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Significant increase in top-rated research staff at Otago – PBRF Quality Evaluation reveals

Sun striking the Clocktower

Wednesday 1 May 2019 8:31am

The University of Otago’s focus on excellence in research has been reaffirmed by today’s announcement of the 2018 Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Quality Evaluation.

The assessment reveals a 30 per cent increase in the number of A-rated staff at the University, along with strong increases across the other research grades.

Richard Blaikie
Professor Richard Blaikie.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says Otago’s initial results show access for students, stakeholders and members of the public to world-class researchers, many of whom are world-leading teachers too, has significantly increased since the last evaluation in 2012.

“There has been a substantial and positive increase in the number and quality of evidence portfolios submitted by Otago staff.

“The most pleasing part of that is a 30 per cent increase in the number of staff who achieved a world-class A rating in the PBRF this year,” he says.

The PBRF Quality Evaluation assessment examines the quality of research performance by all eligible academic and research staff in New Zealand universities and other tertiary organisations.

Its aim is to ensure excellent research in the tertiary education sector is encouraged and rewarded. Tertiary organisations are assessed, then funded on the basis of, their research performance.

The PBRF funding pool is determined by the Government in its annual budget, based on the Quality Evaluation, research degree completions and external research funding; 2018 Quality Evaluation results, which represent 55% of total funding, have not had a substantial impact on Otago’s funding.

Since the 2012 evaluation, Otago’s number of A-rated staff has increased from 189 to 248. Overall, there was a 16 per cent increase in funded staff – up from 1298 to 1508.

The University’s B and C rated researchers increased 10 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, along with a 15 per cent increase in funded FTE for C-rated new-and-emerging (NE) staff.

The assessment also reveals a large number of NE staff who have achieved B ratings early in their careers.

“This indicates the pipeline of researchers is strong, with people rising up through the ranks,” Professor Blaikie says.

He acknowledged the hard work of all Otago staff who contributed to the 2018 Quality Evaluation and highlighted its importance to the University’s reputation.

“The PBRF is one of the important measures of the quality of the University’s research and teaching. It sits alongside our outstanding results in the annual Prime Minister’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence awards and the TEC Educational Performance Indicators, highlighting the ways we balance excellence across all of our activities.”

More information on the 2018 PBRF Quality Evaluation can be found on the Tertiary Education Commission website:

For more information, contact

Professor Richard Blaikie
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise)
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 8513

Jo Galer
Team Leader Media Engagement
Communications Office
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 8263
Mob + 64 21 279 8263