Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU) will be submitting our response to the PBRF Review Panel’s Toward the Tertiary Research Excellence Evaluation (TREE) on Friday.

The Ministry of Education has concluded its six week targeted consultation on a range of proposed changes and options for strengthening PBRF, informed by the PBRF Review Panel’s report and recommendations. However TEU maintains proposed changes do not go far enough in fixing the broken system.

TEU members have long denounced the PBRF as a model built on systemic biases that give rise to a variety of unintended outcomes and undesirable consequences. Drawing on personal experiences with the PBRF, TEU members have consistently said that PBRF is unfair, costly, unwieldly, and, as a result, impedes the core mission of public tertiary education.

The negative consequences of PBRF continue to undermine the work of staff throughout the tertiary education sector. PBRF is a system that is outward looking and values the mahi that is acknowledged from a globalised view – when in fact Aotearoa research and world view is something to be valued and invested in.

TEU again recommends that funding for research should be distributed to tertiary education institutions on the simplest possible basis. The allocation of funds should be on the basis of the unweighted full-time equivalent numbers of research active staff in an institution. Those staff should be recognised equally, in all their diversity, both of composition and of epistemological perspectives.

The tertiary education sector needs more positive, productive, and genuinely supportive systems for the future that recognise the essentially social and collaborative nature of research. Research is about knowing truths in common that we cannot know alone. That needs to be reflected in the basic design of any research system that celebrates and supports the work of all who contribute to knowledge in Aotearoa.