Victoria University of Wellington tops national research quality rankings again

Victoria University of Wellington has once again topped the national research quality rankings, coming first in the Tertiary Education Commission’s main measure of research quality intensity.

The Commission’s latest Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF) quality evaluation round sees Victoria University of Wellington heading the country’s 36 tertiary education organisations (TEOs), including eight universities, for its proportion of academics conducting high quality research.

Victoria University of Wellington was also number one in the previous PBRF round in 2012—the first time a TEO has managed to retain the honour of top position.

The University scored 29.19 in the research quality intensity measure, compared with a 22.60 average for all universities and 7.15 for TEOs in general.

Other universities scored as below:

  • University of Otago 26.09
  • University of Canterbury 25.92
  • University of Auckland 24.94
  • University of Waikato 21.76
  • Massey University 19.50
  • Lincoln University 17.64
  • Auckland University of Technology 15.78

Victoria University of Wellington also has the highest percentage of top-rated researchers (A-ranked plus B-ranked combined) of all universities and TEOs.

The University increased its number of research-active staff by nearly 35 percent compared with 2012, from 641 to 864—demonstrating its substantial growth in research activity over the past six years.

In terms of subject areas, the University performed particularly well in areas of strength expected of a university in the creative capital of New Zealand. It had the highest percentage of A-ranked researchers in: Earth Sciences; English Language and Literature; History, History of Art, Classics and Curatorial Studies; Law; Music, Literary Arts and Other Arts; Philosophy; Public Health; Human Geography; and Theatre, Dance, Film, Television and Multimedia.

The subjects where the University had the highest percentage of A-ranked plus B-ranked researchers (combined) are: Foreign Languages and Linguistics; Law; Philosophy (joint); Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Criminology and Gender Studies; Māori Knowledge and Development; History, History of Art, Classics and Curatorial Studies.

As well as evaluating research intensity and quality, PBRF is a funding mechanism for the tertiary sector, and as a result of the latest round Victoria University of Wellington is set to receive significantly more from the government over the next six years compared with its 2012 allocation.

The University’s Vice-Provost (Research), Professor Margaret Hyland, congratulates all staff involved in “these fantastic results” and notes they also bode well for the future. “Drilling down into the results, we see a healthy spread of researchers at different stages of their careers, reflecting how we have provided a good atmosphere for fostering careers at all levels, including the newest, which is so important to New Zealand’s research future.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says: “As New Zealand’s most research quality intensive university, we have a higher proportion of academics conducting high quality research than anywhere else in the country. The benefits of this are passed on to our students and are seen in the contributions we make to improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the world around us”.

Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith says: “Maintaining a strong culture of research excellence has been a core strategy for Victoria University of Wellington over the past decade and it is wonderful to see this effort recognised once again in the 2018 PBRF results. On behalf of the University Council, I congratulate the Vice-Chancellor, Provost, Vice-Provost (Research) and all the academic and professional staff of the University whose curiosity, insight and sheer hard work have delivered these great results.”