Back to top

University research influential on the world stage

30 November 2016 | media

The inaugural Science and Innovation System Performance Report finds that the New Zealand university research system is efficient and their research is influential on the world stage.

Chris Whelan, Executive Director of Universities New Zealand, says the report confirms the quality and efficiency of New Zealand universities compared with other OECD countries. 

“Our research system performs very well for the level of research funding – around three times the OECD average and top among the Small Advanced Economies benchmark against other OECD countries.

“University research is also of a high quality and is being used around the world, as demonstrated by a citation rate of 1.4 times the world average.

“While New Zealand is at the bottom of developed countries for the volume of research, this can be attributed to New Zealand’s lower investment in research funding.”

The report also showed that universities dominate academic publishing across all fields in New Zealand.

Chris Whelan says the report demonstrates that increased government expenditure on university research is a sound investment that benefits both New Zealand and the wider world.


-  Universities spend $800m+ on research annually with an estimated annual return of 20%

-  Universities account for 33% of all New Zealand research and development expenditure;

-  Over $500M is generated each year through commercialising university research;

-  Over 60% of university research expenditure is on physical and information sciences, health, research and our economic framework;

-  Universities employ 73% of all New Zealand’s R&D staff;

-  The stock of all knowledge generated by New Zealand’s universities and adopted across the wider economy, accounts for around 9% of GDP.