Performance-based funding to reward research excellence

  • Steve Maharey
Social Development and Employment

A new approach to funding research in tertiary education institutions will support and reward excellence, Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey told participants at a stakeholder workshop on the Performance-Based Research Fund today.

The workshop considered the thinking to date of a working group of sector experts, which had been meeting since June. The all-day session brought together institutions, tertiary sector unions, private providers, the Royal Society of New Zealand, officials and postgraduate student representatives.

Steve Maharey said the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) had been recommended by the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission, had received strong support within the community and the sector, and had become a centrepiece of Labour’s tertiary education policy at the last election.

“We have committed $36 million over four years to supplement the money currently allocated to research on the basis of enrolments. This will mean that by 2007, when this money is fully allocated on a performance basis, the Fund will contain approximately $134 million a year.

“Many people are working within the tertiary education system at the cutting edge of their fields, but current funding and regulatory approaches do not adequately reveal, celebrate or reward them. We are determined to fix this problem, and the Performance-Based Research Fund is an important part of the solution.

“We need an approach to funding that recognises research excellence, wherever it exists, and supports providers to develop and maintain their capability. Students, industry, and the community all need useful, clear and reliable information about exactly where excellence lies.

“We need to continue to maintain the interrelationship between research and teaching, and to support new and emerging researchers. And the transition from the current system must be managed in a way that protects existing strengths and allows providers to adjust to the new environment.

“With the expertise and experience of those on the ground, we can achieve a system that meets these requirements. The Performance-Based Research Fund will help us to achieve higher-quality research across the sector, and better results for New Zealand,” Steve Maharey said.