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Universities powerhouse of NZ research

The eight universities are confirmed as the powerhouse of research in New Zealand, based on today’s release of results from the 2018 Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) quality evaluation, says Universities New Zealand Chair Derek McCormack.

Universities will receive 95.7% of the quality-based funding, based on the interim results. They continue to produce the largest percentage of world-class and nationally recognised research, which equates to about 30% of New Zealand’s total research output.

“This is fundamental and applied research that benefits all New Zealanders,” says Derek McCormack, “with major increases over the past six years since the last review in areas such as health, medicine, engineering and technology.

“We are particularly pleased to see the growth of Māori knowledge and development, the introduction of Pacific research and an improvement in the gender balance in this funding cycle.

“Universities have a role to play as repositories of knowledge and expertise, meeting international standards of research and teaching, and acting as a critic and conscience of society. University researchers are increasingly called on to take complex information and make it accessible to outside audiences. These results show universities are successfully meeting this challenge.”

Of some concern, however, is the small increase in the number new and emerging researchers submitting their work for evaluation. With an aging university workforce, sustainability of the research effort is an issue.

“We look forward to working with the Government to support early career researchers, and to find sustainable ways of increasing funding for post-doctoral research,” says UNZ Chief Executive Chris Whelan.

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