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Facing the challenge: Tertiary Education Strategy monitoring 2010

Publication Details

This is the 2010 annual monitoring report for the Tertiary Education Strategy. It provides baseline data to monitor progress against the 2010-15 Strategy. The report is framed around the seven priority areas of the Strategy. Each section discusses key indicators relating to the priority, includes a summary of key points and identifies key challenges for achieving the goals of the Strategy.

The report is accompanied by a set of Cross-strategy Indicators that provide enduring measures of the overall health of the tertiary education system.

Author(s): Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis and Reporting, Ministry of Education

Date Published: December 2010

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report. This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads/Links' inset box, top right). This inset box also has links to related publications and information that may be of interest. Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

Quality researching driving innovation

“Researchers in tertiary institutions… undertake a significant proportion of research in New Zealand.  …Innovation is critically important for New Zealand’s economy as a driver of productivity growth. Research supports innovation by building New Zealand’s knowledge base, developing better ways of applying existing knowledge for commercial use and addressing social and environmental concerns.”
(Tertiary Education Strategy 2010-15)


This priority focuses on improving the use and impact of research from the tertiary education sector to increase productivity and improve economic performance.

Key Points:
  • New Zealand tertiary education research is improving in terms of output and academic recognition relative to the rest of the world.
  • One in ten businesses see universities and polytechnics as a direct source of innovation. However, they also indirectly source information from the tertiary sector through research publications and by employing graduates.

Research impact

Measuring the impact and use of academic research in a consistent and internationally comparable way is difficult. Publication rates and citations provide one way of comparing impact and use across countries and disciplines.

The share of world-indexed publications provides one measure of the overall research output of New Zealand tertiary institutions relative to the rest of the world. The share of citations provides one measure of recognition of research and is often used as a measure of the quality of research.

The indicators show that New Zealand tertiary education institutions are slowly increasing their share of publications, and at the same time gaining greater recognition for their work.


Figure 23: New Zealand tertiary education institutions' share of world-indexed publications and citations
Image of Figure 23: New Zealand tertiary education institutions' share of world-indexed publications and citations.
Note:

  1. Source: Thomson Reuters


Academic research impact takes the rate of citations per publication in New Zealand and compares it with the world average within each subject area.3 An impact of 1.0 is equal to the world average for that subject area.

The figure below shows the changing distribution of academic research impact across subject areas. The proportion of subject areas with higher than average research impact is increasing. By the 2005-2009 period, more than half of subject areas had an academic impact above the world average and ten percent had an academic impact of more than 1.5 times the world average.


Figure 24: Distribution of academic impact of university research across subject areas
Image of Figure 24: Distribution of academic impact of university research across subject areas.
Note:

  1. Source: Thomson Reuters

Innovation and commercialisation

Around 10 percent of businesses seek innovation ideas from universities and polytechnics. The largest number is in manufacturing and professional, scientific and technical services.

Direct provision of information to businesses is one of several ways that the tertiary education system contributes to business innovation. Other ways include published research and the knowledge and skills of graduates employed by businesses.


Figure 25: Number of businesses seeking innovation ideas from universities and polytechnics by industry
Image of Figure 25: Number of businesses seeking innovation ideas from universities and polytechnics by industry.
Note:

  1. Source: Statistics New Zealand Business Operations Survey, 2007 and 2009


A key challenge for the tertiary education system is to better understand how tertiary education research can contribute to increased productivity and improved economic performance.

Footnote

  1. Only subjects with 50 or more publications have been included in this analysis.

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