Draft Tertiary Education Strategy Focuses of Applied Research

By Michael Edmonds 01/11/2013

The draft Tertiary Education Strategy for 2014 – 2019 has been released for comment and has a strong focus on encouraging applied research.

There are six strategic priorities listed in the strategy. Priority 5 is the one focused on research.

Described as “Strengthening research-based institutions” the wording of priority 5 indicates a heavy focus on industry  and economic growth. In some respects this is not surprising as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment appears to have taken the lead in preparing this document. This section of the draft document begins,

“Building tertiary educations’s contribution to economic growth requires us to have strong, internationally respected and competitive universities and other research based institutions”

It also describes how the Government is

“proposing changes to reduce compliance costs, encourage the development of the research workforce, and further reward commercialisation of research”

There will also be

“increase(d) funding targeted at engineering qualifications”

Other poignant quotes include

“The Government expects TEOs* to work more closely with industry to improve the relevance of research and achieve greater transfer of knowledge, ideas and expertise to industry and wider society”


“tertiary education can contribute to this goal by providing the appropriate skills and resources to make research and development investment more attainable and valuable for New Zealand businesses.”


The full draft strategy with feedback forms for those wanting to comment of this strategy can be found here



*TEO = Tertiary Education Organisations





0 Responses to “Draft Tertiary Education Strategy Focuses of Applied Research”

  • This is a pushback against the perverse consequences of the PBRF.
    Industry-funded research in the universities has fallen.in recent years. No government stand idly by while that is happening.

  • kemo sabe,

    what do you mean by perverse consequences of the PBRF?

  • For years successive governments have wanted the universities to strengthen their links with industry. This worthy goal appears in earlier versions of the Tertiary Education Strategy.
    The PBRF has weak incentives for academic staff to do this. In fact the incentives tend to push in the other direction. For example, it is hard to get industry-sponsored research published in peer-reviewed journals, either because it is confidential or too applied, and thus many academics will shy away from it.
    We see the results of this in the biennial R&D survey. There has been an alarming fall in research funding into the unis from the business sector.
    This is an interesting example of the trade-offs which have to be faced when new policies are introduced. At the time that the PBRF was being designed it was obvious (to some of us) that a slide towards excessive publication would occur. We have very high rates of publication per researcher in NZ, which is all very well but won’t turn us into a Finland or Denmark.