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T: 0800 TEC INFO
0800 832 463

Media release: Performance-based Research Fund results

The TEC today released the results of the second Quality Evaluation of the PBRF which shows early signs of having a positive impact on tertiary education-base research.

PBRF was established more than five years ago to encourage and reward research excellence in New Zealand’s tertiary education sector.  The Quality Evaluation system involves assessing Evidence Portfolios from academic staff in Tertiary Education Organisations to determine the rating their institution gets. That in turn determines their research funding allocation.

Tertiary Education Commission Chief Executive Janice Shiner said the tertiary education sector receives about half the public sector research funding in New Zealand, which includes about $230 million a year through the PBRF.

“Before this fund existed, institutions received funding based on student numbers rather than the quality of research.  The PBRF was developed closely with the tertiary education sector so that funding for research was more closely linked to the quality and extent of the research.

“The scheme is still in its infancy – this is only the second Quality Evaluation – but we are pleased with the early signs of having a positive impact on tertiary education-base research.

For example, there is:

  • A 41% increase in the number of researchers whose Evidence Portfolios were assigned an ‘A’ Quality Category (up 184 to 628)
  • A 24% increase in the number of researchers whose Evidence Portfolios were assigned ‘A’ or ‘B’ Quality Categories (up 535 to 2789)

“Particular congratulations must be extended to Otago University which has shown an impressive improvement and has gained the highest overall quality score, and to Auckland University which has the highest number of ‘A’ quality category researchers – a third in the whole country.”

Ms Shiner said the PBRF was in line with other significant changes to the way the government invests in tertiary education.

“The tertiary education reforms we are currently overseeing focus on improving the quality and relevance of tertiary education and research and positioning it as a major force in New Zealand’s economic and social transformation.”

Ms Shiner thanked the more than 200 individuals who made themselves available to be part of the assessment process as panel members or specialist advisers.

“Getting to this stage is a complex process that requires not only a considerable time commitment on many people in the sector but involves the difficult and sometimes unenviable task of passing judgement on the work of peers.  It is important, however, to ensure that the Quality Evaluation is rigorous and robust to maintain the ongoing integrity of the PBRF,” Ms Shiner said.

Media contact: Moerangi Vercoe, TEC Communications Manager at 04 462 5392 or 027 224 8201 or

Additional Information

  • Questions and answers: view
  • The PBRF Quality Evaluation 2006 Report: view
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