Research Block Grants

For: 

The Government's research block grants are established under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) and provide block funding to eligible Australian higher education providers for research and research training. In 2020, the Government will provide $1.96 billion to 42 providers as block grants through two programs, the Research Training Program (RTP) and the Research Support Program (RSP).

Policy

Research block grants are allocated on a calendar year basis using program-specific formulae that reward the performance of providers in attracting research income and the successful completion of higher degree by research students.

Providers have autonomy in deciding which students, research projects, researchers, equipment and infrastructure the block grant funding will support. This also includes decisions by providers about which businesses, international providers and other organisations they collaborate with in establishing research and research training partnerships. In this way, the Australian research funding system recognises that these sorts of decisions are best made by the provider, its researchers and stakeholder communities.

Programs

The Research Training Program (RTP) provides funding to higher education providers to support the training of domestic and international students undertaking Research Doctorate and Research Masters courses, known as higher degrees by research (HDR). In 2020, the Government will provide $1.05 billion through the RTP. RTP scholarships are available to research doctorate degree students for between three to four years, and up to two years to research masters students. RTP scholarships can be provided to fund a student's tuition fees, to provide a stipend to support a student's general living costs, or to support the ancillary costs of an HDR such as thesis publication costs.

The Research Support Program (RSP) provides a flexible funding stream for higher education providers to support the systemic costs of university research. This forms part of the Government's dual funding system for the higher education sector where competitive and other grants support the direct costs of research, and the RSP supports the systemic costs such as research projects not funded through other means, and the indirect costs such as libraries, laboratories, consumables, computing centres and the salaries of support and technical staff. In 2020, the Government will provide $910 million through the RSP.

Further information for students and university administrators

Students with further queries can view the Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for students.

University administrators with further queries can view the Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for university administrators.

Research funding, data collection and calculations

2020 Research Block Grant Allocations provides a summary of the research block grant allocations to individual higher education providers in 2020.

The Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) controls the collection of higher education research data and is designed to ensure the Australian Government's research block grants are allocated in a fair and transparent way and to support the policy intent of the funding.

Research Block Grants - Calculation Methodology specifies the methods used to calculate amounts under the research block grant programs.

The department maintains a series of consolidated data-sets related to research block grants. These include Research Block Grant Allocations (2001-2020), HERDC Research Income Data (2004-2018), HDR Completions (2004-2018), Research Training Scheme Student Load (2004-2014), and HERDC Research Publications (1995-2014).

Historical programs

The following programs ceased on 31 December 2016:

  1. Australian Postgraduate Awards
  2. International Postgraduate Research Scholarships
  3. Research Training Scheme
  4. Joint Research Engagement
  5. Research Infrastructure Block Grants
  6. Sustainable Research Excellence

Information on these previous research block grant arrangements can be found on the historical research block grant programs webpage.

More Information

  • Data used in current and historical research block grant allocations
  • Reviews studies, consultation papers and evaluations

Administration of the RBG

The RBG is administered by:

  • Research Policy and Programs Branch
  • Higher Education Division
  • Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Enquiries can be emailed to: RBGrants@education.gov.au

Resources

The following is a list of all the resources that are associated with Research Block Grants.

Results

  1. Higher Education Research Data Collection- Calculation of Book Chapter Values for an Author

    Created: 5 December 2013

  2. Higher Education Research Data Collection- Options Paper: For Advice of Universities Australia Board

    Created: 11 December 2013

  3. Historical Australian Postgraduate Award APA annual stipend rates

    Created: 5 December 2013  |  Last modified: 8 March 2016

    Table outlining Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) annual stipend rates from 1959 to 2015

  4. Instructions for the submission of 2016 HERDC Research Income Data

    Created: 9 May 2016

    Instructions to fill in Smart forms

  5. International Approaches to the Indirect Costs of Research

    Created: 11 December 2013

    Presentation to the Project Steering Group –Indirect costs of university research project

  6. International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) Program Evaluation

    Created: 23 December 2013

  7. International Postgraduate Research Scholarships- Annexure to Determination 2014

    Created: 19 December 2013

  8. Joint Research Engagement- Annexure to Determination 2014

    Created: 20 December 2013

  9. Pathway models and government funding sources available to domestic students for entry into PhD

    Created: 19 May 2017

    The “Pathways models and  government funding sources  available to domestic students for entry into PhD” infographic provides information on the various courses/experiences...

  10. Principles for Joint Higher Degrees by Research

    Created: 11 December 2013

    Principles for Joint Higher Degrees by Research between Australian Higher Education Providers

  11. RBG Allocations 2001-2014

    Created: 19 December 2014  |  Last modified: 30 March 2015

    RBG Allocations 2001-2014

  12. RBG Allocations 2001-2016

    Created: 16 December 2015  |  Last modified: 5 January 2017

    RBG Allocations 2001-2016

  13. RBG Allocations Time Series

    Created: 19 December 2017  |  Last modified: 18 December 2019

    A time series of research block grants (RBG) funding allocations from 2001 onwards.

  14. Research Block Grant Allocations 2010-13

    Created: 22 January 2014

  15. Research Income Data (2004-2018)

    Created: 19 December 2017  |  Last modified: 18 December 2019

    Data for Research Income (2004-2018)

  16. Research Infrastructure Block Grants- Annexure to Determination 2014

    Created: 20 December 2013

  17. Research Training Scheme- Annexure to Determination 2014

    Created: 20 December 2013

  18. RTP Transition Student Factsheet

    Created: 22 November 2016

    Factsheet for those students transitioning to the Research Training Program

  19. Sustainable Research Excellence- Annexure to Determination 2014

    Created: 20 December 2013

  20. The indirect costs associated university research funded through Australian Competitive Grants Final Report

    Created: 11 December 2013

  21. The process for determining Joint Research Engagement (JRE) scheme grant amounts- 2014 Allocations

    Created: 20 December 2013

  22. The process for determining Research Training Scheme (RTS) grant amounts- 2014 Allocations

    Created: 20 December 2013

  23. The process for determining Research Training Scheme (RTS) grant amounts- 2014 Allocations

    Created: 20 December 2013

  24. The Process for Determining Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) Scheme Grant Amounts- 2014 Allocations

    Created: 20 December 2013

  25. Understanding the cost of university research

    Created: 11 December 2013

    Revised draft guidance paper on the allocation of indirect costs to research funded by Australian Competitive Grants

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