The statistics presented in this release have been compiled from data collected in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D), Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations. The Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations is a biennial collection based on a financial year reference period.
Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia methodology
The Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations aims to be a complete enumeration of Australian government and private non-profit organisations with intramural expenditure on R&D during the reference period.
Intramural expenditure, which is defined as expenditure for R&D performed by in scope institutions during the reference period irrespective of the source of funds, is included in the survey. Expenditure made outside the institution but in support of intramural R&D is included. For further information, refer to the OECD Frascati Manual 2015. Intramural expenditure includes research performed by institutions:
- as a participant in unincorporated Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs); and
- on behalf of other legal entities where the institution maintains full management and control of the project.
R&D performed by in scope organisations, where the R&D is controlled by other legal entities, is excluded from the survey. The R&D performed by these entities will be in scope of the relevant R&D sector (business or higher education).
From the 2004-05 cycle of the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, the scope for the government and private non-profit sectors has been based on the Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA); more specifically, Sector 3 (General Government) and Sector 5 (Not-For-Profit Institutions (NPIs) Serving Households).
Some information about SISCA Sector 3 and Sector 5 is provided below. For further details about the ABS sector classifications, refer to Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA) 2008.
General Government sector
The General Government sector comprises all government units of the Australian government, each state and territory government, and all local government authorities. It includes courts, the Governor General's office, public universities, government departments, and all resident non-market Not-For-Profit Institutions (NPIs) that are controlled and mainly financed by those government units.
While the Government sector for the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations is based on SISCA, the survey excludes higher education institutions, e.g., universities (which are included in the Survey of R&D, Higher Education Organisations), as per the Frascati Manual 2015 guidelines. Local government organisations are also excluded from the survey, as they are considered to have minimal R&D expenditure.
Government entities mainly engaged in market production or financial activities are not included in the General Government sector.
NPIs Serving Households sector
The NPIs Serving Households sector consists of resident non-market operators providing goods and services to households free or at prices that are not economically significant. It includes NPIs that are mainly financed from household member subscriptions and produce benefits primarily for the household members, and NPIs created for philanthropic purposes which are financed mainly from donations or government grants.
NPIs engaged in market production are not included in the NPIs Serving Households sector.
Definition of R&D
R&D, as collected by the ABS, is defined in accordance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standard as "creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge - including knowledge of humankind, culture and society - and to devise new applications of available knowledge".
For a more comprehensive interpretation of the definition of R&D activity, see the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020 or refer to the OECD publication Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development.
Respondents report and self-classify R&D expenditure based on their interpretation of OECD and ABS definitions and classifications. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data by applying consistent processing methodologies. See also Non-Sampling Error and Revisions in the Data release section for more information.
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)
Type of Activity, Fields of Research and Socio-Economic Objectives statistics presented in this release have been collected and compiled based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020.
This release is the first time Fields of Research and Socio-Economic Objectives information was compiled using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020. Previous releases of this issue used the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008.
The Economics Unit Model is used by the ABS to describe the structure of Australian businesses and other organisations. The model consists of four types of units:
- Enterprise Group (EG)
- Type of Activity Unit (TAU)
- Legal Entity (LE)
- Location Unit
Organisations contributing to the estimates in this publication are sourced from the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) and are selected at either the Australian Business Number (ABN) unit or the Type of Activity Unit (TAU) level, as described below.
In the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, the statistical unit used to represent most organisations, and for which statistics are reported, is the ABN unit. The ABN unit is the organisation unit which has registered for an ABN and appears on the Australian Tax Office (ATO) administered Australian Business Register (ABR). This unit is suitable for ABS statistical needs when the organisation is simple in structure. In these instances, one ABN equates to one statistical unit. These units are collectively referred to as the non-profiled population.
For more significant and diverse organisations where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical needs, the statistical unit used is the Type of Activity Unit (TAU). A TAU comprises one or more entities, sub-entities, or branches of an organisation within an Enterprise Group that can report production and employment activities. When a minimum set of data items are available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision. The TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). These units are collectively referred to as the profiled population.
Further information on the ABSBR and ABS economic units model can be found in Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Register.
Location of expenditure
Location of expenditure relates to the region(s) in which the organisation reported having performed R&D, during the reference period. This may not be the head office location of the organisation. Data by location is collected for total R&D expenditure only and is not available for any other data items (i.e., location by source of funds, type of activity, Fields of Research, Socio-Economic Objectives, or type of resource).
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross State Product (GSP)
The most recent GDP and GSP values available were used to calculate the R&D expenditure/GDP and R&D expenditure/GSP ratios presented in this issue. These values are referenced in the table below and have been revised from those used to calculate ratios in previous issues.
|Gross Domestic Product
GDP is estimated by the ABS according to the international standards contained in the System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) and is not directly comparable to GDP for countries where these standards have not been applied.
Chain volume measures
The chain volume measures appearing in this release are annually reweighted chain Laspeyres indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (currently 2020-21). They can be thought of as current price values re-expressed in (i.e., based on) the prices of the previous year and linked together to form continuous time series. They are formed in a multi-stage process of which the major steps are described in Section 15 of the Information Paper: Australian National Accounts, Introduction of Chain Volume and Price Indexes.
With the implementation of 2008 SNA, deflators used to calculate the chain volume measure of expenditure on R&D were revised to better capture changes in the unit value of labour used in the production of R&D services, and to increase and refine the number of products included in the deflators. The revised deflators have been used for the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations statistics from the 2008-09 survey cycle.
Statistics presented in this release have been compiled from data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from Australian government and private non-profit organisations in the Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D), Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations. The survey also provides R&D data for the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE). The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
For information about the institutional environment of the ABS, including its legislative obligations, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.
This release presents statistics on R&D undertaken by Australian government and private non-profit organisations in respect of the 2020-21 financial year.
R&D statistics produced by the ABS enable the nature and distribution of R&D activity in Australia to be monitored and analysed for policy formulation, allocation of funds and determination of research priorities.
Since the release of the 2008-09 Australian System of National Accounts, R&D has been treated as capital formation. This resulted from the implementation of the new international standards System of National Accounts, 2008 (2008 SNA) and represents a change in treatment of R&D (as intermediate consumption) from SNA 1993.
The ABS aims to produce high quality data from its research and experimental development collections, while minimising the reporting burden on government and private non-profit organisations. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into survey and questionnaire design, collection procedures and processing.
The Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations is a census of in-scope organisations (refer to the Scope in the Data collection section for more information). The survey achieved a response rate of 100%.
Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the component items and totals.
Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of data. These errors can be introduced through inadequacies in the questionnaire, treatment of non-response, inaccurate reporting by respondents, errors in the application of survey procedures, incorrect recording of answers and errors in data capture and processing.
The extent to which non-sampling error affects the results is difficult to measure. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the collection instrument, the use of efficient operating procedures and systems, and the use of appropriate methodologies.
When interpreting the statistics in this release, the reliability and comparability of the estimates may be affected by the following specific non-sampling errors:
- Many organisations provided estimates due to a lack of separately recorded data on R&D activity.
- Data were self-classified by organisations to Type of Activity, Fields of Research and Socio-Economic Objectives at the time of reporting. Some organisations may have experienced difficulty in classifying their R&D projects. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data by applying consistent processing methodologies.
- The estimation method for R&D related overhead costs varied across organisations and reference periods.
In the event of new information being identified and revisions made, revised figures will be indicated by a footnote. Revisions must be taken into consideration when interpreting results, particularly when comparing estimates over time.
The ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey. However, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, its relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the collection.
In addition to non-sampling errors, factors which may affect the comparability of current estimates with those of previous cycles are described below:
- From the 2020-21 cycle, Type of Activity, Fields of Research and Socio-Economic Objectives data have been collected and compiled based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020. Prior to this, these data were based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008 and the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC). The implementation of updated classifications in the 2000-01, 2008-09 and 2020-21 reference periods represent breaks in the relevant time series.
R&D, as collected by the ABS, is defined in accordance with the OECD standard as "creative and systematic work undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge - including knowledge of humankind, culture and society - and to devise new applications of available knowledge".
The ABS Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations also uses classifications specific to R&D: results presented in this release are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020.
Data providers report and self-classify R&D survey information based on their interpretation of OECD and ABS definitions and classifications. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data.
Further important contextual information, to be considered when interpreting the results presented in this release, is provided in the Data collection and Glossary sections of the Methodology page.
Additionally, for a more comprehensive interpretation of the definitions and classifications relating to R&D activity, refer to:
- the OECD publication The Measurement of Scientific and Technological Activities: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys of Research and Experimental Development - Frascati Manual 2015; and
- the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2020
Other related publications
Relevant OECD publications include: Main Science and Technology Indicators
The ABS acknowledges the ongoing contribution made by the organisation selected for the Survey of R&D, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations.
ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments, and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.
Original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge. It is, however, directed primarily towards a specific, practical aim or objective.
As a source of R&D funding, this includes resources coming from businesses located in Australia, including donations and grants, to specifically support R&D activity.
Expenditure on the acquisition of fixed tangible assets such as land, buildings, vehicles, plant, machinery and equipment which is attributable to R&D activity.
As a source of R&D funding, this includes R&D grants, and payments for R&D projects funded by or carried on behalf of Commonwealth government organisations.
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.
Donations and bequests
As a source of R&D funding, this includes research specific donations and bequests from Australian organisations and individuals.
Systematic work, drawing on knowledge gained from research and practical experience and producing additional knowledge, which is directed to producing new products or processes or to improving existing products or processes.
Fields of Research (FoR)
The FoR classification enables R&D to be categorised according to common knowledge domains and/or methodologies used in the R&D. It describes the nature of the research being performed and reflects the area of knowledge discovery.
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.
As a source of R&D funding, this includes R&D funding raised via industry levies.
Expenditure relating to: wages and salaries; overtime earnings; penalty payments; shift allowances; employer contributions into superannuation; fringe benefits and payroll taxes; severance, termination and redundancy payments; workers compensation premiums/costs; provisions for employee entitlements; salaries and fees of directors and executives; retainers and commissions of persons who received a retainer; bonuses; annual and other types of paid leave.
Land, buildings and other structures
Expenditure on land, buildings and other structures acquired for R&D purposes including testing grounds, sites for laboratories and pilot plants, landscaping, site preparation works, fit-out costs for new buildings and major improvements and modifications.
The region(s) in which the organisation performed the R&D. This may not be the head office location of the organisation.
As a source of R&D funding, this represents any other Australian sources of funds not included in the other categories.
Other capital expenditure
Expenditure on office and other equipment (including capitalised computer software licence fees), furnishings, vehicles, plant, machinery and equipment.
Other current expenditure
All other non-staff expenditures including: 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.
Skilled and unskilled employees, secretarial and clerical staff directly associated with R&D activity.
As a source of R&D funding, this includes grants and payments for R&D projects funded by or carried out on behalf of overseas organisations. Transfers from related entities are only included if they specifically relate to R&D being undertaken (by the reporting organisation) on behalf of the related entity.
Includes R&D performed overseas, but controlled by the Australian organisation. This includes analytical work, engineering or other specialised services performed by another organisation which are part of an R&D project being performed by the Australian organisation.
As a source of R&D funding, this includes all funding for R&D sourced from the organisation itself, including equity, borrowings, retained earnings, and non-R&D specific transfers from related entities.
Person years of effort (PYE)
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
Basic research carried out for the advancement of knowledge, without seeking long-term economic or social benefits or making any effort to apply the results to practical problems or to transfer the results to sectors responsible for their application.
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.
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 Objectives (SEO)
The SEO classification enables R&D to be categorised according to the intended purpose or outcome of the R&D as perceived by the researcher (or data provider). It describes purpose categories that may benefit or impact from the R&D.
State and local government
As a source of R&D funding, this includes R&D grants, and payments for R&D projects funded by or carried out on behalf of state and local government organisations.
Strategic basic research
Experimental and theoretical work undertaken to acquire new knowledge directed into specified broad areas in the expectation of practical discoveries. It provides the broad base of knowledge necessary 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, etc.
Type of activity (ToA)
The ToA classification enables R&D activity to be categorised according to the type of research effort, namely, pure basic research, strategic basic research, applied research, and experimental development.
|Australian Business Number
|Australian Bureau of Statistics
|Australian Capital Territory
|Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification
|Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification
|Australian Standard Research Classification
|Australian Tax Office
|Cooperative Research Centres
|Fields of Research
|Gross Domestic Product
|Government Expenditure on R&D
|Gross State Product
|New South Wales
|Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
|Private Non-Profit Expenditure on R&D
|Person Years of Effort
|Research and Experimental Development
|Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia
|Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia
|System of National Accounts
|Type of Activity Unit