8112.0 - Research and Experimental Development, All Sector Summary, Australia, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/10/2006   
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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.

Capital expenditure

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

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 and other inputs; rent, leasing and hiring expenses; repair and maintenance expenses; payments to outside organisations for use of specialised testing facilities or for analytical work, engineering or other specialised services in support of R&D projects carried out by the organisation; commission and consultant expenses for research projects carried out by the organisation (except direct labour costs); software for own account produced as part of R&D; 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.

Person years of effort

One person year of effort is equal to a full time employee whose time is wholly devoted to R&D for a whole year.

Pure basic research

Experimental and theoretical work undertaken to acquire new knowledge without looking for long-term benefits other than the advancement of knowledge.

R&D activity

The 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 RFCD classification is primarily structured around disciplines or activities. In short, it describes the nature of the research 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.

Socio-economic objective

The broad socio-economic areas of expected benefit rather than the immediate objectives of the researcher. The SEO classification defines the main areas of Australian economic and social activity to which the results of research programs are applied. In short, it describes the purpose of the research.

Strategic basic research

Experimental and theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge 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.


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.