Applied research picks up more money

But the foundations of national research and development took a hit in 2018-20

Spending on pure basic research dropped over $300m, to $2455m, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  While strategic basic research increased from $2167m to $2246m, applied research outlays grew by $724m, to $6708m.

Overall, higher education spending on research and development declined slightly between 2018 and 2020 in real terms. The headline figure is an increase from $12 158m to 12 668m. However the chain volume measure (adjusting for annual price changes) of spending, declined from $12 849m in ’18).

General university funds continue to be the most important source of HERD outlays but dropped from $6823m in 2018 to $6735m. Commonwealth direct grants and other schemes were both marginally up and business spending increased from $502m to $603m.

HERD was 0.62 per cent of GDP in 2018 and 0.61 per cent in 2020.