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Refer to the Revisions and Comparability of Estimates Over Time sections of the Technical Note for further details.
The ABS acknowledges the continued effort and contribution of higher education institutions in providing data for the compilation of statistics presented in this and previous issues.
For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Amanda Baile on Perth (08) 9360 5357.
HIGHER EDUCATION RESOURCES DEVOTED TO RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (R&D)
During the 2010 calendar year, higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) was $8,203 million. Over the same period, human resources devoted to R&D by Australian higher education institutions represented 69,199 person years of effort (PYE).
In 2010, HERD showed an increase of 20% in current price terms over 2008, and 10% in chain volume terms. This compares to average increases of 24% and 15% respectively, since the 2000 reference period.
HERD and Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
HERD as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 0.55% in 2008 to 0.59% in 2010.
TYPE OF EXPENDITURE
In 2010, HERD was comprised of $7,395 million in Current expenditure and $808 million in Capital expenditure. The largest component of HERD in 2010 was Other current expenditure, which totalled $3,543 million (43% of HERD).
SOURCE OF FUNDS
The two main sources of funds for HERD in 2010 were General university funds ($4,637 million or 56% of HERD) and Australian competitive research grants ($1,360 million or 17% of HERD). These were also the major sources of funds in 2008.
General university funds was the only source of funds with a change in its relative share of HERD of more than two percentage points; up from 53% of HERD in 2008.
In 2010, higher education institutions based in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in combination contributed almost three quarters (74%) of HERD (at $2,389 million, $2,231 million and $1,480 million, respectively). Refer to Explanatory Note 9 for further information regarding the location of R&D.
Compared to 2008, Queensland recorded the largest growth in HERD in absolute terms (up $419 million).
HERD and Gross State Product (GSP)
The Australian Capital Territory had the largest increase in HERD as a proportion of Gross State Product (GSP) from 2008. South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania experienced decreases in their HERD/GSP ratios.
TYPE OF ACTIVITY
In the 2010 calendar year, 47% of HERD ($3,836 million) was directed towards Applied research, 25% ($2,052 million) to Pure basic research and 20% ($1,653 million) to Strategic basic research. The remaining 8% ($662 million) was directed towards Experimental development. The distribution of HERD across type of activity was largely unchanged from 2008. Applied research was the only activity to show an increase in the proportion of HERD.
FIELDS OF RESEARCH (FOR)
Expenditure devoted to the Medical and health sciences FOR ($2,351 million) represented 29% of HERD in 2010, and was almost triple the value of the next highest FOR, Engineering ($772 million). In combination, the fields of Medical and health sciences, Engineering, Biological sciences and Studies in human society made up just over half (52%) of total HERD. The top four fields of research, in terms of expenditure, remained the same in 2008 and 2010.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC OBJECTIVE (SEO)
In 2010, nearly a third (32% or $2,658 million) of HERD was directed to the SEO of Health. At $1,308m, the next most prevalent SEO was Expanding knowledge, with approximately half the expenditure of Health. The distribution of HERD across SEOs remained largely unchanged in 2010.
TYPE OF RESOURCE
Australian higher education institutions devoted a total of 69,199 person years of effort (PYE) to R&D in 2010. This was an increase of 7,426 PYE or 12% from 2008. Most of the human resources devoted to R&D in 2010 were Postgraduate students (57%) and Academic staff (31%), with the remainder being Other staff supporting R&D (12%).
As with HERD, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland accounted for three quarters (75%) of total human resources devoted to R&D in 2010.
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