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Otago Wins PBRF Money Round

23 April 2004

Otago Wins PBRF Money Round

Otago achieves greatest net research funding gain of any university

The University of Otago has been “resoundingly successful” in gaining more research funding through the Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) scheme, an outcome that “reflects the true range of research excellence at Otago”, says University Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg.

According to the recently released report (hyperlink) Otago will receive an additional $1.8 million as a result of the exercise, the largest amount of any New Zealand university. With the $2.3 million the University contributed to the available PBRF funding pool of $18 million, Otago’s total funding win comes to $4.1million.

Dr Fogelberg heartily congratulated all the University’s researchers whose “outstanding work” helped to achieve the outcome. “Their commitment, time and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge is the example that I wish to hold up as the very best of the Otago tradition.”

The Report states that "[University of] Auckland and Otago dominate the funding allocations, showing significant levels of achievement in all three components of the PBRF." These three components are assessment of research performance, external research income and research degree completions.

In terms of research performance, Dr Fogelberg noted that many departments at Otago “shone” in the PBRF exercise, “with significant proportions of their staff "A" rated, with very high quality assessments, with exceptional external research income generated and with significant numbers of research degree completions”.

Otago also has over 20 per cent of all "A" rated researchers in the country, second only to Auckland with 36 per cent. Canterbury is third at13 per cent. In total, 97 Otago staff earned an "A" rating, he added.

In terms of the external research income component, Otago scored “exceptionally well”, placing second with $52.9 million earned, he noted.

In the research degree completions component, Otago had the most doctorate completions of any university at 117 for the 2002 academic year. Because PhD completions are weighted higher than Masters degrees under PBRF, Otago received the most funding under this allocation.

The report notes that "Its quality scores show that Otago's primary research strengths lie in the biological sciences (including anatomy and structural biology, botany, biochemistry, marine science, microbiology, and zoology), and in fields such as anthropology, history and art history, geology, law, philosophy, and psychology."

Dr Fogelberg says that the outcome “reflects very clearly the true range of excellence at Otago, right across the University”, and again commended the University’s staff for dedication to research excellence and for their participation in the PBRF exercise.

“I know it was time-consuming, and that there was considerable anxiety amongst staff prior to the release of the report. But the result, as you will see, was well worth it.”
Dr Fogelberg also commended the Government for implementing PBRF despite some “teething” problems, and extended his congratulations to other high-performing New Zealand tertiary education institutions.

“While there is always room for improvement in any new system, I am wholeheartedly in favour of the idea of directing limited public funding to best support New Zealand’s research strengths. Clearly, at least at the University level, there is considerable depth of research excellence in all institutions, and I congratulate all those departments which have performed so admirably under this PBRF round.”


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