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April 29, 2013 | by  | in News |
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PBRF to Mind its Own Business

The Government is looking to restructure the PBRF to become business-orientated, a move which critics fear will commercialise research.

A review of the PBRF was announced at last month’s Higher Education Summit by Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce, who cited the economy as a reason for the restructuring.

“This year, we are reviewing the two main tertiary-research funding streams—the PBRF and the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs)—to assess their effectiveness in delivering skills and innovation, producing excellent research, and encouraging the utilisation and commercialisation of research,” he said.

Following Joyce’s comments that the review would look at how the PBRF “recognises applied research that is relevant to business,” the Tertiary Education Union came out with the usual opposition.

“We … vigorously oppose any proposals to change the system simply so as to cut budgets, or changes that undermine the academic
independence of researchers by allowing either government or business to favour some types of research over others,” said TEU President Lesley Francey.

The review will be undertaken by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education Commission. A consultation document is expected to be circulated in May in order for the public to have their say on any changes.

Final decisions in response to the review are expected to be made by June 2013.

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