Funding for emerging researchers

23 Nov, 2021
 
Daysha Tonumaipe'a (left) and Dr Dianne Wepa (right)
Daysha Tonumaipe'a (left) and Dr Dianne Wepa (right)

Three AUT researchers have been named as among the most promising emerging researchers in their fields and awarded grants to undertake research that will address some of New Zealand's most pressing health challenges.

The funding, announced at the recent Health Research Council's annual Career Development Awards (CDAs), will allow AUT's recipients to undertake research into areas such as new ways for the Māori community to reconnect in a post-COVID world, and social inequities in health that are associated with disproportionate levels of obesity.

Comprising a wide range of scholarships and fellowships, the CDAs support Māori and Pacific researchers across the career spectrum to undertake high-quality research and develop the skills needed to address current and future health challenges. The awards include advanced post-doctoral fellowships to support future research leaders, as well as clinical fellowships to help frontline clinicians build evidence-based practice and policies in the healthcare sector.

The CDAs are divided into three categories: General, Māori health research, and Pacific health research.

Māori Health Research Career Development Awards:

Māori Health Masters Scholarship

Neil Rogers - Mana Whenua Ahi Kā

Hikitia is an innovative Kaupapa Māori Mental Health and Addiction Service planned for Waikeria prison. This Master's research project intends to develop a Kaupapa Māori concept plan to review the strengths of Hikitia, not only for Māori in the care and management of Ara Poutama Corrections, but in the context of their whānau.

A systematic literature search and review of Kaupapa Maori evaluative research that will lead into an understanding of best practice in this regard will be undertaken. An expert Māori researcher/evaluator research hui will be conducted to ascertain the appropriateness of "best practice" from the literature to inform the particular evaluation of Hikitia. This might include any additional approaches for this context, and practical challenges that may be confronted in undertaking the research.

The total funding is $28,748 over 12 months.

Māori Health PhD Scholarship

Daysha Tonumaipe'a - Food Havens: the role of social enterprise in creating healthy food environments

This study is part of a wider effort in addressing social inequities in health that are associated with disproportionate levels of obesity, non-communicable diseases, and mortality rates among Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa. The aim is to explore the role of food environments and social enterprise initiatives that work to address these inequities in providing healthy food spaces for Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand.

The study will investigate definitions of social enterprise within the context of Tāmaki Makaurau, social impact initiatives, the creation of healthy food environments and the potential impacts for Māori and Pacific whanau. It will follow Māori and Pacific ontology and epistemological assumptions that will guide a case study methodology. Methods that will be adopted include individual talanoa (in-depth narrative style interviews), surveys (including close and open-ended questions), observation, and wānanga.

The total funding is $128,513 over 36 months.

Māori Health Development Grant

Dr Dianne Wepa - Reconnecting for Māori in a Post COVID-19 world

This is a scoping study involving whanau, hapu and iwi from Ngati Kahungunu. Key leaders from the Māori community within Ngati Kahungunu are wanting to explore new ways of connecting with each other as protective factors for healthy outcomes. COVID-19 has shone a light on how staying connected does not always involve a physical space and place.

The study will scope up the directions from people in the community into what a bigger project will look like to stay connected and possibly develop new ways of connecting to maintain whanau, hapu and iwi kaupapa and whakapapa. The findings will determine the best methodological approach for a larger project possibly involving other iwi with similar experiences.

The total funding is $9,008 over 12 months.

Pacific Health Research Career Development Awards:

Pacific Health PhD Scholarship

Daysha Tonumaipe'a - Food Havens: creating healthy food environments in addressing obesity

This study is part of a wider effort in addressing social inequities in health that are associated with disproportionate levels of obesity, non-communicable diseases, and mortality rates among Māori and Pacific communities in Aotearoa.

The aim is to explore the role of food environments and social enterprise initiatives that work to address these inequities in providing healthy food spaces for Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand. The study will investigate definitions of social enterprise within the context of Tāmaki Makaurau, social impact initiatives, the creation of healthy food environments and the potential impacts for Māori and Pacific whanau.

This study will follow Māori and Pacific ontology and epistemological assumptions that will guide a case study methodology. Methods that will be adopted include individual talanoa (in-depth narrative style interviews), surveys (including close and open-ended questions), observation, and wānanga.

The total funding is $126,510 over 36 months.

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