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8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update (Newsletter), Sep 2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/09/2000   
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3. RESEARCH & EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (R&D) STATISTICS

The processing of the R&D surveys for the year 1998-99 has been completed and results have been released. The surveys covered businesses, higher education institutions, government organisations and private non-profit organisations. Details of R&D expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D classified by type of expenditure, location of expenditure, source of funds, type of employee, type of activity, field of research and socioeconomic objective were collected. Information was also collected for payments and receipts for technical know-how.

The publication 8111.0
Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia 1998 was released on 26 April 2000.

Key findings included:

  • Higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) in Australia in 1998 was estimated to be $2,600m at current prices; an increase of 13% over 1996. In volume terms, R&D expenditure increased by 7% compared with 1996.
  • HERD as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has remained steady. It was 0.43% in 1996 and 0.44% in 1998. Australia's HERD/GDP ratio compares favourably with those available for other OECD countries, being higher than those for Germany, the United States of America, France and Canada.
  • Medical and health sciences ($591m or 23%), Social sciences ($505m or 19%), Biological sciences ($314m or 12%) and Humanities ($197m or 8%) were the main fields of research.
The publication 8104.0 Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia 1998-99 was released on 3 July 2000.

Key findings included:
  • Business expenditure on R&D (BERD) in Australia fell for the third year in a row. In 1998-99, BERD was estimated to be $3,992m at current prices, a decrease of 5% on 1997-98, and 9% lower than the record level of 1995-96. In volume terms, BERD also continued to fall, with 1998-99 down 7% on 1997-98.
  • BERD as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined from a high of 0.86% in 1995-96 to 0.67% in 1998-99. Australia's BERD/GDP ratio is relatively low when compared with those available for other OECD countries, being lower than those for Japan, the United States of America, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Canada.
  • The Mining industry recorded a 10% decrease in R&D expenditure, while the Manufacturing industry also fell by 7%. Other industries (in total) remained the same.
  • The leading States in terms of R&D expenditure were Victoria with $1,435m and New South Wales with $1,329m, accounting for 36% and 33% of total R&D expenditure respectively. Queensland recorded $440m (11%), while Western Australia with $433m (11%) had the next highest R&D expenditure.
  • Computer software ($535m or 13%), Communication technologies ($438m or 11%), Mining and mineral processing ($424m or 11%), Manufacturing and process technologies and engineering ($417m or 10%) and Mechanical and industrial engineering ($411m or 10%) were the main fields of research.
The publication 8109.0 Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia 1998-99 was released on 24 July 2000.

Key findings included:
  • Expenditure on R&D carried out by Government organisations (GOVERD) in Australia in 1998-99 was estimated to be $2,072m at current prices. This represented a marginal decrease over the two years since 1996-97. In volume terms, R&D expenditure fell by 4% compared with 1996-97.
  • GOVERD represented 0.35% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), down from 0.39% in 1996-97. Although the GOVERD/GDP ratio fell, Australia still has a high ratio when compared with those available for other OECD countries, being higher than those for Germany, Denmark, Canada and the United States of America.
  • Expenditure on R&D carried out by Private non-profit organisations in Australia in 1998-99 was estimated to be $184m at current prices. This represented an increase of 6% compared with 1996-97. In volume terms, R&D expenditure increased by 1% compared with 1996-97.
  • Most expenditure on RD by Government organisations was directed towards Economic development ($1,139m or 55%).
  • The $1,193m R&D expenditure by Commonwealth government organisations was mainly located in Victoria (26%), New South Wales (20%), the Australian Capital Territory (16%) and South Australia (15%). Of the $879m State government R&D, most was carried out in New South Wales (28%), Queensland (26%) and Victoria (18%).
  • Private non-profit organisations continued to mainly direct their R&D towards Health ($156m or 85%).
The publication 8112.0 Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia 1998-99 was released on 28 August 2000. The publication summarises the data appearing in the three previous publications and presents a picture of total R&D activity in Australia. It also includes a Feature Article on Health R&D in Australia.

Key findings included:
  • Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) in Australia levelled off in 1998-99 after steadily increasing in the years up to 1996-97. In current prices, GERD was estimated to be $8,850m, only marginally higher than in 1996-97. In volume terms, R&D expenditure fell by 4% compared with 1996-97.
  • GERD represented 1.49% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), down from 1.65% in 1996-97. Australia's GERD/GDP ratio is low compared with those available for other OECD countries, being well below those for Japan, the United States of America, Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom.

A survey of R&D undertaken by businesses in 1999-2000 is currently underway, with forms dispatched in August 2000. This survey is the first to use the classifications contained in the 1998 edition of the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC). The Socioeconomic objective (SEO) classification has been revised and the Research fields, courses and disciplines (RFCD) classification has replaced the Field of research (FOR) classification.

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