Australia and New Zealand both rely on assessment schemes to improve research quality, yet the money associated with each is very different. By Julie Gould.
All data are from 2010 unless otherwise stated, because 2010 provides the most recent, reliable, comparable and complete data. All dollar amounts are in US dollars, converted using a 2010 exchange rate.
AUSTRALIA: Research assessment funding by state
Australia’s budget for higher-education research and development is an order of magnitude larger than that of New Zealand, yet the amount of money determined by Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is significantly smaller.
The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment comprises only 0.08% of all government funding for higher-education research and development (HERD).
New Zealand continues to increase its gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD), but Australia is starting to pull back.
Excellence in Research for Australia: timeline
Policy-makers and government officials have changed funding allocations from funding formula favouring quantity to assessment criteria favouring quality.
NEW ZEALAND: Research assessment funding by university
The majority of New Zealand’s higher education funding is allocated by the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), which spent a total of $168 million on tertiary education organizations in 2010.
The great divide
The system used by the PBRF to allocate funds to universities.
Any published articles* that include at least one author from Australia or New Zealand.
Almost 90% of all funding for higher-education research and development (HERD) in New Zealand is provided by the government and universities.
Performance-based Research Fund: timeline
Before 2000, funding was provided to tertiary education organizations based on the number of researchers. Now funding is dependent upon individual performance reviews.
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Gould, J. Science budget: Funding by numbers. Nature 511, S52–S53 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/511S52a