PBRF submission on weightings

Posted By TEU on Oct 16, 2009 |

Submission of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa

on the PBRF Sector Reference Group consultation paper “Weightings”

16 October 2009

For further information please contact:

Jo Scott

Policy Analyst

Tertiary Education Union

Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa


The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU) Te HautūKahurangi o Aotearoa is the largest tertiary sector union in this country. ” Our membership currently sits at approximately 11,500 members, covering all types of TEOs in the sector.

Prior to the formation of the TEU on 1st January 2009, both AUS and ASTE made submissions on a range of topics related to the PBRF.”  When the PBRF was introduced, we raised a number of concerns about the model, many of which have unfortunately emerged as issues in the sector.”  Our stance on the PBRF model some years on from its introduction is that minimal changes should be implemented as a result of the current review.”  We have taken this position with the current funding model as we believe that leading up to and post-2012 the sector should vigorously debate alternative models that could replace the PBRF, which we regard as fundamentally flawed.

For this reason the TEU holds the view that further changes to the model, other than minor adjustments (such as clarifying guidelines) would put unnecessary pressure on academic and general staff involved in research and on TEOs, would risk further undermining the data obtained so far from assessment rounds, and should therefore be rejected.

Feedback on SRG recommendations

That no change be made to the funding ratio for Quality Evaluation, Research Degree Completion and External Research Income from the current ratio of 60/25/15.”  (pg 9).

The TEU supports the SRG recommendation that no change be made to the above funding ratios for the next PBRF assessment.”  Whilst we acknowledge and to a great extent support Adams’ comments regarding the relatively high weighting for Research Degree Completions, we note the analysis undertaken by the SRG that shows minimal impact for changing ratios.”  As we have indicated in previous submissions, we are also of the view that any changes made to the current model should be kept to a minimum until discussion regarding alternative models can be held post-2012.

That no change be made to the weightings of the three components of the Evidence Portfolio.”  (pg 9).

The TEU supports the SRG recommendation that no change be made to EP component weightings.”  Our feedback from members, as Adams also noted, is that the current weightings are not seen as being problematic.

That no change be made to the weightings for the Quality Categories (other than possibly C(NE).”  (pg 11).

The TEU supports the SRG recommendation that no change be made to Quality Category weightings.”  As the SRG notes, the only advantage that might be obtained from making the changes is greater investment in staff who achieve an ‘A’ quality score.”  Of course we are not opposed to greater investment in staff, however this needs to be encouraged for all staff.”  Changes that potentially focus only on one group, particularly where this group is already performing at the pinnacle of career achievement seems illogical.

That no change be made to the weightings of Subject Cost Categories.”  (pg 14)

Again, the TEU is supportive of the SRG recommendation favouring stauts quo in regards to weightings for Subject Cost Categories.”  From the evidence presented, it seems little real value would be obtained at this stage of the PBRF model’s history.

We note also our comments made in the submission on options for Māori research regarding weighting for MKD.

Feedback on the SRG request regarding Quality Category C(NE)

Should the Quality Category of C(NE) be weighted higher (such as 1.5, 2.0 or even 3.0), alongside the weightings of 5.0, 3.0, and 1.0 respectively for Quality Categories A, B and C?

As a means of ‘incentivising’ TEOs to better support new and emerging researchers we would not necessarily be opposed to changing the weighting allocation.”  Doing so may ameliorate some of the more negative behaviours that have been occuring in the sector as TEOs seek to lift research outcomes amongst their staff.”  However focusing only on “NE” staff leaves some questions about how “C” staff would fare if such changes were to be implemented; recent experience has shown us that it is this group of staff who are most often targeted in some of the more unhelpful approaches used by TEOs to lift research outcomes.”  We would therefore request that the SRG considers the broader implications and possible negative impacts on other staff before coming to a final recommendation.”  If further investigation indicates disadvantage to “C” category staff, we would support the status quo in regards to “C(NE)” staff.

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