Report

Research performance of Australian universities

30 Mar 2012
Description

While the absolute amount of higher education research funding has grown significantly, the relative shares of research income and research block grant funding of the major university groupings in Australia has been largely unchanged over the past two decades, with most redistribution of shares occurring between non-Go8 institutions.

Go8 universities account for over two-thirds of the research undertaken at Australian universities. Go8 universities attract the highest levels of industry and competitive government grant funding for research.

While the absolute amount of higher education research funding has grown significantly, the relative shares of research income (as reported in the Higher Education Research data Collection) and research block grant funding of the major university groupings in Australia has been largely unchanged over the period 1992 to 2010 and 2002 to 2012 respectively with most redistribution of shares occurring between non-Go8 institutions.

The National Survey of Research Commercialisation showed that in 2009 Go8 universities dominated in the number of invention disclosures and active licensing agreements as well as in licensing income and the number of patents issued.

Based on the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2010 outcomes, research of the highest quality (ie research well above world average and rated 5) is predominately undertaken at Go8 universities.

The Federal Government has allocated $65.7 m of Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) funding on the basis of ERA outcomes from 2012, the only component (4%) of the $1,632 m in research block grants which is allocated directly on the basis of research excellence.

Government policy should focus on selectivity and concentration of the higher education research effort with the aim of ensuring that funds flow to the best research wherever it may be and that Australia’s research universities can sustain international research excellence.

ERA outcomes should continue to apply to the allocation of SRE funding and also be used to allocate Research Training Scheme (RTS) funding.

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2012
201
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