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PBRF was introduced in 2003 to encourage and reward research excellence in New Zealand's tertiary education sector. It is managed by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and it has progressively replaced a student numbers-based model for supporting research. Any Tertiary Education Organisation (TEO), which is approved to teach degree programmes is eligible to take part in PBRF exercises. PBRF is comprised of three components, the Quality Evaluation exercise (55% of PBRF funding), Research Degree Completions (25% of PBRF funding), and External Research Income (20% of PBRF funding). Previous Quality Evaluation exercises were carried out in 2003, 2006, 2012, and 2018. The PBRF and Publications Office coordinates the Quality Evaluation exercises, while the Stategy, Analytics and Reporting Office oversees the Research Degree Completions and External Research Income aspects of PBRF for the University

The Quality Evaluation exercise is an assessment of the research performance of staff at participating tertiary education organisations (TEOs) by a national and international expert peer-review panel. It is held every six years and is the major component of the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF).

The Quality Evaluation exercise is based on the submission and assessment of Evidence Portfolios. Specialist peer review panels assess Evidence Portfolios against agreed standards of research excellence and grade researchers based on their submissions. Funding is dependent on the grades achieved and is set for the assessment period following the exercise.

Participating TEOs are subject to strict auditing requirements regarding staff eligibility, all information submitted in Evidence Portfolios and other declarations.

Once the panel decisions have been made and approved, the results are given to each participating TEO and a report on the Quality Evaluation results is published.

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