Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF): Policy and Practice

  • Cedric Hall
  • Kay Morris Matthews
  • Theresa Sawicka


This article examines the first cycle of the PBRF exercise. It critiques the policy and describes the system used to reach judgements about the respective research performance of tertiary institutions. It includes a description of one institution's response to the system, including the provisions introduced to obtain formative benefit out of what is essentially a summative evaluation process. The article comments on some of the issues that underpin the system, such as the workload and stress for staff in institutions, the potential negative impact on teaching, the harmful effects of classifying new researchers as “research inactive”, and the high compliance costs for institutions in operating the system. It also questions the absence of any real long-term analysis of the benefits of the PBRF. However, despite these criticisms, the conclusion is reached that the PBRF has been carefully designed and includes many features which reflect well on the validity and reliability of the information provided.


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Author Biographies

Cedric Hall
Kay Morris Matthews
Theresa Sawicka
How to Cite
HALL, Cedric; MATTHEWS, Kay Morris; SAWICKA, Theresa. Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF): Policy and Practice. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 13, july 2003. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 28 oct. 2020. doi:


Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability