Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs)

CoREs are inter-institutional research networks, with researchers working together on commonly agreed work programmes. CoREs support growth in research excellence and make a contribution to New Zealand’s development of world class researchers in areas of existing research excellence.

Following a review of the CoREs Fund that was conducted by the Ministry of Education in 2012-13, Cabinet agreed to two areas of change to optimise the performance of CoREs. The changes include a mission statement for CoREs that incorporates the purpose and characteristics of CoREs, and a framework to strengthen performance.

Further information about the operation of the CoREs, funding rules and selection processes is available on the Tertiary Education Commission website. Information about the findings from the review, the changes decided by Cabinet, and a new funding round for additional CoREs is provided below.

Findings from the review

The aim of the 2012-13 CoREs review was to consider the benefits of current CoRE policy and identify improvements that would further strengthen the performance of CoREs.

The main findings of the review were:

  • The CoREs policy plays an important and unique role in supporting high-quality research in a tertiary context, with positive social and economic benefits to New Zealand
  • The CoREs model supports the Government’s broader policy objectives for innovation and economic growth through the creation of new knowledge, human capital development, and knowledge transfer (the nature of impact varies, depending on the type of research conducted in each CoRE)
  • The wide distribution of research expertise across New Zealand’s tertiary education institutions and Crown research institutes (the original problem that the CoREs policy aimed to address) remains a barrier to concentrated research effort
  • There is a need for greater clarity of expectations in terms of the purpose (the ‘mission’) of CoREs
  • There is a need to develop a more consistent approach to performance measurement to assist the CoREs to demonstrate, and Government to assess, the contribution that CoREs are making.

Changes following the review

Cabinet has agreed to two areas of change to optimise the performance of CoREs. The changes include development of a mission statement for CoREs that incorporates the purpose and characteristics of CoREs, and a framework to strengthen performance.

New mission statement for CoREs

The new CoREs mission statement specifies the characteristics of CoREs and sets out the high level expectations of CoREs, including roles of the tertiary education institution hosts and partners, and the role, performance and achievements of CoREs.

The mission statement is reflected in the updated funding determination which the Minister issued in August 2013. This funding determination can be found on the Tertiary Education Commission website:

New performance framework for CoREs

A new performance monitoring framework for the CoREs policy aims to assist the CoREs to demonstrate, and Government to assess, the contribution that CoREs are making. The new framework will provide a set of common measures to assess the policy impact of the CoREs, and will align with the Tertiary Education Commission’s monitoring of each CoRE’s contractual commitments.

The framework will be finalised and published by the end of 2014, to be put into use in 2015. It will include metric-based reporting and qualitative assessment.

New funding rounds for additional CoREs

As part of Budget 2014, the Government announced it will fund three additional CoREs and a CoRE focused on Māori research from 2016.

The 2013/14 CoREs selection round selected six CoREs for funding from 2015 to 2020. This Budget initiative will bring the total number of CoREs to be funded to 10.

Details on the 2013/14 selection process and the six selected CoREs can be found on the Tertiary Education Commission website.

Details of the seven CoREs receiving funding until 31 December 2015 can be found on the Tertiary Education Commission website.

Change documents

Review documents

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