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Research fund increases reward researchers

Research fund increases reward researchers

Over $43 million will be distributed to tertiary education organisations through the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) in 2005.

The Tertiary Education Commission has just released its Performance-Based Research Fund 2004 Annual Report, showing improved research indicators recorded by tertiary education organisations (TEOs).

The 2004 report covers data received from TEOs for the 2003 calendar year, and announces the indicative funding for 2005.

Research degree completions increased in 2003 by 7% compared to 2002, and TEOs reported they increased their income from external research by almost 15% between 2002 and 2003, taking it to a total of $223 million.

“The PBRF is primarily designed to encourage and reward research excellence, so it’s good to see these indicators of increased research activity,” says Tertiary Education Commission Acting General Manager Dr Colin Webb.

The Annual Report also announces the funding that TEOs will receive through the PBRF in 2005.

The PBRF fund has increased from $18.2 million in 2004 to $43.6 million, as resources are progressively moved from research “top-ups” based on student numbers into the new fund.

Approximately $15.3 million of additional funding by 2007 was also allocated to the PBRF in the Budgets of 2002 and 2003.

Universities will receive the bulk of PBRF funds in 2005. They dominate all three of the components that make up the PBRF: research degree completions, external research income, and the 2003 Quality Evaluation.

There have been only minor changes in the relative positions of TEOs compared to the 2003 PBRF.

“The PBRF for 2005 is much larger, but each TEO’s portion is very much the same as last year, as there has been almost no change in the overall proportions of PBRF funding attracted by each tertiary education organisation,” explains Dr Webb.

Background information

The PBRF has three components. The Quality Evaluation, which was last carried out in 2003, represents 60% of the total, with 25% of the total reflecting research degree completions, and external research income 15%.

Quality Evaluation

The TEC’s periodic Quality Evaluations use expert panels to assess research quality based on material contained in researchers’ evidence portfolios.

The last Quality Evaluation was held in 2003, and 60% of the PBRF funding announced in the Annual Report continues to be based on this data.

The TEC recently announced that the next Quality Evaluation, due next year, will be held on a ‘partial’ or semi-voluntary basis.

Research Degree Completions (RDC)

In the Research Degree Completions (RDC) component, Auckland, Massey, Canterbury, and Waikato universities all recorded growth of more than 10% in RDC. Roughly two-thirds of the completions were for masters courses, with the remainder being doctorates.

External Research Income (ERI)

Auckland and Otago universities receive 62% of 2005 ERI funding, with the other universities receiving approx 37%. Seven TEOs receive the remainder.

ERI reported by the TEOs increased overall by almost 15% between 2002 and 2003.

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