Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF)


2012 PBRF Quality Evaluation Round


Recognition for University of Waikato staff

More than half of Waikato University's research-active academic staff have been rated in the top two categories by the government in its 2012 quality evaluation for performance-based research funding (PBRF).

The University is also among the top four New Zealand universities in having recognised researchers available for teaching and supervising postgraduate students.

"Of the academics who are earning PBRF funding for the University, we have a very encouraging 9% of researchers at 'A' level and just over 45% of our researchers at ‘B’ level," says the University’s Vice Chancellor Roy Crawford

The largest number of the University's academic staff are recognised for producing research of national and international significance ('B'), and over the past decade the number of 'A' and 'B' researchers as a proportion of all academic staff has risen from a third to more than a half. 'A' researchers are defined as world-class.

"Ninety per cent of the University's academic staff are research-active. Students can be confident that classes at Waikato University are underpinned by internationally-benchmarked, research-informed teaching, and in particular our postgraduate students have direct access to top national and international researchers," says Professor Crawford.

"We put ourselves on the line publicly to say that nearly half of our PBRF-eligible staff would achieve 'A' or 'B' scores," says Professor Crawford, "and we have more than achieved that goal. This is strong evidence that we are building for the future."

He says the PBRF research quality evaluation has two purposes:

  • To ensure the University's teaching is "research-informed" as its charter requires, and
  • To determine how the TEC (Tertiary Education Commission) distributes the PBRF contestable funding pool.

The PBRF is managed by the TEC and the size of the PBRF funding pool is determined by the Government in its annual Budget. In Budget 2012, the Government announced the PBRF pool would be boosted by $100 million over four years to bring the fund to $300 million per annum in 2016.

Waikato University currently receives about $15 million in annual PBRF funding, of which $9 million is generated by the quality evaluation of its research.


University of Waikato 2012 PBRF Results

University of Waikato Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alister Jones, speaks about the performance-based research funding and what this means to University of Waikato students, staff and stakeholders.
17th April 2013



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Understanding the Performance Based Research Fund

The primary goal of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) is to encourage and reward research excellence in the tertiary education sector. It was established by the Government to underpin existing research strengths in the sector and to ensure tertiary education in New Zealand is "research-informed".

PBRF funding is distributed every year to New Zealand tertiary education organisations (TEOs) on the basis of a six-yearly quality evaluation of each organisation's research, and three-year rolling averages of research degree completions, and external research income. These assessments calculate the level of funding each TEO receives from the fund, with 60% determined by the quality evaluation, 25% by research degree completions and 15% by the amount of external research funding each institution attracts.

The PBRF is managed by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and the size of the PBRF funding pool is determined by Government through its annual Budget. In Budget 2012, the Government announced the PBRF would be boosted by $100 million over four years to bring the fund to $300 million per annum in 2016.

Research performance of PBRF-eligible academic staff

The quality evaluation component of PBRF is based on an assessment of the research performance of all academic staff who are identified as PBRF-eligible and who submit a research "evidence portfolio" for peer review. Individual scores are assessed on three elements covered by the portfolio: peer esteem, contribution to the research environment, and research outputs since the last evaluation. The first quality evaluation was held in 2003, a partial second evaluation was held in 2006 and the third in 2012.

Researchers are rated either A, B, C or R (research inactive) depending on the quality of their research evidence portfolios. New and emerging (NE) researchers may also be rated C(NE) or R(NE).

The TEC aggregates these individual scores to provide an overall quality score for each tertiary education organisation, which gives stakeholders reliable information about the quality and level of research in the tertiary education sector.

Results calculated differently from previous years

The overall results for the 2012 Quality Evaluation will be calculated differently from previous years although results from 2003 and 2006 will be updated using the new formula so meaningful comparisons can be made.

A new average quality score for a tertiary education organisation, AQS(N), will be calculated using the number of staff who achieved either A, B, C or C(NE) ratings, and will not include staff assessed as research inactive. The average quality score will also provide the basis for other calculations including an AQS(E) rating which takes into account the number of students (EFTS) taught at degree-level and above at each institution, and an AQS(S) rating which provides a comparative calculation between research active staff and all academic and research staff.

Find out more about the University of Waikato's world rankings and reputation.

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