Director’s Report

In late 2001 the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand was established as an independent medical research organisation. Since this time, it has become internationally recognised as New Zealand’s leading independent medical research organisation publishing innovative research in high impact international journals. The MRINZ enjoys strong collaborations within New Zealand and internationally.

There have been many significant achievements this year. The first is the award by the Health Research Council of New Zealand of a programme grant (in collaboration with Auckland University), four project grants, and a Clinical Training Fellowship in the highly competitive 2016/17 funding round. These grants in intensive care and respiratory medicine recognise the internationally significant research undertaken at the Institute in these fields.

The second is the extraordinary research productivity in terms of the quality and quantity of research undertaken. In 2017 the Institute has had over one publication per week, including four publications in the New England Journal of Medicine and two in The Lancet, the world’s two most prestigious medical journals. This productivity reflects the depth and breadth of the innovative research programmes undertaken at the MRINZ, the international interest in the research undertaken, and the huge commitment of all staff to complete and publish their research projects.

The third is the increasing leadership role of the MRINZ in large scale multicentre national and international randomised controlled trials. As a result of the experience gained in these studies, the MRINZ has the unique capability to act autonomously as the trial coordinating centre in New Zealand for large-scale pivotal, clinical trials in intensive care, respiratory medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, neurology and alternative/complementary medicine.

The fourth was the MRINZ awarding its first three postgraduate Doctor of Medicine degrees at the inaugural graduation ceremony. The purpose of the MD degree is to train doctors in clinical research, in particular junior doctors in specialist training. It enhances their opportunities to pursue academic research-based medical careers as independent clinician researchers and as a result increase New Zealand’s workforce capacity in this field.

The fifth significant achievement has been the further development of close collaborative relationships with the New Zealand biotechnology sector. In 2017 this has included the further development of strong research programmes with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited, Adherium, Hikurangi Enterprises, Zealand Health Manufacturing Limited, and HoneyLab Limited. It has not only led to major therapeutic advances, but also economic opportunities for these New Zealand R and D companies. Supporting the emerging New Zealand biotechnology industry represents an important ongoing priority for the MRINZ.

In 2018 the MRINZ is confident it will continue to meet its goals to investigate the causes of important public health problems in New Zealand and internationally and to use this knowledge to improve the prevention and treatment of disease.


Please download our annual report here

Professor Richard Beasley

CNZM, DSc(Otago), DM(Southampton), MBChB, FRCP(London), FRACP, FAAAAI, FFOM(Hon), FAPSR(New Zealand), FERS, FRSNZ