8104.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2001-02  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/08/2003   
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1 This publication presents statistics on expenditure and human resources devoted to R&D carried out in Australia by the Business sector during 2001-02.

2 For details of R&D statistics available for the General government, Private non-profit and Higher education sectors see paragraph 23.


3 The 2001-02 data presented in this publication have been compiled from data collected from businesses in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development in respect of the year ended June 2002. This survey was based on a complete enumeration of businesses identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as likely R&D performers (businesses mainly engaged in Agriculture, forestry and fishing were excluded; see paragraph 13). The survey was conducted by mailed questionnaires and an 85% response was obtained. For businesses that did not respond to the current survey and had reported R&D activity in the previous survey, data were imputed based on the expected expenditures for 2001-02 reported previously. Where R&D activity had not been previously reported, the non-respondents were deemed to be non-R&D performers for the current year.

4 The GDP figures used to derive BERD/GDP ratios are current at the time of manuscript finalisation (Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, March quarter 2003 (cat. no. 5206.0)) and, at current prices, are as follows: $502,828m (1995-96); $529,886m (1996-97); $561,229m (1997-98); $591,917m (1998-99); $628,621m (1999-2000); $669,307m (2000-01) and $711,943m (2001-02). The available BERD/GDP ratios for other OECD countries are current at the time of manuscript finalisation and are sourced from Main Science and Technology Indicators, 2003/1, OECD, Paris, 2003.

5 The GSP figures used to derive R&D expenditure to GSP ratios are current at the time of manuscript finalisation (Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2001-02 (cat. no. 5220.0)) and, at current prices, are as follows: New South Wales $249,411m; Victoria $183,426m; Queensland $120,009m; South Australia $47,002m; Western Australia $77,738m and Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory combined $35,394m.


6 The statistical unit used to represent businesses, and for which statistics are reported, is the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit, in most cases. The ABN unit is the business unit which has registered for an ABN, and thus appears on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) administered Australian Business Register. This unit is suitable for ABS statistical needs when the business is simple in structure. For more significant and diverse businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical needs, the statistical unit used is the Type of Activity Unit (TAU). A TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. Further details about the ABS economic statistical units used in this survey, and in other ABS economic surveys (both sample surveys and censuses), can be found in Chapter 2 of the Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) 2002 (cat. no. 1218.0).


7 R&D is defined in accordance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standard as comprising 'creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications'.

8 For a more comprehensive interpretation of the definition of R&D activity, contact the ABS or refer to the OECD publication The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities ('Frascati Manual' 2002), OECD, Paris 2003.


9 The scope of this survey is all businesses within the Business sector of Australia which have undertaken R&D.

10 The Business sector includes all businesses whose primary activity is the production of goods or services for sale to the general public at a price intended to cover at least the costs of production, and the private non-profit institutions mainly serving them.

11 The vast majority of businesses in this sector are private businesses. The remainder are public businesses mainly engaged in trading or financial activities.


12 The 2001-02 R&D survey comprised a complete enumeration of businesses identified by the ABS as likely to have carried out R&D activity.

13 The Business sector for the R&D survey excludes businesses mainly engaged in Agriculture, forestry and fishing (i.e. industries in Division A of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0)), partly because of collection difficulties and partly because such businesses are believed to have very low R&D activity (agricultural R&D activity is generally carried out by specialised research institutes not included in ANZSIC Division A).

14 Within the scope of the survey, businesses were included in the collection if they satisfied any of the following criteria:

  • businesses which, in previous R&D surveys, reported R&D activity
  • businesses applying for the R&D Tax Concession and/or grants for Industry R&D
  • businesses identified from reports in newspapers, industrial journals, research compendia etc. as likely to have R&D activity
  • businesses which indicated on an exploratory questionnaire that R&D activity had been undertaken.

15 The ABS continues to investigate enhancement of the above criteria, or the introduction of additional criteria, with the aim of further improving the coverage of the R&D survey.


16 The statistics in this publication are classified to industry in accordance with the 1993 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

17 Each ABN unit/TAU is classified by the ABS to the industry in which it mainly operates. In cases where an enterprise group sets up a dedicated research unit, that unit is classified to the predominant industry of the group rather than to ANZSIC 7810 Scientific research, in accordance with standards laid down in the Frascati Manual.


18 Statistics of business R&D classified by Socio-economic objective (purpose of the research) and Research fields, courses and disciplines (fields in which the research was undertaken) have been collected and presented in this publication. Data were subjectively allocated by data providers at the time of reporting, using OECD/ABS definitions. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data and applies consistent processing methodologies. Analysts using these data should bear the original subjectivity in mind.

19 For more information on these classifications see the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC), 1998 (cat.no.1297.0).


20 The chain volume measures appearing in this publication are annually reweighted chain Laspeyres indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (currently 2000-01). They can be thought of as current price values re-expressed in (i.e. based on) the prices of the previous year and linked together to form continuous time series. They are formed in a multi-stage process of which the major steps are described in Section 15 of the Information Paper: Introduction of Chain Volume Measures in the Australian National Accounts (cat. no. 5248.0).


21 The statistics in this publication should be used with caution for the following reasons:
  • Many data providers made estimates because their accounts did not separately record data on R&D activity.
  • The OECD standard definition of R&D used in this survey differs in some respects from what data providers may regard as R&D activity. This is because the definitions used within the grants for industry R&D schemes (for the allocation of grants), and the R&D Tax Concession scheme (for tax deductibility for specific R&D activities) are slightly different from the international standard.
  • Some businesses had difficulties describing their R&D programs in terms of socio-economic objectives and research fields. The data presented under these classifications therefore reflect a degree of subjectivity.


22 Limited additional detailed R&D statistics are available at a charge from the ABS.


23 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:
Australian Bureau of Statistics 1998, Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC), 1998 cat. no. 1297.0, ABS, Canberra
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002, Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia, 2000-01 cat. no. 8112.0, ABS, Canberra
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002, Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-profit Organisations, Australia, 2000-01 cat. no. 8109.0, ABS, Canberra
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2002, Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, Australia, 2000 cat. no. 8111.0, ABS, Canberra
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2003, Main Science and Technology Indicators 2003/1, OECD, Paris
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2003, The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities ('Frascati Manual' 2002), OECD, Paris

24 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products, Australia (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.


25 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.