Levels of health research funding a sick joke

Well, it wouldn’t have taken much sleuthing to find out that NZ’s medical reasearch funding is pathetic compared to other developed countries’. But good on the media for running with this story. (The report doesn’t appear on the UA website at the time of typing.)

“New Zealand will have fewer, and lower quality, medical students within a few years if research funding doesn’t increase, the country’s two medical schools believe.

“The country is haemmorhaging health staff, facilities and research, because its health research funding is up to 12 times lower than other countries, they say.”

Yep, that’s a factor of twelve. The report shows NZ’s government funding for health research is equivalent to $10.2 per capita. This compares to around $34.6 per capita in Australia, $54.3 per capita in the UK and $126 per capita in the USA.

I’ve discussed the dire state of university funding in an earlier post. So the problem to which the deputy deans have drawn attention is not unique to one part of the university system. But it illustrates the point well:

“[The primary health research funder] the Health Research Council, … invested $63 million in this year’s recent funding round. This funding has remained at a static level for the past four years despite research costs rising by almost 9% per year. Around 85% of submitted projects do not receive funding.”

It is a tribute to the dedication and ingenuity of NZ’s health researchers that we do as well as we do in this area. But we can’t keep exploiting health and other academics endlessly…

One way that academics compensate for the crappy salaries that they get compared to their private sector counterparts is to substitute intrinsic rewards for the extrinsic shortfalls. The opportunity to research is probably the chief compensation for most academics, with teaching a good second. But we are falling down on the research side.

Where to from here? Well, the Labour-led government made some modest progress, particularly when Cullen was Minister. Frankly, Hodgson is a disappointment. But National looks worse. Traditionally anti-intellectual, the signs from Bill “Loose Lips” English are not good. I despair.

[Postscript: My friend who left last week for a job at a Melbourne uni reports vastly superior research funding in addition to the huge salary increase that he awarded himself by going there.]

About these ads

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Levels of health research funding a sick joke”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Auckland Uni is doing everything it can to raise academic staff salaries, certainly a few points ahead of inflation, but fee rises are restricted, so their ability to do much is constrained. Onwards with private fundraising! There are certainly world class cancer and neo-natal research units at Auckland Uni, so yes, it must be the ‘opportunity’ keeping them there more than anything.

  2. MacDoctor Says:

    Lack of government funding drives researchers straight into the arms of the drug and medical equipment companies. The nett result is that little is done in the way of non drug-related research in NZ. You notice the especially in the local medical journals. NZ research papers are often either drug related or very small scale.

  3. | MacDoctor Moments Says:

    […] Jafapete blogged this afternoon on a Herald article about the pitiful state of Health research funding in New Zealand. The Herald reports that New Zealand funding is up to 12 times lower than other countries. Jafapete goes on to say: Yep, that’s a factor of twelve. The report shows NZ’s government funding for health research is equivalent to $10.2 per capita. This compares to around $34.6 per capita in Australia, $54.3 per capita in the UK and $126 per capita in the USA. […]

  4. Not so Savant « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] off, anybody who has been a regular reader of my blog would have seen posts critical of research funding (”Frankly, Hodgson is a […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: