PBRF review to reduce costs and support businesses

Posted By TEU on Apr 4, 2013 |

Tertiary Update Vol 16 No 10

The minister for tertiary education, skills and employment Steven Joyce told education institutions he will be reviewing PBRF this year to reduce its cost and make it more relevant to business.

In a speech to the Higher Education Summit last month the minister told delegates of two upcoming government reviews:

“This year, we are reviewing the two main tertiary research funding streams – the PBRF and the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) – to assess their effectiveness in delivering skills and innovation, producing excellent research, and encouraging the utilisation and commercialisation of research.”

“In the case of the PBRF review, we want to see if there are practical improvements that can be made to reduce the cost of the PBRF process for researchers, tertiary education organisations and the government,” he said.

“We also want to look at how the PBRF recognises applied research that is relevant to business, whether it could do more to encourage research with impacts that go beyond the tertiary system, and how the fund may be improved to better support mātauranga Māori research.”

Steven Joyce says there will be an opportunity for people to have their say on the PBRF review when some possible options for change are circulated, probably in May.

TEU national president Lesley Francey confirmed that the union would be ensuring it had a say throughout this review.

“PBRF is a costly bureaucratic exercise for individual researchers and the institutions they work for. It is not an efficient way to fund research,” she said. “It is important to ensure that  funding supports mātauranga Māori research.  However we do not support further ‘commercialisation’ of research.”

“It appears that the minister has lost sight of the ideal of higher education being the critic and conscience of society. This narrowing of the focus of research towards an emphasis on commercialisation could have huge implications for New Zealand society long after Mr Joyce’s political career comes to an end.

“We would also vigorously oppose any proposals to change the system simply so as to cut budgets, or changes that undermine the academic independence of researchers by allowing either government or business to favour some types of research over others.”

Meanwhile,  in unrelated PBRF news, TEU has also released advice to members on the upcoming release of individual PBRF Quality Categories to participating institutions on 11 April 2013.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. ETC staff seek 19% parity pay rise
  2. Businesses lift but govt cuts R&D spending
  3. Legal challenge for equal pay
  4. The Aussie Coursera?

Other news

New Zealand universities are falling in international rankings and without a radical rethink of funding will struggle to attract top students and staff, a university leader has warned – New Zealand Herald

From this week student loan holders will pay $11 more a week as the Government ramps up its repayment scheme. Any borrower earning more than $367 a week will be subject to the change announced in last year’s Budget, which raised the repayment rate for student loans by 2 per cent – New Zealand Herald

Witt chief executive Richard Handley will leave the polytechnic next week but intends to remain in Taranaki.  Mr Handley will walk away from his job 14 weeks before his term is due to end, having agreed with the Witt council he would not work out his three months’ notice – Taranaki Daily News 

International students are an important source of skilled migrants, and 38 percent of those who qualified for residency as skilled migrants last year were former international students, Immigration New Zealand says – New Zealand Herald

The same California State Legislature that cut the higher education budget to ribbons, while spending ever larger sums on prisons, now proposes to magically set things right by requiring public colleges and universities to offer more online courses. One particularly ludicrous bill would create a “New University of California” that offered no instruction but would issue credentials to people merely for passing exams – New York Times

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