PBRF – I got a C!

By Michael Edmonds 12/04/2013

On Tuesday most staff at my institution will have received their PBRF score. We are advised, as per PBRF instructions, that the information regarding our personal score is confidential and that we have absolute control over that information. Also we have been told that there is no requirement or expectation that we discuss it with our managers, and that it cannot be considered in terms of our employment.

But I am more than happy to share my score – I got a C and I am proud of it, as that reflects a lot of work over the past 6+ years. Coming from an organisation where teaching is prioritised over research (and rightly so for a polytechnic) my score reflects:

  • long weekends and evenings accumulating the references and co-writing a book chapter for an internationally recognised series of chemistry books (Science of Synthesis)
  • Developing the novel fluorine chemistry that provided the basis for two papers in international journals, including one with one of the leaders in beta-peptide chemistry
  • Presenting these results at several conferences
  • Spending time chairing the local branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and helping run monthly events for our branch to promote chemistry
  • Doing all of this on an average allotted time for research over the 6+ years of one day per week
  • Having had to deal with two major quakes in the midst of it all

I’m proud of my PBRF score and the work that it took to gain this score, and I hope all researchers feel the same, even if the score isn’t what they may have expected.

I’d also like to draw attention to some of the issues that can occur around PBRF scores. As it is heavily weighted towards publications, this can be a disadvantage to those who, for example, work in commercially sensitive areas (e.g. medical & drug research) where publication is not always allowed. And with any researcher sometimes grants fail to eventuate, experiments fail or one’s personal life can throw some heavy duty curve balls which inhibit research. PBRF scores are not the be all and end all of a researcher’s worth or of his or her future capability.

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