8104.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2002-03  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/09/2004   
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Applied research

Original work undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge with a specific application in view. It is undertaken either to determine possible uses for the findings of basic research or to determine new methods or ways of achieving some specific and predetermined objectives.

Basic research

Experimental and theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge without a specific application in view. It consists of pure basic research and strategic basic research. Pure basic research is carried out without looking for long-term benefits other than the advancement of knowledge. Strategic basic research is directed into specified broad areas in the expectation of useful discoveries. It provides the broad base of knowledge for the solution of recognised practical problems.

Capital expenditure

Expenditure on the acquisition of fixed tangible assets such as land, buildings, vehicles, plant, machinery and equipment attributable to R&D activity.

Chain volume measures

Annually reweighted chain Laspeyres indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (currently 2002-03). 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).

Current expenditure

Expenditure on direct labour costs, materials, fuels, rent and hiring, repairs and maintenance, data processing etc. and the proportion of expenditure on general services and overheads which is attributable to R&D activity.

Experimental development

Systematic work, using existing knowledge gained from research or practical experience, for the purpose of creating new or improved products/processes.

Human resources devoted to R&D

The effort of researchers, technicians and other staff directly involved with R&D activity. Overhead staff (e.g. administrative and general service employees such as personnel officers, janitors, etc.) whose work indirectly supports R&D, are excluded.

Labour costs

Wages and salaries, overtime allowances, penalty rates, leave loadings, bonuses, commission payments, all paid leave, employer contributions to superannuation and pension schemes, payroll tax, fringe benefits tax, payments to contract staff on the payroll, severance, termination and redundancy payments and workers' compensation insurance.

Other current expenditure

Expenditure on materials, fuels, rent and hiring, repairs and maintenance, data processing etc. and the proportion of expenditure on general services and overheads which is attributable to R&D activity.

Other supporting staff

Skilled and unskilled craftpersons, secretarial and clerical staff directly associated with R&D activity.

R&D activity

In the business context is systematic investigation or experimentation involving innovation or technical risk, the outcome of which is new knowledge, with or without a specific practical application, or new or improved products, processes, materials, devices or services. R&D activity extends to modifications to existing products/processes. R&D activity ceases and pre-production begins when work is no longer experimental.

Research field

Field in which the R&D activity was performed. The Research fields, courses and disciplines classification is primarily structured around disciplines or activities. it describes what research is being performed.


Those involved with the conception and/or development of new products/processes (e.g. executives and directors involved in the planning or management of scientific and technical aspects of R&D projects, and software developers/programmers). They exclude executives and directors concerned primarily with budgets and human resources rather than project content.

Socioeconomic objective

The area of expected national benefit rather than the immediate objectives of the researcher. The Socioeconomic objective classification defines the main areas of Australian economic and social activity to which the results of research programs are applied. It describes the purpose of the research (i.e. why the research is being performed).


Those performing technical tasks in support of R&D activity, normally under the direction and supervision of a researcher. These tasks include preparation of experiments, taking records, preparation of charts and graphs and coding computer programs.

Type of R&D activity

Comprises basic research, applied research and experimental development.