Performance Based Research Fund

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The Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) is a New Zealand tertiary education funding process, assessing the research performance of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) and then funding them on the basis of their performance. [1]


The PBRF model has three elements to:

  • reward and encourage the quality of researchers—60 percent of the fund
  • reflect research degree completions—25 percent of the fund
  • reflect external research income—15 percent of fund

Quality evaluation[edit]

The major element, the Quality Evaluation, is held periodically. The first was held in 2003, the second, a partial round in which not all staff were required to submit portfolios, was held in 2006, and the latest full round was held in 2012.

Each Quality Evaluation assesses the quality of research conducted at TEOs, and funding is allocated accordingly. Quality is determined by an assessment of research degree completion numbers, the amount of external research funding an institution achieves, and an evaluation of the individual research performance of all academic staff teaching on degrees or employed to conduct research.

Each academic staff member is required (with some exceptions) to submit an Evidence Portfolio which records their research outputs, contribution to research environment, and peer esteem. They are then assessed as A, B, C or R category. The A indicates international standing, B national, C local and R research inactive or active at a lower level.

From 2006 two new categories, C(NE) and R(NE) were introduced, for new and emerging researchers who have not yet had the benefit of a full six year census period. Each staff member is assigned a numerical grade (in 2006 5 for an A, 3 for a B, 1 for a C or C (NE), and 0 for R and R (NE)). This is used to calculate an overall score. Since the numerical scores assigned for the 2003 assessment and that for the 2006 assessment differed, the results of the two assessments are not entirely comparable, despite the 2006 assessment being designed to be a partial round.

In assessing individuals rather than groups, PBRF differs from the otherwise similar Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in the United Kingdom.

New Zealand universities[edit]

In 2012, Victoria University of Wellington was ranked first for research quality. The current research rankings are below. [2]

PBRF rankings of New Zealand universities:

Rank University 2012 Quality score 2006 Quality score 2003 Quality score
1 Victoria 5.51 3.83 3.39
2 Auckland 5.12 4.19 3.96
3 Otago 4.96 4.23 3.23
4 Canterbury 4.79 4.10 3.83
5 Waikato 4.53 3.73 2.98
6 Massey 4.31 3.05 2.11
7 Lincoln 4.02 2.97 2.56
8 AUT 3.59 1.86 0.77
National average 4.66 2.96 2.59


  • Note: the number of staff and the quality score are weighted for full-time equivalents.
  • The national average includes non-university TEOs.
  • The 2012 rankings use the ‘new’ Average Quality Score, which excludes all R rated portfolios, whereas the 2003 and 2006 rankings use the previous Average Quality Score.

References[edit]

External links[edit]