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Appointments to Performance-Based Research Fund Review Panel

The Ministry of Education is pleased to announce the independent panel that will review the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) has been appointed by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins.

The PBRF is designed to encourage and reward excellent research in New Zealand’s degree granting organisations; $315 million is allocated annually based on a research quality evaluation, research degree completions and external research income.

The PBRF Review panel will look at the fund and its core aims, being guided by the Terms of Reference, which cover a range of aspects, such as supporting greater collaboration in research and maintaining a sustainable diverse research workforce (available on the Ministry of Education’s website).

The panel members are Professor Wendy Larner, Dr David Phipps, Professor Ian Town, Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem, Associate Professor Marcus Williams, and Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith who will chair the panel.

Public consultation will take place early next year after Ministers have considered the panel’s report.

Biographical details of the appointees:

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Professor Smith is currently Professor of Māori and Indigenous Studies and Senior Research Advisor to Te Kotahi Research Institute, University of Waikato. She has served as Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development and as Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Waikato. She is an internationally recognised scholar who in 2018 received the inaugural Te Puāwaitanga Award from the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of the eminent and distinctive contribution she has made to Te Ao Māori and to Māori and indigenous knowledge.

Professor Wendy Larner

Professor Larner became Provost of Victoria University of Wellington in 2015 and President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in 2018. Previously, she was Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law and Professor of Human Geography and Sociology at the University of Bristol. She is an internationally respected social scientist whose research sits in the interdisciplinary fields of globalisation, governance and gender. She also has a range of experience with international research assessment systems, such as the United Kingdom Research Excellence Framework and the Hong Kong Research Excellence Framework.

Dr David Phipps

Dr Phipps leads the Knowledge Mobilisation Unit at York University, Canada, which provides services to researchers, community organisations and government agencies wishing to maximise the economic, social and environmental impacts of university research. He also leads Research Impact Canada, Canada’s knowledge mobilization network across 12 universities. Dr Phipps has a strong interest in how different research assessment systems look to measure impact.

Professor Ian Town

Professor Town became Chair of the Te Papa Hauora Christchurch Health Precinct in 2014. He has also recently been appointed as the Ministry of Health’s Chief Science Advisor. He previously worked within the university system, including as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Canterbury from 2005 to 2013. He also works as a specialist consultant working with leading providers in health and higher education, specialising in governance, health research, innovation and strategic planning. He has extensive knowledge of the PBRF and is currently Chair of the Tertiary Education Commission’s Governance Group for the PBRF Quality Evaluation 2018.

Associate Professor Yvonne Underhill-Sem

Associate Professor Underhill-Sem is currently an Associate Professor of Development Studies at the University of Auckland and has also worked extensively in the area of Pacific Research. She is Director of the New Zealand Institute for Pacific Research, was Deputy-Chair of the inaugural Pacific PBRF panel from 2016-2018 and has also sat on the Marsden Fund Social Science panel. She was a 2010/11 Fulbright Senior Scholar at the City University of New York Graduate Centre.

Associate Professor Marcus Williams

Associate Professor Williams is currently an Associate Professor at the Unitec Institute of Technology and also works as their Director of Research & Enterprise. He is a cross-disciplinary art practitioner, with an enduring interest in collaboration, who has exhibited throughout New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe. He brings a range of relevant experience, including his interactions with the PBRF from a tertiary education institution in the institute of technology and polytechnic sector.


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