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ESR and University of Otago welcome $36M government fund for new infectious diseases research platform

16 December 2021

Microscope Research Lab Esr
Microscope Research Lab Esr

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has today announced the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) and the University of Otago will lead the development of a $36 million Infectious Diseases Research Platform.

The Platform will support New Zealand’s fight against the challenges of COVID-19 and support future development of capability and technology that the nation needs in facing infectious disease outbreaks and pandemics.

The University of Otago and ESR will work together to lead the establishment of The Infectious Diseases Research Platform to build New Zealand’s research excellence and capability. The Platform will foster connection and collaboration, inter-disciplinary world-leading research and create a pipeline of research capability.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the need to foster collaboration and innovation, and this platform will ensure New Zealand is better prepared for known and emerging infectious disease threats, including future pandemics,” ESR Chief Executive Peter Lennox said.

“The platform will engage communities and researchers nationwide and will leverage its international networks in the pursuit of research excellence, equity of health outcomes, equity of opportunity, and upholding the Treaty of Waitangi and its obligations.

“It’s key we follow a Te Ao Māori framework, recognising Rangatiratanga and Pātuitanga consistent with New Zealand health strategies and action plans. The platform will be co-designed with Māori, including Māori health providers, communities, researchers, and educators. The addition of Māori organisations such as Wānanga, Hauora Māori providers and Māori research organisations will be a top priority,” said Peter Lennox.

The University of Otago’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie said the University is proud to co-host this new Platform alongside ESR and the other partners who will contribute their research and expertise to the important work that lies ahead.

“Success will be built on the strengths of the hosts and partners in research and effective implementation in healthcare, policy and community settings, exemplified by the outstanding science-led approach to the pandemic response in Aotearoa and our Pacific realm,” Professor Richard Blaikie said.


Note to Editors:
Today’s MBIE announcement is available here.