The next PBRF Quality Evaluation exercise was due to be held in 2024, however, due to the impacts of Covid-19, the PBRF assessment has been delayed two years and will now be held in 2026 with the assessment period covering eight years (1st January 2018 - 31st December 2025).
Following the 2018 PBRF Quality Evaluation exercise, based on sector and panel feedback, an independent review of the PBRF was conducted in 2019 and several recommended changes were put forward, and approved by Cabinet.
Following the review, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) announced four high-level objectives for PBRF to:
- Support a holistic approach to recognising and rewarding research
- Better reflect the partnership between Māori and the Crown
- Recognise and build on the growing diversity in New Zealand
- Address existing inequities experienced in different aspects of tertiary research, research assessment and by researchers themselves
These objectives will be realised by making the following changes:
- Adding a new objective to the PBRF, to support a robust and inclusive system for developing and sustaining research excellence in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Refreshing the PBRF guiding principles to better reflect the partnership between the Crown and Māori, and to promote equity, diversity and inclusiveness
- Supporting Māori researchers and research in the PBRF by increasing the subject area weighting for Evidence Portfolios assessed by the Māori Knowledge and Development panel from 1 to 3 and applying a funding weighting of 2.5 for Evidence Portfolios submitted by Māori staff
- Supporting Pacific researchers and research in the PBRF by increasing the subject area weighting for Evidence Portfolios assessed by the Pacific Research panel from 1 to 2.5 and applying a funding weighting of 2 for Evidence Portfolios submitted by Pacific staff
- Fixing a minimum allocation for Te Pūkenga in the next Quality Evaluation round at 90% of the proportion allocated to Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics in the 2018 Quality Evaluation
- Amending the External Research Income component by increasing the weighting for external research income in the Overseas Research Income category from 1.5 to 3.5 and increasing the weighting for external research income in the New Zealand Non-Government Income category from 2 to 4
- Broadening the PBRF definition of research and making changes to Evidence Portfolios, including to better recognise and reward a broader range and diversity of research, and to better recognise collaboration and engagement
- Revising the Extraordinary Circumstances qualifying criteria
- Simplifying the New and Emerging qualifying criteria.
Sector Reference Group
In 2021, the TEC established the Sector Reference Group (SRG) purposed with developing the PBRF Quality Evaluation Guidelines to implement the changes set out by Cabinet.
The SRG’s recommendations to the TEC are developed through a public consultation process, comprising of consultation papers and the opportunity for sector feedback. The agreed recommendations will form the basis for the PBRF Quality Evaluation 2026 Guidelines, which are expected to be published in the third quarter of 2023.
Further information of the SRG, including its membership, can be found at the following link: https://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-and-performance/funding/fund-finder/performance-based-research-fund/sector-reference-group-srg-2025/
Information on the consultation papers, timelines for sector feedback, and in principle decisions, including the changes expected for Definition of Research and Evidence Portfolio design can be found at the following link: https://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-and-performance/funding/fund-finder/performance-based-research-fund/srg-consultation-papers-2025/