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Improved effectiveness & lower compliance in PBRF

Improved effectiveness & lower compliance in PBRF

Tertiary education research funding will be simplified and strengthened in changes announced today by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce.

The Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) rewards and encourages excellent tertiary education research by assessing research quality, allocating funding based on results, and publishing information on research performance. It also contributes to the Government’s wider science, research and innovation objectives, by supporting research activities that provide social and economic benefits to New Zealand.

The changes to the PBRF are being made following a review announced as part of the Government's Building Innovation programme, that was carried out over the course of 2012/13.

“In 2012, we committed to invest an additional $100 million in PBRF over four years. This will result in the fund reaching $300 million in 2016/17. This is a significant investment by the Government, so it is appropriate to review the settings of the PBRF to ensure we are getting the best results possible from that investment,” Mr Joyce says.

The review showed that the PBRF is generally working well. It has contributed to an increase in the research performance and productivity of New Zealand tertiary education organisations and is well-regarded internationally.

“We have a system with a number of strengths when compared with other performance-based funding systems around the world. However it is complex and it carries significant compliance costs for institutions and researchers. The changes we’re making will build on the strengths of the PBRF and lower compliance costs,” Mr Joyce says.

The changes will support tertiary education organisations to increase their future research performance by:
• Simplifying the research assessment process, saving time and reducing costs
• Rewarding tertiary education organisations that attract external research income from international sources, New Zealand industry, iwi and not-for-profit organisations – and so placing a higher value on research that meets user needs
• Rewarding tertiary education organisations that recruit, develop and retain new and emerging researchers – supporting the sustainability of the tertiary education research workforce
• Strengthening public reporting on research performance.

Along with these changes, the Government is considering one further proposal to increase the proportion of PBRF income allocated based on external research income (from 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the fund). This would better reward tertiary education organisations that attract income from contestable research funds and contract research, and strengthen incentives to for tertiary education organisations to actively seek out additional research income. The change would bring the New Zealand system more in line with international practice.

The Ministry of Education will undertake a short, targeted consultation with the most affected tertiary education organisations and some science organisations before the Government finalises this proposal.

The changes announced today will be introduced between 2015 and the next Quality Evaluation in 2018.

More information about the PBRF review is available at:www.minedu.govt.nz/PBRF


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