The Ministry of Education putting together an expert panel to review thePerformance Based Research Fund (PBRF) from mid-2019, so it’s time to talkthrough the significant changes made to this system of funding allocation.Deputy Secretary Nanette Cormack says “there needs to be accountability tothe public for its investment in the tertiary education sector, however itis now clear that the funding mechanism is flawed, costly, unfair, and atodds with the core purpose and objectives of research in our tertiaryinstitutions”.“The overly burdensome, cumbersome and costly PBRF process diverts time andresources away from both research and the core function of tertiaryeducation institutions, educating students. At the same time there is theincreased workload, particularly through the review period. That results inundue pressures placed on staff and their families”.TEU commissioned research to be released in June shows that the PBRF modelhas resulted in day-to-day changes in institutions that have negativelyimpacted on conditions of work and ultimately student learning.The PBRF model has seen some institutions, departments, and individualmanagers respond with oppressive micro-management techniques; there hasbeen a loss of trust and collegiality; there has been an over-emphasis onemploying 'research stars' to lift rankings at the expense of developingearly career academics, all resulting in negative impacts on teaching, thetime to critically reflect on teaching practice, and ultimately oneducational outcomes.One of the academics involved in the conversations to set up the PBRF,Jonathan Boston, has agreed that the unintended consequences of theperformance fund mean it needs a thorough review.“We want a model which would see a shift toward a simplified, low-cost andtransparent alternative, measuring performance at the institutional, ratherthan individual level, and which removes the negative, unintendedconsequences of the current model, which threatens the reputations ofinstitutions, and the educational outcomes of our students”, Cormack says.TEU has been asked to put forward the names of academics for the reviewpanel.Cormack says “It’s great that government departments are ensuring thattertiary education staff are directly involved in the review panel andprocess. It’s time the ongoing concerns of staff are taken seriously onthis issue.”