Performance-Based Research Fund

Previous Quality Evaluation rounds

This page provides information on the previous three Quality Evaluation rounds held in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

On this page:



In November 2001, the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission recommended the introduction of a performance-based research fund for tertiary education organisations (TEOs).  The Performance-based Research Fund (PBRF) Working Group was established in July 2002. It gave advice to government on the detailed design and implementation of a performance-based system for funding research in New Zealand’s degree-granting organisations. Cabinet endorsed the PBRF Working Group’s recommendations in December 2002. These recommendations are in the report, ‘Investing in Excellence’, and are the basis for the PBRF.

The origins of PBRF funding lie in the funding provided to tertiary education organisations for teaching, specifically the portion of funding they received as a ‘top-up’ for teaching research degrees.  These funds were not intended as a source of funding for research, but to enable tertiary education providers to provide research-based teaching. While the Government has invested additional money over time, the majority of the fund comes from these top ups. 

When the PBRF was introduced in 2002, a three-phase evaluation strategy was also put in place. 

  • Phase one started in August 2003 and focused on early indicators of the impacts of the design and implementation of the PBRF and the results of the 2003 Quality Evaluation.
  • Phase two started in February 2008 and was an independent strategic review of the positive effects and unintended consequences of the PBRF on the sector. Its main focus was on how well the PBRF was accomplishing its primary goal, to encourage and reward research excellence in the tertiary education sector, and included information from the results of the 2006 Quality Evaluation.
  • Phase three was a review by the Ministry of Education. It sought to build on the existing performance of the PBRF to identify ways in which it could be improved and included information from the implementation and results of the 2012 Quality Evaluation.

Here are the evaluation reports:


The 2012 Quality Evaluation

The 2012 Quality Evaluation final report

The 2012 Quality Evaluation final report was published in October 2013. The final report incorporates changes made based on the results of the complaints process, administrative corrections, and the presentation of information as requested by the sector. An overview of the results of the complaints process was included (Appendix 1). Indicative funding for 2013 PBRF allocations was also updated (Table 9.1).

Peer review panel and expert advisory group reports

Reports were developed by each of the 12 peer review panels and two expert advisory groups following the completion of the 2012 Quality Evaluation. The reports provide information on their assessments and recommendations for the TEC.

Peer review panel-specific guidelines

The panel-specific guidelines were developed by each panel to assist researchers in the development and submission of their Evidence Portfolios for the 2012 Quality Evaluation.

 Expert Advisory Group (EAG) criteria

The EAG criteria outline the processes and principles of the EAGs.

Audit Information

2006 and 2003 Quality Evaluation Resources

Most of the historical resources and publications relating to earlier PBRF cycles have been archived and are available on request. The following documents are available to download.

2006 Quality Evaluation

2003 Quality Evaluation




  • Last changed: 30 March 2016
  • Last verified: 30 March 2016