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Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia

Contains data on expenditure and human resources devoted to research and development (R&D) carried out by higher education organisations in Australia

Reference period
2016
Released
22/05/2018

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

Expenditure on R&D performed by Australian higher education organisations during the 2016 calendar year was $10,878 million.

Between 2014 and 2016, higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) increased by 7% in current price terms and 3% in chain volume terms.

Higher education resources devoted to R&D

   200620082010201220142016
Expenditure on R&D       
 Current prices$m
5 434
6 844
8 161
9 610
10 145
10 878
 Chain volume measures(a)$m
7 386
8 623
9 537
10 583
10 607
10 878
Human resources devoted to R&DPYE
58 905
61 773
69 392
74 669
78 038
79 008
a. The reference year for chain volume measures is 2016. See Methodology for details.
 

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

Higher education expenditure on R&D, summary statistics: values and proportions

   EXPENDITURE ON R&DPROPORTION OF TOTAL EXPENDITURE ON R&D
   2014201620142016
   $m$m%%
Type of expenditure    
 Capital expenditure    
  Land, buildings and other structures
549
487
5.4
4.5
  Other capital expenditure
283
261
2.8
2.4
  Total(a)
832
748
8.2
6.9
 Current expenditure    
  Labour costs
4 310
4 775
42.5
43.9
  Scholarships
737
798
7.3
7.3
  Other current expenditure
4 266
4 556
42.0
41.9
  Total(a)
9 313
10 129
91.8
93.1
Total expenditure on R&D(a)
10 145
10 878
100.0
100.0
a. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
 

Herd and gross domestic product (GDP)

HERD as a proportion of GDP decreased from 0.63% in 2014 to 0.62% in 2016.

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  1. See Methodology for details.

Higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD)

Type of expenditure

In 2016, HERD included $10,129 million (93%) in Current expenditure and $748 million (7%) in Capital expenditure. Compared with 2014, Current expenditure increased $816 million (9%), whilst Capital expenditure decreased $84 million (10%).

The largest component of HERD in 2016 was Labour costs which totalled $4,775 million (44% of HERD). This was followed by Other current expenditure which totalled $4,556 million (42% of HERD). Compared with 2014, Labour costs recorded the largest dollar increase, up $466 million (11%), followed by Other current expenditure which increased $290 million (7%).

Source of funds

The two main sources of funds for HERD in 2016 were General university funds ($6,075 million or 56% of HERD) and Australian competitive grants ($1,673 million or 15% of HERD). These were also the major sources of funds in 2014.

Compared with 2014, General university funds recorded the largest dollar increase, up $610 million (11%) in 2016.

Two sources of funds experienced decreases from 2014. Australian competitive grants register decreased by $159 million (9%), whilst Other commonwealth government funding decreased by $4 million (0.3%).

Location

In 2016, higher education institutions based in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland made up just over three quarters (76%) of HERD (at $3,226 million, $3,142 million and $1,918 million, respectively). Refer to Explanatory Notes for further information regarding the location of R&D expenditure.

Compared with 2014, Victoria recorded the largest dollar increase in HERD, up $322 million (11%). South Australia was the only location to experience a decrease, down $17 million (2%).

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HERD and gross state product (GSP)

In 2016, the Australian Capital Territory had the largest decrease in HERD as a proportion of GSP (0.10%).

HERD, by location of expenditure - proportion of GSP(a)

 NSWVic.QldSAWATas.NTACT
 %%%%%%%%
2014
0.61
0.76
0.56
0.73
0.37
0.63
0.28
1.76
2016
0.56
0.77
0.59
0.68
0.40
0.66
0.28
1.66
a. See Methodology for details.
 

Type of activity

In 2016, 49% of HERD ($5,280 million) was directed towards Applied research, 23% ($2,478 million) to Pure basic research and 19% ($2,019 million) to Strategic basic research. The remaining 10% ($1,101 million) was directed towards Experimental development. The distribution of HERD across type of activity was largely unchanged from 2014.

Compared with 2014, Applied research had the largest dollar increase, up $339 million (7%).

Fields of Research (FOR)

Almost a third of HERD was devoted to the Medical and Health Sciences FOR ($3,087 million or 28%) in 2016. In total, the fields of Medical and Health Sciences, Engineering, Biological Sciences and Studies in Human Society made up just over half (53%) of total HERD (at $3,087 million, $1,115 million, $1,021 million and $497 million, respectively). These top four FOR, in terms of expenditure, remained consistent between 2014 and 2016.

Socio-economic Objective (SEO)

In 2016, a third of the HERD was directed to the SEO of Health ($3,705 million or 34%). The next most prevalent SEO was Expanding Knowledge ($1,638 million or 15%) which was less than half the expenditure of Health. The distribution of HERD across SEO remained consistent between 2014 and 2016.

Health had the largest dollar increase between 2014 and 2016, up $339 million (10%). This was followed by Expanding Knowledge, up $75 million (5%) from 2014.

Higher education human resources devoted to R&D

Type of resource

Australian higher education institutions devoted a total of 79,008 person years of effort (PYE) to R&D in 2016. This was an increase of 969 PYE (1%) from 2014. More than half of the human resources devoted to R&D in 2016 were Postgraduate students (57%) with the remainder being Academic staff (30%) and Other staff supporting R&D (12%). New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland accounted for three quarters (76%) of total human resources devoted to R&D in 2016.

Across all states, the profile of Higher Education Human resources devoted to R&D shows a similar pattern, with Postgraduate students representing the largest proportion of PYE, followed by Academic staff then Other staff.

Higher education human resources devoted to R&D, summary statistics: values and proportions

 HUMAN RESOURCES DEVOTED TO R&DPROPORTIONS OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVOTED TO R&D
  2014201620142016
  PYEPYE%%
Type of resources    
 Academic staff
23 710
24 075
30.4
30.5
 Other staff9 5109 72012.212.3
 Postgraduate students44 81945 21257.457.2
Total human resources devoted to R&D(a)
78 038
79 008
100.0
100.0
a. Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
 

Data downloads

Higher education resources devoted to R&D, summary statistics, 2016

Higher education expenditure on R&D, by location - by type of expenditure, 2016

Higher education expenditure on R&D, by location - by source of funds, 2016

Higher education expenditure on R&D, by location - by type of activity, 2016

Higher education expenditure on R&D, by location - by fields of research, 2016

Higher education expenditure on R&D, by location - by socio-economic objective, 2016

Higher education human resources devoted to R&D, by location - by type of resource, 2016