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Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia

Data on expenditure and human resources devoted to research and development (R&D) carried out by government and private non-profit organisations

Reference period
2016 - 2017

Government resources devoted to research and experimental development (R&D)

During the 2016-17 financial year, expenditure on R&D performed by Australian government organisations was $3,279 million. Commonwealth government organisations contributed $2,139 million (65%), and state and territory government organisations contributed $1,140 million (35%), to total government expenditure on R&D (GOVERD).

GOVERD decreased 2% in current price terms and 4% in chain volume terms between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Government resources devoted to R&D
2006-072008-092011-122012-132014-152016-17
Expenditure on R&D - Current pricesCommonwealth$m2 0462 2522 4262 3452 2572 139
State/territory$m1 0491 1691 1231 3811 0721 140
Total(a)$m3 0953 4203 5493 7253 3293 279
Expenditure on R&D - Chain volume measures(b)Commonwealth$m2 6572 7552 7612 5562 3122 139
State/territory$m1 3631 4291 2781 5061 0981 140
Total(a)$m4 0194 1844 0394 0623 4093 279
Human resources devoted to R&DCommonwealthPYE9 4819 2099 8009 8208 4438 000
State/territoryPYE7 2797 8346 8896 5616 2736 773
Total(a)PYE16 76017 04216 68916 38114 71514 773
  1. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
  2. The reference period for chain volume measures is 2016-17. See Methodology for details.


Subsequent expenditure figures and supporting commentary relate to current price terms.

R&D expenditure by Commonwealth government organisations decreased $118 million (5%) in 2016-17. R&D expenditure by State and territory government organisations increased $68 million (6%) from 2014-15.

Government expenditure on R&D, summary statistics
COMMONWEALTHSTATE/TERRITORYTOTAL(a)
2014-15 ($m)2016-17 ($m)2014-15 ($m)2016-17 ($m)2014-15 ($m)2016-17 ($m)
Type of expenditureCapital expenditureLand, buildings and other structures102743038132112
Other capital expenditure1781393831216171
Total(a)2802136869348282
Current expenditureLabour costs1 2101 2046206871 8311 892
Other current expenditure7677213833841 1501 105
Total(a)1 9781 9261 0041 0712 9812 996
Total expenditure on R&D(a)2 2572 1391 0721 1403 3293 279
  1. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
     

GOVERD and Gross domestic product (GDP)

GOVERD as a proportion of GDP decreased from 0.21% in 2014-15 to 0.19% in 2016-17.

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  1. See Methodology for details
     

Government expenditure on R&D (GOVERD)

Type of expenditure

In 2016-17, GOVERD included $2,996 million (91%) in Current expenditure and $282 million (9%) in Capital expenditure. The largest component of GOVERD in 2016-17 was Labour costs, at $1,892 million (58%) of GOVERD. This was followed by Other current expenditure, at $1,105 million (34%) of GOVERD.

In 2016-17, total Capital expenditure decreased $66 million (19%), with total Current expenditure increasing $15 million (1%). Compared to 2014-15, Other current expenditure recorded the largest decrease in dollar terms, down $46 million (4%), followed by Other capital expenditure, also down $46 million (21%). Labour costs was the only type of expenditure that recorded an increase, up $61 million (3%) in 2016-17.

Source of funds

The two main sources of funds for GOVERD in 2016-17 were Own funds, $2,209 million (67% of GOVERD) and Other Commonwealth government, $323 million (10% of GOVERD). These were also the main sources of funds in 2014-15.

Between 2014-15 and 2016-17, Other Commonwealth government recorded the largest dollar decrease, down $131 million (29%), followed by Universities, down $44 million (83%).

Location of expenditure

Location of expenditure relates to the region in which R&D activity was performed; see Methodology for details.

In 2016-17, Victoria ($792 million) and New South Wales ($626 million) together accounted for 43% of total GOVERD. Australian Capital Territory recorded the largest decrease in dollar terms, down $50 million or 12%. Queensland, as a location of expenditure, recorded the largest dollar increase in GOVERD between 2014-15 and 2016-17, up $18 million (4%).

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  1. For a definition of location, see Methodology
     

GOVERD and Gross state product (GSP)

In 2016-17, the Australian Capital Territory had the largest decrease in GOVERD as a proportion of GSP (0.26%).

GOVERD, by location of expenditure - proportion of GSP(a)
NSW (%)Vic. (%)Qld (%)SA (%)WA (%)Tas. (%)NT (%)ACT (%)
2014-15Commonwealth0.080.150.090.300.060.450.181.20
State0.050.070.090.120.050.010.120.06
Total(b)0.120.220.180.420.110.460.311.26
2016-17Commonwealth0.060.130.070.320.050.430.140.96
State0.050.060.090.100.060.000.160.04
Total(b)0.110.190.160.420.110.430.301.00
  1. See Methodology for details.
  2. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
     

Type of activity

In 2016-17, 56% of GOVERD ($1,831 million) was directed to Applied research, 26% ($866 million) to Strategic basic research and 14% ($460 million) to Experimental development. The remaining 4% ($122 million) was directed towards Pure basic research.

Pure basic research recorded the largest dollar decrease of $50 million (29%), followed by Applied research down $47 million (3%) and Strategic basic research, down $22 million (3%) from 2014-15. Experimental development recorded the only increase in 2016-17, up $69 million (18%).

Fields of research (FOR)

The Fields of Research accounting for the largest amount of GOVERD expenditure in 2016-17 were Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences, $574 million (18%); Medical and Health Sciences, $502 million (15%); Engineering, $494 million (15%) and Biological Sciences, $310 million (9%). Together, these four Fields of Research accounted for over half (57%) of total GOVERD for 2016-17.

Socio-economic objective (SEO)

The four Socio-economic Objectives attracting the most expenditure in 2016-17 were Health, $593 million (18%); Defence, $557 million (17%); Environment, $519 million (16%); and Plant Production and Plant Primary Products, $417 million (13%). In 2016-17, the top four Socio-economic Objectives remained the same as in 2014-15 and accounted for almost two thirds (64%) of total GOVERD.

Government human resources devoted to R&D

In 2016-17, human resources devoted to R&D by Australian government organisations totalled 14,773 person years of effort (PYE). Commonwealth government comprised 8,000 PYE (54%) of total PYE and State and territory government comprised 6,773 PYE (46%).

Government human resources devoted to R&D, by type of resource
COMMONWEALTHSTATE/TERRITORYTOTAL(a)
2014-15 (PYE)2016-17 (PYE)2014-15 (PYE)2016-17 (PYE)2014-15 (PYE)2016-17 (PYE)
Researchers4 5944 5013 0442 9827 6377 483
Technicians2 4162 1682 2542 3454 6714 512
Other staff1 4331 3319751 4462 4072 777
Total human resources devoted to R&D(a)8 4438 0006 2736 77314 71514 773
  1. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.


In 2016-17, government human resources devoted to R&D increased 58 PYE (0.4%) from 14,715 PYE in 2014-15. The increase was due to increases in PYE for Other staff, up 370 PYE (15%).

Researchers remained the largest type of resource in 2016-17, accounting for 51% of total government human resources devoted to R&D.

Private non-profit resources devoted to research and experimental development (R&D)

Expenditure on R&D performed by Australian private non-profit (PNP) organisations during the 2016-17 financial year was $1,040 million.

Between 2014-15 and 2016-17, private non-profit expenditure on R&D (PNPERD) increased by 3% in current price terms and 1% in chain volume terms.

Private non-profit resources devoted to R&D
2006-072008-092011-122012-132014-152016-17
Expenditure on R&DCurrent prices$m6097449449611 0071 040
Chain volume measures(a)$m7868661 0091 0001 0311 040
Human resources devoted to R&DPYE4 5754 7885 2565 6786 0196 178
  1. The reference year for chain volume measures is 2016-17. See Methodology for details.


Subsequent expenditure figures and supporting commentary relate to current price terms.

In 2016-17, PNPERD increase of $33 million (3%) was largely driven by Labour costs which increased by $31 million (6%) from 2014-15.

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D, summary statistics
2014-15 ($m)2016-17 ($m)
Type of expenditureCapital expenditureLand, buildings and other structures1915
Other capital expenditure3436
Total(a)5351
Current expenditureLabour costs540571
Other current expenditure413417
Total(a)954989
Total expenditure on R&D(a)1 0071 040
  1. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
     

PNPERD and Gross domestic product (GDP)

PNPERD as a proportion of GDP decreased slightly from 0.062% in 2014-15 to 0.059% in 2016-17.

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  1. See Methodology for details.
     

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D (PNPERD)

Type of expenditure

In 2016-17, PNPERD included $989 million (95%) in total Current expenditure and $51 million (5%) in total Capital expenditure. The largest component of PNPERD in 2016-17 was Labour costs, at $571 million (55% of PNPERD); followed by Other current expenditure, at $417 million (40% of PNPERD).

Source of funds

In 2016-17, Commonwealth government funds was the largest contributing Source of funds to total PNPERD, at $384 million (37% of total PNPERD), followed by Own funds, at $244 million (23% of total PNPERD).

Of all sources of funds, Private non-profit funding recorded the largest dollar increase from 2014-15, up $24 million (24%). This was followed by Own funds, up $14 million (6%) in 2016-17, and Other state and local government funds, up $11 million (12%). Donations and bequests recorded the largest dollar decrease, down $12 million (22%) between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Location of expenditure

Location of expenditure relates to the region in which R&D activity was performed; see Methodology for details.

In 2016-17, Victoria ($515 million) and New South Wales ($331 million) together accounted for 81% of total PNPERD. Victoria, up $29 million (6%) and Queensland, up $9 million (21%) recorded the largest dollar increases in PNPERD from 2014-15. South Australia recorded the largest dollar decrease, down $8 million (25%) between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

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  1. Ranked by 2016-17 PNPERD. For a definition of location, see Methodology.
     

PNPERD and Gross state product (GSP)

In 2016-17, PNPERD as a proportion of GSP was highest for Victoria at 0.13%.

PNPERD, by location of expenditure - proportion of GSP(a)
NSW (%)Vic. (%)Qld (%)SA (%)WA (%)Tas. (%)NT (%)ACT (%)
2014-150.060.130.010.030.03-0.030.02
2016-170.060.130.020.020.03npnp0.02

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells).
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated.

  1. See Methodology for details.
     

Type of activity

In 2016-17, over three quarters of PNPERD was directed towards Strategic basic research, at $438 million (42% of total PNPERD) and Applied research, at $370 million (36% of total PNPERD). The remaining expenditure was directed towards Experimental development, at $193 million (19%) and Pure basic research, at $39 million (4%).

Compared to 2014-15, Strategic basic research recorded the largest dollar increase, up $77 million (21%). Pure basic research recorded the largest dollar and percentage decrease down $42 million (52%) from 2014-15. The distribution of PNPERD across Type of activity remained largely unchanged in 2016-17, with Strategic basic research and Applied research representing the largest proportion of total PNPERD (78%).

Fields of research (FOR)

Medical and Health Sciences, at $897 million, remained the largest Field of Research for PNP organisations in 2016-17, accounting for more than three quarters (86%) of total PNPERD. The next largest Field of Research was Education, which accounted for $39 million (4%) of total PNPERD.

The largest dollar increase in PNPERD in 2016-17 was recorded by Medical and Health Sciences, up $109 million (14%).

Socio-economic objective (SEO)

The majority of PNPERD (90%) was directed to the Socio-economic Objective of Health ($932 million) in 2016-17. Education and Training was the next largest Socio-economic Objective, with $41 million (4%) of total PNPERD, despite recording the largest dollar decrease of $24 million (37%) from 2014-15.

Health, up $72 million (8%) and Animal Production and Animal Primary Products, up $3 million (32%) recorded the largest dollar increases among Socio-economic Objectives between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Along with Education and Training, down $24 million (37%), Environment also recorded a large decrease, down $17 million (71%), the second largest dollar decrease since 2014-15.

Private non-profit human resources devoted to R&D

In 2016-17, human resources devoted to R&D by PNP organisations totalled 6,178 person years of effort (PYE). This was an increase of 160 PYE (3%) from 2014-15.

Private non-profit human resources devoted to R&D, by type of resources
2014-15 (PYE)2016-17 (PYE)
Researchers3 8003 980
Technicians1 2301 145
Other staff9891 054
Total human resource devoted to R&D(a)6 0196 178
  1. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.


Researchers and Other staff increased 180 PYE (5%) and 65 PYE (7%) respectively. Technicians decreased 85 PYE (7%). Researchers remained the largest type of resource in 2016-17, accounting for 64% of total human resources devoted to R&D by PNP organisations.

Data downloads

Government expenditure on R&D, summary statistics, 2016-17

Government expenditure on R&D, by fields of research, 2016-17

Government expenditure on R&D, by socio-economic objective, 2016-17

Government human resources devoted to R&D, by type of resource, 2016-17

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D, summary statistics, 2016-17

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D, by fields of research, 2016-17

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D, by socio-economic objective, 2016-17

Private non-profit expenditure on R&D, by employment size, 2016-17

Private non-profit human resources devoted to R&D, by type of resource, 2016-17

Private non-profit human resources devoted to R&D, by employment size, 2016-17