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Injunction sought on PBRF report appendix

Injunction sought on PBRF report appendix

Victoria University of Wellington this afternoon joined with the University of Auckland and obtained an interim injunction from the High Court against the release of part of the Tertiary Education Commission's report on the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF).

The injunction concerns one appendix in the report that attempts to compare the average quality categories or grades of New Zealand universities in the PBRF exercise with British universities in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington, said it was with the greatest reluctance that both universities had decided to take the extreme step of initiating legal action.

"Vice-Chancellors have objected strongly to the inclusion of this information in the report since we were notified by the Commission of its intentions two weeks ago and have repeatedly sought its removal. It is totally invalid and inappropriate to compare the performance of universities in two different countries with significantly different tertiary funding systems and assessed according to quite different criteria. It is like comparing apples with oranges and will damage the reputation and standing of New Zealand's universities both domestically and internationally.

"We recognise that academic staff at tertiary education providers are, with some anticipation, awaiting the release of the results of the PBRF exercise. We have written to the Commission to advise that we have no concern with the substantive portion of the report and we trust that this action will not affect the planned release date next week."


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