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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed $2 million in feasibility study grants announced today by 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.

“This year’s funding for feasibility grants is nearly double last year’s, supporting a total of nine studies spanning a range of subject areas.”

One study looks at adapting a popular US mobile app that helps individuals self-manage hazardous drinking for New Zealand users.

Another is looking at higher infection rates of a common gut bacteria found in some people to see if it helps explain the difficulty in treating cases of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers are keen to see if a mobile phone game which has already proven to be popular with 9-13 year olds can also help improve self-management of diabetes in young people. The game shows the interaction between diet and exercise on glucose blood monitoring.

There is also a trial of the effectiveness of an exercise and education programme to help reduce the 12,000 annual hospitalisations from a lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“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,” says Mr Goldsmith.

“We want to maximise these opportunities. Commercial health research is also a great opportunity to grow our high value exports.”

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 studies receiving funding are available on the Health Research Council of New Zealand website www.hrc.govt.nz.

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