New Zealanders for Health Research

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Health research: maximising philanthropy’s impact!


A workshop for those who want philanthropic funders of health research to influence priorities, shape the health research agenda and achieve the best possible impact on health outcomes.

Why is New Zealanders for Health Research (NZHR) running this workshop?

New Zealand finally has a health research strategy and NZHR is running a workshop to explore what needs to happen to ensure that philanthropic health research funders are influential in setting priorities and in shaping the research agenda in a way that will achieve the greatest health gains.

Polling undertaken by New Zealanders for Health Research (NZHR) in 2016 and 2017 indicates that New Zealanders place a high value on health and medical research. It was ranked among the top 12 priorities for the government out of a possible 26, 82% said they were somewhat or very interested in it, 80% said they would be willing to share personal health information to advance medical research, and 72% said that it will help reduce healthcare costs.

Although 54% said that philanthropic organisations should invest more in health research, only 44% confirmed that they currently donate to health research (almost all of whom donated less than $500 per year), and only 17% said they were likely or very likely to leave a bequest to medical research. When asked for reasons for not donating or leaving a bequest, significant percentages of respondents said “it’s the government’s responsibility”, “don’t know how the money will be spent” and/or “haven’t been asked”.

There are over 100 philanthropic funders of health research listed on the Charities Services website. Based on NZHR’s preliminary analysis of Charities Services 2015 returns we conservatively estimate that they attracted donations and bequests totalling about $8m, and expended about $31m on health and medical research.

One of NZHR’s aims is to support greater philanthropic sector investment in health research, which in turn will require a sustained and increasing flow of donations and bequests.

We warmly invite philanthropic funders of health research to participate in a workshop which will develop recommendations for lifting their profile, financial support and impact. These recommendations will become the basis of NZHR’s advocacy and lobbying activities for this year and beyond.

If you’d like to be part of making a difference to New Zealanders’ health outcomes through improving the impact of philanthropic funding of health research, please register here.

The workshop will be limited to 20 participants on a first come first served basis. 

Employees and members of bronze member organisations are entitled to one, gold members up to three, and platinum members up to five complementary registrations. Employees and members of chrome member organisations are eligible for a 30% discount (if you are a chrome member, please email to register).

Registration will be on a first come first service and will be limited to a maximum of twenty participants per workshop.


Morning tea, networking and welcome (10.00 – 10.15)

New Zealand’s health research investment landscape (10.15 – 11.15)

What does it look like generally; what does it look like specifically for philanthropic funders of health research? Is it enough? What is the impact for philanthropic funders? What needs to change? Who needs to do what?

Presentation to be delivered and discussion facilitated by Chris Higgins, New Zealanders for Health Research Chief Executive.

Investing in funders’ priorities (11.15 – 12.15)

Whose research priorities does the philanthropic sector respond to – their own, the governments, health service providers, investigators, or patients? Is the mix right? If not, what changes are required?

Presentation to be delivered and discussion facilitated by Frances Benge, Cure Kids Chief Executive

Light lunch (12.15 – 12.45)

New Zealand’s Health Research Strategy (12.45 – 1.00)

What is the significance and impact of the health research strategy for philanthropic funders of health research? How can the sector have an effective voice in its implementation?

Presentation to be delivered and discussion facilitated by Tara Satyanand, Strategic Relationships Manager, Health Research Council.

Awareness and fundraising (1.00 – 2.15)

How are results of research projects translated into practice? How can we generate awareness of the impact that philanthropically funded health research has on health outcomes and leverage this to achieve increased donations?

Discussion to be facilitated by Kate Russell, Canterbury Medical Research Foundation Chief Executive, with contributions from:

  • Tony Paine, Chief Executive, Philanthropy New Zealand and
  • Chris Higgins reporting on relevant results from NZHR’s public opinion surveys

Celebrating success (2.15 – 3.15)

Presentation of case studies where philanthropically funded health research has resulted in improved health outcomes

Should we have a New Zealand health research awards event? (we’ll take a look at Research Australia’s highly regarded annual awards evening)

Tea break (3.15 – 3.30)

Actions (3.30 – 4.00)

An agreed summary of key workshop outcomes, short and medium term priorities, and follow up actions to be undertaken by NZHR. Opportunities for continuing sector collaboration and advocacy.


About New Zealanders for Health Research

New Zealanders for Health Research is a dedicated national public education and advocacy alliance. Our vision is the improved health and prosperity of New Zealanders through health research. 

Our goal is to make health research a higher priority in New Zealand, attracting greater investment from government, industry and philanthropic organisations. 

To do so will generate big wins for our nation. It will ultimately improve the health of New Zealanders, and enhance our quality of life, now and into the future. It will boost productivity and generate new knowledge-based businesses and jobs.

 Modelled on highly successful sister organisations in Australia, Canada, the USA and Sweden, New Zealanders for Health Research is an independent and diverse alliance supported by universities, research institutions, industry, charities and patient advocacy groups.

Please see our website