Higher education is often criticized for its relatively high cost to students, and universities generally incur high research costs. In this study, the research efficiency of 40 public universities was compared using data envelopment analysis. Additionally, member institutes of the project “Aim for the Top University” were evaluated for their research performance during project execution. The results indicated a high level of technical efficiency among top-tier universities (including National Taiwan University and National Tsing Hua University), even though they incurred relatively higher research costs. A high level of technical efficiency was also identified in many technology universities, particularly in terms of research output quality and comparatively low costs. Lower levels of technical efficiency were found for education-focused universities, likely because of their comparatively high expenditure and time on community education. The research capabilities of most member institutions improved with project funding during 2006–2014, even though scale inefficiency was a major concern. Efficiency analysis cannot substitute institutional research; nevertheless, the findings of the estimated efficiency and gaps can be valuable considerations for the evaluated universities.
- Aim for the top university
- Data envelopment analysis (DEA)
- Efficiency analysis
- Public university
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