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This release presents statistics on Research and Experimental Development (R&D) undertaken by Australian higher education institutions for the calendar year ended 31 December 2012.
CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE
Detailed tables for fields of research and socio-economic objective previously available in the publication, as well as time series data, are available in spreadsheet format (data cubes); see the Downloads page for this issue.
Commencing with this issue, the pdf version of the Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, is no longer available.
Users should refer to the Explanatory and Technical Notes for further contextual information when interpreting the statistics.
For future releases of the Survey of Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations, fields of research and socio-economic objective data based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) will be collected at the division level (2 digit) rather than the group level (4 digit). Production of outputs at the 4 digit level, previously available upon request, will no longer be possible.
When interpreting the results in this release it is important to take into account factors that may affect the reliability of estimates. These factors are described in the Non-Sampling Error section of the Technical Note.
Users are also advised to exercise caution if comparing estimates over time. Factors impacting comparability of estimates include:
RELEASE OF GROSS EXPENDITURE ON RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTAL DEVELOPMENT (GERD)
Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) was previously released biennially as part of Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia (cat. no. 8112.0), which was ceased following the 2008-09 issue. Following this, an estimate of GERD for 2010-11 was made available as an appendix to Research and Experimental Development, Businesses 2010-11 (cat no. 8104.0). An estimate of GERD for 2011-12 has been made available as part of this publication release. Please refer to the Appendix- Gross Expenditure on R&D.
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 2012 calendar year, higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) was $9,610 million. This represented an increase of $1,449 million (18%) from $8,161 million in 2010.
Human resources devoted to R&D by Australian higher education institutions totalled 74,669 person years of effort (PYE) in 2012. This was an increase of 5,277 PYE, up 8% from 69,392 PYE in 2010.
In 2012, HERD showed an increase of 18% in current price terms over 2010, and 8% in chain volume terms.
Subsequent expenditure figures and supporting commentary relate to current price terms.
HERD and Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
HERD as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 0.58% in 2010 to 0.63% in 2012.
TYPE OF EXPENDITURE
In 2012, HERD was comprised of $8,579 million (89%) in Current expenditure and $1,031 million (11%) in Capital expenditure.
Compared with 2010, Current expenditure had the largest dollar increase, up $1,226 million (17%), whilst Capital expenditure increased by $223 million (28%).
The largest component of HERD in 2012 was Other current expenditure, which totalled $4,079 million (43% of HERD). This was followed by Labour costs, which totalled $3,890 million (41% of HERD). These two components also recorded the largest dollar increases between 2010 and 2012, with Other current expenditure increasing by $566 million (16%) and Labour costs increasing by $575 million (17%).
SOURCE OF FUNDS
The two main sources of funds for HERD in 2012 were General university funds ($5,340 million or 56% of HERD) and Australian competitive research grants ($1,625 million or 17% of HERD). These were also the major sources of funds in 2010.
Compared with 2010, General university funds recorded the largest dollar increase, up $863 million (19%).
Two sources of funds experienced decreases from 2010. Donations, bequests and foundations declined by $16 million (12%), whilst Non-commonwealth Australian competitive research grants declined by $8 million (12%).
In 2012, higher education institutions based in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland in combination contributed three quarters (75%) of HERD (at $2,909 million, $2,782 million and $1,557 million, respectively). Refer to Explanatory Note 10 for further information regarding the location of R&D expenditure.
Compared with 2010, Victoria recorded the largest dollar increase in HERD, up $568 million (26%). The Australian Capital Territory was the only location to experience a decrease, down $33 million (5%).
HERD and Gross State Product (GSP)
Tasmania had the largest increase in HERD as a proportion of Gross State Product (GSP) from 2010. The Australian Capital Territory and Queensland experienced decreases in their HERD/GSP ratios.
TYPE OF ACTIVITY
In 2012, 45% of HERD ($4,345 million) was directed towards Applied research, 24% ($2,312 million) to Pure basic research and 22% ($2,153 million) to Strategic basic research. The remaining 8% ($800 million) was directed towards Experimental development. The distribution of HERD across type of activity was largely unchanged from 2010.
Compared with 2010, Applied research had the largest dollar increase, up $535 million (14%).
The graph below shows the distribution of HERD across types of activity for the entire time series for HERD, a period of 20 years. Beginning in 1992, Pure basic research accounted for the largest proportion of activity at 40%, followed by Applied research at 30%. As the years progressed, the proportion of Pure basic research decreased, while Applied research increased, with Applied research surpassing Pure basic research in 1996. In contrast, Strategic basic research and Experimental development have remained relatively stable over the 20 year period.
Footnote(s): (a) Some 2010 data have been revised. See the Revisions section of the Technical Note for details.
FIELDS OF RESEARCH (FOR)
Expenditure devoted to the Medical and health sciences FOR ($2,823 million) represented 29% of HERD in 2012, and was almost triple the value of the next highest FOR, Engineering ($955 million). In total, 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 2010 and 2012.
SOCIO-ECONOMIC OBJECTIVE (SEO)
In 2012, over a third (34% or $3,271 million) of HERD was directed to the SEO of Health. The next most prevalent SEO was Expanding knowledge ($1,370 million or 14%), which was less than half the expenditure of Health. The distribution of HERD across SEOs in 2012 remained consistent with 2010.
Health had the largest dollar increase between 2010 and 2012, up $639 million (24%). This was followed by Environment, up $194 million (27%) from 2010.
TYPE OF RESOURCE
Australian higher education institutions devoted a total of 74,669 person years of effort (PYE) to R&D in 2012. This was an increase of 5,277 PYE (8%) from 2010. Most of the human resources devoted to R&D in 2012 were Postgraduate students (57%) and Academic staff (31%), with the remainder being Other staff supporting R&D (12%). New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland accounted for three quarters (75%) of total human resources devoted to R&D in 2012.
The PYE for Postgraduate students recorded the largest increase between 2010 and 2012, increasing by 2,905 PYE (7%).
Footnote(s): Some 2010 data have been revised. See the Revisions section of the Technical Note for details.
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