds.


Additional reading: Research impact assessment slideshow notes

Got a question?

If you've read through the documents below and the 'How to apply for HRC funding' section under 'Helpful links' and still have a question about programme funding, send an email to info@hrc.govt.nz and one of our team will be in touch.



2020 Programme Application Guidelines
31 Jul, 2019 11:21am - 370KB