Productivity Commission should scrap PBRF

Posted By TEU on Apr 7, 2016 | 9 comments

Tertiary Update Vol 19 No 11

The Productivity Commission should scrap PBRF if it wants to improve innovation says TEU national president Sandra Grey.

Grey says the bureaucratic workload and regulatory regime that performance-based funding imposes on researchers is a perverse outcome. It means those researchers are spending time on auditing and accounting rather than being innovative.

“New Zealand is full of amazing researchers with exciting new ideas. But they don’t have the professional autonomy and trust to get on with their jobs.”

Grey says PBRF creates incentives for universities to favour safe, regular and predictable research.

This is making the sector more risk averse than it needs to be. Universities are making strategic decisions that support safe and easy choices that are guaranteed to deliver a return in PBRF funding.

“All researchers accept that failure is just part of the process, particularly in STEM subjects, and we must allow for this we want great leaps in knowledge.”

Grey says performance-based funding of any kind always has perverse outcomes and performance funding for research is no different.

“One of the perverse outcomes for researchers is that they are spending large amounts of time processing their way through forms and shaping their research to fit tidily into the system, rather than doing the research itself.”

“If we respect and trust researchers’ professional autonomy sometimes they will fail but sometimes they will astound us with new and vibrant research that could change the world. Most importantly they will spend more of their time researching than auditing and accounting.”

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. More parents get paid leave this week
  2. Tertiary fraud and mismanagement debated in parliament
  3. Student loans policed more closely than tax avoidance
  4. 25,000 students lose allowances

Other news

It was Allied Staff Day at North Tec yesterday, and the TEU branch collected cans for Soul Food – a Northland initiative helping people in need – Check out our photos on Flickr

Mai Chen: Mental health in workplace is new frontier for health and safety –New Zealand Herald

Research and creative thinking can change the world. This means that academics have enormous power. But, as academics Asit Biswas and Julian Kirchherr have warned, the overwhelming majority are not shaping today’s public debates – Pacific Media Centre

The Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Council has announced Dr Neil Barns as the interim chief executive for the merged institution. He was previously chief executive of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology – Rotorua Daily Post

NCEA results are out – and the data shows slight increases across the board. Based on results by participation rate, 83 percent of Year 13 students achieved Level 3 NCEA, compared to just under 81 percent last year – New Zealand Herald


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