Performance-Based Research Fund improvements

Today, the Government announced changes to strengthen and build on the successes of the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). These changes will promote a stronger, fairer, more diverse tertiary education system that helps us grow and share New Zealand’s research with our communities.

The changes follow an independent review of the fund settings and targeted consultation with the research sector. The full range of tertiary education research excellence will now be better recognised.

A more holistic approach, better reflection of the partnership between Māori and the Crown, and improved recognition of the contributions of Māori researchers and research are some of the key changes.

Supporting research that reflects the growing diversity in New Zealand, and addressing inequities, are central to the changes being introduced. The changes include improved recognition of Pacific research and researchers, and changes to assessment criteria that promote equity and inclusion, including for disabled and early-career researchers and research.

The changes being implemented are as follows:

  1. Adding a new objective to the PBRF, to support a robust and inclusive system for developing and sustaining research excellence in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  2. Refreshing the PBRF guiding principles to better reflect the partnership between the Crown and Māori, and to promote equity, diversity and inclusiveness.
  3. Supporting Māori researchers and research by increasing from 1 to 3 the subject area weighting for Evidence Portfolios assessed by the Māori Knowledge and Development panel and applying a funding weighting of 2.5 for Evidence Portfolios submitted by Māori staff.
  4. Supporting Pacific researchers and research in the PBRF by increasing from 1 to 2.5 the subject area weighting for Evidence Portfolios assessed by the Pacific Research panel and applying a funding weighting of 2 for Evidence Portfolios submitted by Pacific staff.
  5. Providing certainty for Te Pūkenga in the next Quality Evaluation round by fixing its minimum allocation at 90% of the proportion allocated to Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics in the 2018 Quality Evaluation.
  6. Amending the External Research Income component by increasing the weighting of the Overseas Research Income category from 1.5 to 3.5, and increasing the weighting for New Zealand Non-Government Income from 2 to 4, to better reflect non-governmental sources of income.
  7. Broadening the PBRF definition of research and making changes to Evidence Portfolios, including to better recognise and reward a broader range and diversity of research, and to better recognise collaboration and engagement.
  8. Revising the Extraordinary Circumstances qualifying criteria to promote equity and inclusion.
  9. Simplifying the New and Emerging qualifying criteria to reduce administrative burden.

The Tertiary Education Commission is appointing a Sector Reference Group with members from across the tertiary education sector. The Group will contribute critical sector expertise and knowledge towards the implementation of the changes.

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