8109.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/07/2010   
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1 This release presents statistics compiled from data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from Australian government and private non-profit (PNP) organisations in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D). For the government and PNP sectors, the survey is conducted biennially, via mail questionnaire, and based on a single financial year.

2 The reference period for statistics presented in this issue is the financial year ended 30 June 2009. The 2008-09 Survey of R&D, Government and Private non-profit organisations, achieved a response rate of 99.8%.


3 R&D as collected by the ABS is defined in accordance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standard as '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'. Although outside the economic boundary of R&D as defined by the OECD, R&D performed overseas by Australian organisations is included in these data.

4 For a more comprehensive interpretation of the definition of R&D activity, see the OECD publication The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development - Frascati Manual 2002 or refer to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008 (cat. no. 1297.0).


5 The source of the frame for the Survey of R&D, Government and Private non-profit organisations is the ABS Business Register (ABSBR). The ABSBR records information about statistical units and is used to create the frames for most ABS economic collections.

Statistical units defined on the ABSBR

6 Statistical units are those entities from which statistics are collected, or about which statistics are compiled. In ABS economic statistics, the statistical unit is generally the business (or in the case of this survey, the government or PNP organisation).

7 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses/organisations, and the structural relationships between related organisations. Within large, complex and diverse businesses/organisations, the units model is also used to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

8 The units model allocates businesses/organisations to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses/organisations are in what is called the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Maintained Population (ATOMP), while the remaining businesses/organisations are in the ABS Maintained Population (ABSMP). Together these two sub-populations make up the ABSBR population.

9 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN) and are then included on the whole-of-government register of businesses, the Australian Business Register (ABR), which is maintained by the ATO. Most of these businesses/organisations have simple structures; therefore, the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. The businesses/organisations with simple structures constitute the ATOMP, and the ABN unit is used as the statistical unit for ABS economic collections.

10 For the population of businesses/organisations where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with each business/organisation. These businesses/organisations constitute the ABSMP. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses/organisations. For businesses/organisations in the ABSMP, statistical units comprise the Enterprise Group, the Enterprise and the Type of Activity Unit (TAU). The range of activities across the Enterprise Group can be very diverse. The TAU represents a grouping of one or more business/organisation entities within the Enterprise that cover all of the operations within an industry subdivision and for which a basic set of financial production and employment data can be reported.

11 Statistical units for the Survey of R&D, Government and Private non-profit organisations consist of ABNs for the ATOMP and TAUs from the ABSMP.

12 The current economic statistics units model was introduced into the ABS in mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System (TNTS). For more information please refer to the Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics - Arising from the New Tax System, (cat. no. 1372.0).


13 The Survey of R&D, Government and Private non-profit organisations, aims to be a complete enumeration of government and PNP organisations with intramural expenditure on R&D during the reference period.

14 Intramural expenditure is defined as expenditure for R&D performed by the statistical unit regardless of the source of funds. Expenditures made outside the statistical unit but in support of intramural R&D are included. For further information, refer to the OECD Frascati Manual 2002.

15 The ABS identifies organisations likely to have had intramural R&D expenditure in the reference period through:

  • reported expenditure on R&D in the previous survey; and
  • indicated expenditure on R&D via a coverage questionnaire.

16 From the 2004-05 cycle of the ABS Survey of R&D, the scope for the government and PNP sectors has been based on the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA); more specifically, Sector 3 (General Government) and Sector 5 (Not-for-profit Institutions Serving Households).

17 Some information about SISCA Sector 3 and Sector 5 is provided below. For further details about the ABS sector classifications, refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) 2008 (cat. no. 1218.0).

General Government sector

18 The General Government sector comprises all government units of the Australian Government, each state and territory government, and all local government authorities, and all resident non-market Not-for-profit Institutions (NPIs) that are controlled and mainly financed by those governments. It includes courts, government departments, the Governor General's office, and public universities.

19 Government entities mainly engaged in market production or financial activities are not included in the General Government sector.

NPIs Serving Households sector

20 The NPIs Serving Households sector consists of resident non-market operators providing goods and services to households free or at prices that are not economically significant. It includes NPIs that are mainly financed from household member subscriptions and produce benefits primarily for the household members and NPIs created for philanthropic purposes which are financed mainly from donations or government grants.

21 NPIs engaged in market production are not included in the NPIs Serving Households sector.

Survey exclusions

22 While the government and PNP sectors for the Survey of R&D are based on SISCA, as per the Frascati Manual guidelines, the survey excludes:
  • Higher education institutions, e.g. universities (which are included in the ABS Survey of R&D, Higher education organisations).

23 Local government organisations are also excluded from the survey, as they are considered by the ABS to have low R&D expenditure.


24 Field of research (FOR), Socio-economic objective (SEO) and Type of activity statistics presented in this release have been collected and compiled based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008 (cat. no. 1297.0). Earlier issues of this release used the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC).

25 Due to differences between the two classifications, implementation of the ANZSRC represents a break in series. Users should familiarise themselves with the differences if attempting to compare data across reference periods, particularly FOR and SEO estimates.

26 The ABS has not compiled previous cycle estimates on an ANZSRC basis or 2008-09 estimates on an ASRC basis. Previous cycle data compiled on an ASRC basis (including revised data for 2006-07) are available in the data cubes accompanying this release.


27 Location of expenditure relates to the region(s) in which the organisation reported having performed R&D, during the reference period. This may not be the head office location of the organisation.


28 The most recent GDP and GSP values available were used to calculate the R&D expenditure/GDP and R&D expenditure/GSP ratios presented in this issue. These values are referenced in the tables below.

Gross Domestic Product, current prices


622 695
708 889
804 361
925 864
1 091 327
1 256 118

Source: Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Mar 2010 (cat. no. 5206.0), released 2 June 2010

Gross State Product, current prices


352 162
261 200
209 173
71 725
138 688
21 249
14 339
22 791
402 334
291 637
243 901
78 986
169 950
23 176
17 168
25 969

Source: Australian National Accounts, State Accounts, 2008-09 (cat. no. 5220.0). Reissue released 22 December 2009

29 GDP is estimated by the ABS according to the recently updated international standards System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) and is not directly comparable to GDP for countries where these standards have not been applied.


30 The chain volume measures appearing in this release are annually reweighted chain Laspeyres indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (currently 2008-09). 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: Australian National Accounts, Introduction of Chain Volume and Price Indexes (cat. no. 5248.0).

31 Deflators used to calculate the chain volume measure of expenditure on R&D have been revised to: better capture changes in the unit value of labour used in the production of R&D services; and to increase and refine the number of products included in the deflators. This is the first issue of this release to present chain volume estimates calculated using the revised deflators.


32 Upcoming ABS releases of R&D statistics include:
      Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8104.0), to be released 23 September 2010
      Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8112.0), to be released 11 October 2010


33 Users may also wish to refer to the following ABS releases:
34 Relevant OECD publications include:
      Main Science and Technology Indicators 2009/2
      The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Experimental Development - Frascati Manual 2002


35 Other information including data cubes in spreadsheet format, relating to R&D and innovation can be found on the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>. See the Innovation, Science and Technology theme page under Topics @ a Glance/Industry.


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