Funding for Australian research and development comes from a variety of sources.
This includes the Australian Government, state and territory governments, industry and philanthropic sources.
Across the Australian economy, $31.2 billion was spent on research and development in 2015-. The business and higher education sectors accounted for the vast majority — or 84 per cent — of this expenditure.
The Australian Government funded or supported around one-third of this effort or $10.2 billion — mainly through the Research and Development Tax Incentive scheme, and competitive and block-based funding for university research.
Government block grants for universities are delivered through the Research Training Program and the Research Support Program. These two programs support the underlying costs of research — including the salaries of researchers and ongoing costs of libraries and laboratories — as well as direct support for higher degree research and PhD students.
Australia’s R&D effort — at 1.88 per cent of gross domestic product — lags behind our competitors and is well below the OECD average of 2.38 per cent.
In Australia, the stock of knowledge gained from Australian university research contributed around 10 per cent of GDP in 2014, or $160 billion per annum.