Dunedin Study gets funding security

The Health Research Council funding round results are out, revealing the projects receiving a share of $60 million. 

One health research-related question was answered alongside today’s announcement. The Dunedin longitudinal study, currently the subject of a fascinating TV series, received around $6 million in HRC grants.

As the Otago Daily Times reports:

Richie Poulton, director of the university’s Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, which co-ordinates the internationally recognised Dunedin Study, yesterday received a five-year programme grant of $4,994,717.

The research is based on the continuing study of 1037 children, born in Dunedin in 1972-73.

The latest funding will support a “lifecourse study on ageing processes to inform early intervention strategies”, to be undertaken through the Dunedin Study.

And another researcher involved in the study, Bob Hancox, has received a further grant of $1,195,332 for “next generation studies”, linked to the research.

After I mentioned in my blog about the pre-Budget announcement of the $97 million boost in funding for the HRC, that the Dunedin study was to receive more funding, a number of scientists had got in touch suggesting that was far from certain. They’d been shocked that the Dunedin study hadn’t been awarded any funding in the previous round and, as I understand it, hadn’t even been shortlisted.

The funding boost over five years suggests there is general agreement that after more than 40 years of operation, the study is a crucial research asset to New Zealand and demands ongoing funding support from the government.

Check out the full list of projects and researchers awarded funding in the latest HRC round.


  1. Peter Griffin

    @Abbie I think it explains why the Dunedin study has been given dedicated funding for five years – because it didn’t make sense to have it in the usual contestable funding pool. It may be that it isn’t a particularly cutting-edge period of research ahead for the study, more business as usual, but if it failed in contestable rounds, it could spell the end of one of the most impactful studies undertaken in New Zealand.

  2. Abbie

    “They’d been shocked that the Dunedin study hadn’t been awarded any funding in the previous round and, as I understand it, hadn’t even been shortlisted.”
    I heard that their previous application was essentially “We are the Dunedin Study, so give us what we want”. They were relying solely on their reputation to get them funding. Seems fair that they should at least make an effort.

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