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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed 11 ground-breaking projects that have won $1.65 million in explorer grants from the Health Research Council (HRC).

“The Government supports research that leads to improved health outcomes and more effective delivery of healthcare for New Zealanders,” says Dr Coleman.

The HRC explorer grants announced today will support such diverse projects as re-growing teeth, regenerating bone, creating 3D bioprinted vascularised skin, developing a faster way for doctors to detect antibiotic resistance and exploring female infertility.

“Developing a technique to re-grow teeth, for example, is an extraordinary concept and offers huge potential for people suffering dental health problems,” says Dr Coleman.

University of Otago researcher Dr Azam Ali’s “No drill, no fill” project will develop a biometric system that can potentially trigger remineralisation and regrowth of dental tissues.

He aims to create new treatment options for the prevention and restoration of dental caries, a major public health concern nationally and internationally.

Explorer grants are worth $150,000 each and provide seed support for transformative research ideas at an early stage for a term of up to 24 months long.

“These explorer grants give researchers a financial kick-start for their unique projects that aim to completely revolutionise health care,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“Through this union of science and healthcare we hope to make inroads into reducing the toll of these diseases on people’s lives and in reducing the burden socially and economically.”

The Government's ongoing commitment to health research is demonstrated in the Budget 2016 announcement of an extra $97 million over the next four years for the Health Research Council.

Further details about grants are available on the Health Research Council of New Zealand website www.hrc.govt.nz.

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