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Australian university R&D reaches record levels.

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Media Release Notification


12 April, 2002 MIN 51 /02

The record expenditure on Research and Development by Australian universities reported today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics is a testament to the Federal Government’s commitment to funding and fostering R&D in Australia.

Higher Education R&D (HERD) spending increased to a new record high of almost $2.8 billion in 2000, an increase of more than $200 million compared with 1998.

The report, part of the ABS R&D Bulletin series 8111.0, has found that this 9% increase on 1998 expenditure was from a combination of increased Commonwealth funding and other sources.

HERD has been increasing steadily since 1992. The average rate of growth over this period was 6.4% in current prices.

HERD as a percentage of GDP is 0.41%, which compares favourably with other OECD countries, and is higher than figures recorded for Germany (0.40%), the USA (0.37%), and France (0.36%).

While HERD as a percentage of GDP has marginally decreased from 0.43% to 0.41%, this should be seen more as a reflection of the strength of the Australian economy, which has outpaced many other economies, rather than as a decline in R&D expenditure.

I also note that that the data predates the substantial funding increases that the Government has provided since the 1999/00 Budget, such as the $614 million to boost medical research and, more recently, the Backing Australia’s Ability initiatives.

I recognise the importance of R&D in Australia’s university sector, and the Government’s injection of $3 billion over five years for innovation and research through Backing Australia’s Ability is proof of our

The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP - Media Centre (1 of 2) [15/04/2002 9:15:10]

  commitment in this area.

The Howard Government is committed to ensuring that Australia continues to have a vibrant research capability and an internationally competitive research capacity over the coming years.

The ABS report can be found at (on subscription).


For further information:

Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

DEST: James Lennane 02 6240 9117



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The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP - Media Centre (2 of 2) [15/04/2002 9:15:10]