UAG – make your submission!.

By Craig Marshall, Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka | The University of Otago

Two recently created bodies aim to examine the roles of science and of universities in New Zealand for the foreseeable future. The findings of these groups are likely to have long-term effects on the science and tertiary education sectors in New Zealand for some time: this may be a case of being careful of what you wish for.

The University Advisory Group (UAG) website identifies these key questions of the university sector:

  • how it serves New Zealand and the size of the system
  • promoting appropriate levels of coordination between institutions
  • ensuring quality in research, teaching and knowledge transfer
  • funding mechanisms and the role of the Performance Based Research Fund
  • ways to best achieve equity for all learners; and
  • the role of international education

More detailed information about the focus of this group can be found at and register your interest to proceed further.

Membership of the UAG can be found here The eight members of this group are weighted to business and the establishment and does not include those with experience either as staff or as recent administrators within the sector. There doesn’t seem to be a voice for students either.

Sir Peter Gluckman leads both advisory groups. He has a long record as an effective scientist and advisor with a reputation for being hard to convince and was Chief Science Advisor to the Key Government for some time. In one of the university meetings with staff Sir Peter also said the boundary between universities, wānanga and polytechnics would be looked at.

The submission process is quite structured and you will need time to read carefully the material provided on the UAG web pages. Of particular note is question 3 on the submission page “What are the barriers (excluding fiscal) that limit the universities from operating efficiently and effectively for the benefit of New Zealand?”: which offers a guide to the direction set for this group.

Despite this constraint, it is worth developing an effective expression of how universities in New Zealand should function in the future for consideration by the UAG.

Preliminary submissions are due by Friday 31 May.