A study performed by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) shows the University of Auckland has the most ‘world class’ academics of any New Zealand tertiary institution.
The study was performed ahead of the release of the TEC’s Performance Based Research Fund. The fund, paid for by the government, is dished out to tertiary education providers each year “to ensure excellent research in the tertiary education sector is encouraged and rewarded”. It currently holds around $1 billion dollars, parts of which will be released later in the year. The fund – which is intended to be used to pay for academic research papers and studies – is divided between tertiary institutions, with each institution receiving a proportion of the fund equal to its share of high-performing academics – hence the study.
TEC’s study found UoA had 391 ‘world class’ level academics (researchers which were given an A-grade by the study). In addition, the university was said to have a further 1353 ‘high quality’ (B-grade) or ‘new and emerging’ (C-grade) academics who were expected to continue to grow the university’s reputation. All told, the university was said to have 1744 high-performing academics – more than Victoria University (or whatever the hell it wants to be called), which was said to have 865 high-performers, 173 of which were ‘world class’, and the University of Otago, which was said to have 1358, with 229 being ‘world class’.
An analysis of the study released by the TEC also shows a number of interesting features revealed by the study. For starters, it appears the number of quality staff nationwide is increasing: according to the TEC study, there are 7408 high-performing academics currently, which is more than 1000 more than the last time the study was run (in 2012). The subjects which appear to have the highest number of emerging academics (based on the increases in funding between 2012 and 2019) were nursing and biomedical, while the subjects which were said to have the highest number of ‘world class’ researchers were engineering and technology (103), psychology (70), and biomedical (64) – suggesting, perhaps, that most cutting-edge study was being performed in the medical field.
As a result of the study, the university has been allocated 28% of the funds.