UNSW researchers have been awarded $6.6 million for a strategic partnership to improve the quality and effectiveness of health sector aid in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Federal Government funding was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan, on World Health Day.

Under the partnership, UNSW will be one of four Health Knowledge Hubs identified to help the Australian government's overseas aid organisation AusAID build capacity and improve health outcomes in the region.

Researchers from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine were selected to establish the knowledge hub in Human Resources for Health (HRH) over a period of four years. The announcement recognises the reputation of the School as a leader in global health and its past work as the WHO Regional Training Centre for Health Personnel.

"These hubs will assist in improving the effectiveness of the Australian Government's development assistance program in health," Mr McMullan said.

"Each hub will work both within and outside academia, to develop a critical mass of knowledge and expertise in their respective field, linking people, strengthening and expanding networks and identifying opportunities for collaboration," he said.

The team from UNSW includes Associate Professor Rohan Jayasuriya, Professor Anthony Zwi, Associate Professor Anna Whelan, Mr Alan Hodgkinson, Professor Daniel Tarantola and Ms Lois Meyer.

The group has already commenced work to develop partnerships with HRH experts in Australia and overseas to give priority to the needs identified in countries of the Asia Pacific region, namely Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Many of these countries are facing a crisis in producing and maintaining a sustainable health workforce and have been identified as priority in the Australian Government's assistance program.