1297.0 - Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/03/2008   
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The ANZSRC SEO classification allows R&D activity in Australia and New Zealand to be categorised according to the intended purpose or outcome of the research, rather than the processes or techniques used in order to achieve this objective.

The purpose categories include processes, products, health, education and other social and environmental aspects in Australia and New Zealand that R&D activity aims to improve.


The SEO is a hierarchical classification with four levels, namely Sector (letter), Divisions (2 digits), Groups (4 digits) and Objectives (6 digits).

While the Sector forms part of the hierarchical structure of the SEO, it is used only for grouping divisions for publication of R&D data, not for data collection. Sectors are identified by a letter, and the lower levels of the classification are identified by unique numbers.

Each Division is based on a broad research objective. Groups within each Division are those which are aligned towards the same objective as the Division. Each Group is a collection of related research Objectives. Groups and research objectives are categorised to the Divisions with which they are most closely aligned.

Due to their unique nature some divisions have only one group within them. The Defence and Expanding Knowledge divisions each contain only one group. However, these divisions still follow hierarchical principles and contain a number of objectives.

The hierarchical structure of the SEO is illustrated below:

SectorB: Economic Development
Division86 Manufacturing
Group8607 Agricultural Chemicals
Objective860702 Chemical Fertilisers

Expanding Knowledge

Sector E Expanding Knowledge is for the categorisation of R&D which does not have an identifiable socio-economic objective. This is usually the case for pure basic research or strategic basic research, as defined in the Type of Activity classification. Applied research and experimental development, by definition, have an identified socio-economic objective and therefore should not be categorised in this sector.


The conceptual framework adopted for the development of the SEO uses R&D activities according to the objective or outcome of the research undertaken, rather than the processes and techniques used in the R&D.

The development started with the ASRC 1998, and identified research categories that reported very little funding in the past three ABS R&D surveys were either merged with other categories or deleted, but only in consultation with experts in the respective areas. Alternatively, Divisions or Groups which are highly active, as judged by experts and evidenced in ABS surveys, and able to be split further have been disaggregated into new Groups and Objectives allowing for greater detail of data to be collected. Additionally, research objectives identified by experts as emerging and significant have been added.

In parallel, research categories significant in New Zealand assembled by Statistics NZ from consultations with their stakeholders have been incorporated.


Consistent use of the following general procedures should ensure consistent and successful use of the classification among users.

A research project or research program should first be considered in its broadest sense and in terms of the dominant beneficiary of the research output at the conclusion of the research project or research program. A research project or research program is to be allocated to a SEO objective in a hierarchical manner. This is achieved by:
  • first determining the most relevant sector in which the largest component of the research project or research program is being performed; then
  • determining the most relevant division within that sector; then
  • determining the most relevant group within that division; and then
  • determining the most relevant objective within that group.

Many R&D projects will be a homogeneous body of work directed towards a specific objective. These are more straightforward to categorise. However, if the project or program is sufficiently large or complex (in terms of research areas) then multiple fields should be selected and attributed with a proportion of resources relative to the project's or program's total R&D expenditure. If the disaggregation is difficult, consideration of relative importance may indicate a primary objective only (whether a specific or more general subject focus).

Where a defined objective cannot be identified within a group for a research project or research program, the 'not elsewhere classified' category at the objective level is to be used.


Sector A: Defence
      81 Defence

Sector B: Economic Development
      82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
      83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
      84 Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources)
      85 Energy
      86 Manufacturing
      87 Construction
      88 Transport
      89 Information and Communication Services
      90 Commercial Services and Tourism
      91 Economic Framework

Sector C: Society
      92 Health
      93 Education and Training
      94 Law, Politics and Community Services
      95 Cultural Understanding

Sector D: Environment
      96 Environment

Sector E: Expanding Knowledge
      97 Expanding Knowledge

At times it can be useful to view groupings of research objectives from alternative perspectives, which do not align with the SEO's division structure.


Besides the primary structure, alternative groupings are provided to aid the understanding of research from different cultural perspectives which are unique to Australia and New Zealand.

The following alternative groupings of selected SEO objectives are provided here:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Outcomes
  • Maori Outcomes
  • Pacific Peoples Outcomes

Definition of Pacific Peoples

Note: "Pacific peoples" are those people who identify with or feel they belong to one or more Pacific ethnicities. The term applies to a person who has emigrated from one of the lesser islands of the Pacific to Australia or New Zealand, or one of their descendants born in Australia or New Zealand. While the majority of these people originate from Polynesia, others come from Micronesia and Melanesia. This definition excludes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and New Zealand Maori.

      920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health
      920302 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health Status and Outcomes
      920303 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health System Performance (incl. Effectiveness of Interventions)
      939901 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education
      940102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare
      950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage

      920304 Maori Health - Determinants of Health
      920305 Maori Health - Health Status and Outcomes
      920306 Maori Health - Health System Performance (incl. Effectiveness of Interventions)
      939905 Maori Education
      940114 Maori Development and Welfare
      950301 Ahuatanga Maori (Maori Tradition)
      950308 Matauranga Maori (Maori Knowledge)
      950309 Taonga (Maori Artefacts)
      950310 Tikanga Maori (Maori Customary Practices)
      950311 Wahi Taonga (Maori Places of Significance)

      920307 Pacific Peoples Health - Determinants Of Health
      920308 Pacific Peoples Health - Health Status and Outcomes
      920309 Pacific Peoples Health - Health System Performance (incl. Effectiveness of Interventions)
      939906 Pacific Peoples Education
      940115 Pacific Peoples Development and Welfare
      950306 Conserving Pacific Peoples Heritage