Overview of the Research Block Grants
In 2013, $1.67 billion is being provided to eligible Australian higher education providers (HEP) as block grants for research and research training, through a number of performance-based schemes. Research block grants (RBG) are allocated according to performance based formula and are independent of funding for specific research projects, programs, or fellowships. HEPs have considerable autonomy in deciding what research projects, personnel, equipment and infrastructure this funding should support. Frequently asked questions have been provided to assist with your enquiry or contact RBGrants@innovation.gov.au.
The Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (Department of Innovation) manages six schemes to support research and research training in Australian HEPs:
Important note: Payments are made to HEPs who administer the schemes on behalf of the Department of Innovation. Individual students or researchers need to approach their HEP to obtain funding support.
In addition, the Department manages one interim scheme to provide funding to support the operations of priority projects funded under NCRIS and/or the Super Science Initiative during the 2013 and 2014 calendar years.
How Research Block Grants are authorised
The schemes are established by the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) and can only fund eligible HEPs listed in Table A or Table B of HESA, Division 16. HEPs receive a single annual funding amount (block) for each scheme and are responsible for administering the schemes on behalf of the Department within broad guidelines. The guidelines and conditions of grant can be found on the scheme web pages listed above.
Grant Amounts and Participating Universities
2013 Smart Forms for the Collection of 2012 Data
2013 Smart Forms are now available for the reporting of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC), rollovers and non-financial reporting of the Commercialisation Training Scheme (CTS).
Important Note - This year, the Department is introducing a new process for RBG Rollovers to reduce the reporting requirements for the sector. The 2013 Smart Form Submission Advice | document provides instructions for your institution regarding which Smart Forms are required by the Department.
Returns are due by 30 June 2013.
Principles for Joint Higher Degrees by Research
In November 2010, the department established a working group to consider impediments to jointly reporting the completion of a higher degree by research (HDR) student concurrently enrolled at two Australian HEPs. As an outcome of this consultation, a document has been developed that provides guidance to HEPs for managing joint HDRs. The document also outlines new provisions for reporting a student completion from a joint HDR.
Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)
The department has released the 2013 HERDC Specifications for the collection of 2012 data.
How Research Block Grants are calculated
Funding for all ongoing RBG schemes is calculated by a formula using some combination of the following inputs:
- Research student total load
- Research student total completions
- Research income
- Research publications
- Previous program payments
Important note: The formulae calculate each HEPs percentage share of the total available funds - they do not assign dollar values to the inputs and aggregate them to determine funding.
Detailed information on all the scheme formulae can be found on the Research Block Grants Calculation Methodology page. All data inputs are sourced from the Higher Education Research Data Collection or the Higher Education Student Data Collection.
Information on the allocation of CRIS funding is available on the Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme page.
Research Block Grants Data
Historical Research Block Grant Schemes