Metrics and more metrics for uni-industry fund

In June Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a National Priorities and Industry Linkages Fund with money for universities tied to performance metrics – major metrics it appears

Eight VCs have proposed a model to distribute block grants for university-industry engagement “in order to support job-ready graduates.”

The inelegantly named NIPFL will, “incentivise behaviours and mind-sets that are responsive to public funding priorities while supporting new and innovative ways for universities to engage with industry.” Industry is broadly defined as business, government and the community sector, “as all play a critical role in our national prosperity and wellbeing.”

“But how,” you ask (oh, go on) “will success be measured?”

Well, there will be five principles applied to three indicators, each of which has three performance measures.

“By having the three types of indicators, with both quantitative and qualitative components, the framework reduces the need for each indicator or metric to be exhaustive in representing the realms of possibilities in which performance can be demonstrated,” the consultation paper states.

There are also three categories of metrics for work integrated learning, STEM and industry partnerships. “While one metric, demonstrator and innovator must come from each priority, the remaining three indicators may be from any priority and any tier. Each tier in itself does not have to be mutually exclusive or collectively exhaustive,” which will be a relief to industry-engagement experts who quickly tire.

Universities will use the data to present to the feds what they are going to do and report back on how they did it.

And to ensure everybody in a university gets on board, “NIPFL funding does not have to be spent on NIPFL activities.”

As with Mr Tehan’s performance based funding model for student places, (is that still a thing?) funding that a university does not do well enough to earn, goes back in the pot.

The discussion paper sets out questions people might like to ask about how this model will work. Or not.


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