Research grants

The Heart Foundation is New Zealand's leading independent funder of heart research. With the generous support of our donors, we've invested more than $57 million into heart research since 1970.

With your help, we can continue to fund and support world class research.

Back in 1968, a dedicated group of cardiologists and business people founded the Heart Foundation, with a clear vision to foster heart-related education and research in New Zealand.

Their dream was to improve the heart-health of every Kiwi. Since then the Heart Foundation has invested more than $57 million into ground-breaking heart research and, over this time, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of deaths from heart disease.

However, cardiovascular disease is still the number-one cause of death in New Zealand and many of these deaths are premature and preventable. That's why research remains so important.

Associate Professor Gerry Devlin, Medical Director of the Heart Foundation says, we have a long and proud record of research investment, which has improved our heart health over several decades. However, there is no room for complacency as we face new challenges. 

Project Grants:

Project Grants provide short-term support for a single individual or small group working on a clearly defined research project. The usual term for a Project Grant is one or two years with a maximum of three years. The Scientific Advisory Group has determined that the average award for a project grant will be $100,000-$150,000, and only under exceptional circumstances will the award exceed $200,000.

Overseas Training and Research Fellowship:

These are intended to support medical graduates who propose to engage in further clinical training and research in the field of cardiovascular disease. They are normally tenable for one year only. In exceptional circumstances, Overseas Training & Research Fellowships may be extended for a second year but it is expected that Fellows will attempt to obtain funding for further training or research from the institution where they are based.

Research Fellowship:

These are designed to support graduates who propose to engage in full-time research related to the aims of the Heart Foundation. Research Fellowships are available for medical graduates or non-medical graduates who will normally be at a post-doctoral level. They are tenable in New Zealand for up to three years in duration.

Postgraduate Scholarship:

These scholarships are intended to provide personal support for selected graduate students of New Zealand universities whose proposed programme of research for a higher degree, will further the aims of the Heart Foundation. They are designed to attract well-qualified New Zealand graduates into cardiovascular research. It is expected that successful scholars will be enrolled for a degree at doctoral level, usually the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  The Heart Foundation Postgraduate Scholarships are tenable only in New Zealand, and normally within a faculty of medicine at a New Zealand university.  The Scholarships are normally awarded for a total period of three years, and must be taken up within 12 months of the award.

Māori Cardiovascular Research Fellowship:

This Fellowship is intended to support the development of Māori health research capacity and capability. It is open to applications from graduates in health science, both clinical and non-clinical. It is expected that applicants will be engaged in research work relevant to the improvement of cardiovascular health for Māori. Applicants should describe the potential benefit of their research for such improvement and relevant support available. Study towards a higher degree would be expected if appropriate. Applicants should also describe their iwi affiliation.  Applicants will be interviewed by a panel representing the Scientific Advisory Group of the Heart Foundation. This fellowship is tenable in New Zealand for up to three years.

Small Project Grants:

The purpose of these grants is to fund a wide variety of research-related activities which support the aims of the Heart Foundation.  It is expected that the research projects would cover a wide variety of areas related to the aims of the Heart Foundation. They could be a small research project or a small part of a wider research project. These could include: needs assessments, systematic literature reviews (such as for a Cochrane review), case series, analyses of existing data sets, pilot projects, policy research and programme evaluations. While programme audits should ordinarily be budgeted for as part of the programme, some audit projects could be considered if they are to be published. The main purpose of these grants is to support emerging investigators including (but not limited to) registrars, post doctoral students, general practitioners and public health practitioners. Investigators, however, need to ensure that they have strong academic support for their research. Studies which need ethics approval should state whether this has been obtained, or is being applied for.

Grants-In-Aid:

The purpose of these grants is to fund a wide variety of research-related activities which support the aims of the Heart Foundation.  A Grant-in-aid is an award for a particular purpose designed to further the aims of the Heart Foundation, but not within the categories of a Project Grant or one of the other grants previously described. Examples of Grants-in-aid include: a grant to support the publication of a book or production of educational resources, or the purchase of research equipment. Awards will also be considered for research training and career development through attendance at short courses and the like outside New Zealand.

Travel Grant:

The purpose of these grants is to fund a wide variety of research-related activities which support the aims of the Heart Foundation.  The Heart Foundation awards Travel Grants to enable medical or non-medical workers to travel in New Zealand or overseas to attend conferences. These awards are not intended to relieve the Applicant's employing body of its obligation to assist with the travel costs of its employees in relation to continuing education. The award does not necessarily cover all costs. Awards shall not normally exceed $3,500 except for very special circumstances. Travel to take up a position overseas, such as a postdoctoral position, is not normally covered. The Heart Foundation broadly supports travel to relevant international conferences and symposia and locally would welcome applications for presentations at CSANZ meetings in Australia and New Zealand. Retrospective funding of travel will not be considered. For short-term study overseas refer to Grants-in-aid elsewhere in this section.

Summer Studentships:

Summer Studentships are offered annually through the Medical Schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. The Studentships will cover projects related to cardiovascular research and have a value of $5,000 each. The Heart Foundation expects a report from all of the Studentships upon their completion. Administration of these Studentships will be through the appropriate channels of each Medical School. Other conditions pertaining to the Studentships can be obtained through each Medical School.  Please contact your Medical School to apply.  

Research grants are awarded by the Scientific Advisory Group of The Heart Foundation. There are normally 12 members of the Scientific Advisory Group. The collective expertise of the Group covers a wide range from basic sciences, clinical medicine and cardiology through to public health. The Chief Executive of the Foundation is an ex-officio member of the Scientific Advisory Group as is the Medical Director. Members of the Advisory Group are appointed for three-year terms, renewable once. The Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Group, Medical Director and Chief Executive are members of the Board.

Associate Professor Merv Merrilees (Chairperson)
Department of Anatomy with Radiology
University of Auckland

Professor Rob Doughty
Chair in Heart Health
Department of Medicine, University of Auckland

Associate Professor Gerry Devlin
Medical Director of the Heart Foundation
Cardiologist at Waikato Hospital 

Professor Alison Heather
Department of Physiology 
University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Murray Skeaff
Department of Human Nutrition
University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Tim Stokes
Elaine Gurr Professor of General Practice
Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago

Professor Richard Troughton
Christchurch Heart Institute
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch

Associate Professor Mark Webster
Senior Cardiologist
Green Lane Cardiovascular Service, Auckland City Hospital

Associate Professor Sue Wells
School of Population Health
University of Auckland

Dr Jinny Willis
Scientist
Lipid and Diabetes Research Group, Christchurch Hospital

Through the generosity of our amazing supporters who have provided donations and financial support, we are pleased to release the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand research grants opportunities for 2017.  

View 2017 grants opportunities

Grants are awarded in July each year. Travel Grants are awarded three times a year. Download the PDF below to view those awarded in 2016.

View grants awarded

To see research summaries from 2016 written in everyday language download the pdf below.

View lay reports

Visit the Research Grants website