Higher Education Research Data Collection

About the HERDC

The Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) comprises of research income data submitted by universities each year. Each year, the department updates the HERDC specifications in consultation with universities and other relevant stakeholders. The HERDC specifications control the collection of higher education research data and are 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.

Data collected, along with data from the Higher Education Student Data Collection, is used to determine annual allocations to universities for the research block grants.

2017 HERDC Specifications

The draft 2017 HERDC Specifications (for the collection of 2016 data) have been released to the sector for consultation and are now available for comment. 

For enquiries relating to the specifications of the collection, email: RBGrants@education.gov.au with "HERDC" as the subject line.

Comments on Draft 2017 HERDC Specifications

The deadline for comments on the draft 2017 HERDC Specifications is by close of business, Friday 10 February 2017. Please forward your comments to RBGrants@education.gov.au. Any queries about this consultation process should also be directed to RBGrants@education.gov.au.

2018 HERDC Specifications: Provisional data definitions for category 2, 3 and 4

The Minister for Education and Training has agreed to the recommendations of the Watt Review including the need for future changes to reporting requirements. The changes to reporting requirements include changes to category 2, 3 and 4 sub-categories in the 2018 HERDC Specification for the 2017 data year.

The department has previously indicated that further consultation will occur on the changing data requirements, including notifying universities of provisional definitions of the new sub-categories. A consultation paper will be released in January.

In response to high demand from the university sector, the department has agreed to publish provisional definitions ahead of the consultation paper.

Please note that these definitions are provisional and may change after consultation.

Provisional definitions as they are listed below may differ from those published in the consultation paper, as the paper is still in development.

Table 1. Category 2 provisional definitions of R&D income

Note: Unless otherwise noted standard inclusions and exclusions listed in the HERDC Specifications apply.
New sub-categories Provisional definition Exceptions
Commonwealth – own purpose Procurements (contracts) with any Australian Government department or agency Incl. government business enterprises
Excl. public-private partnerships
Excl. donations or bequests from governments
Commonwealth – other Grants or program support from any Australian Government department or agency Excl. Competitive, peer reviewed grants
Incl. income from Research and Development Corporations where they are statutory corporations or authorities.
State/Local – own purpose Procurements (contracts) with any State, Territory or local government department or agency Incl. government business enterprises
Excl. public-private partnerships
Excl. donations or bequests from governments
State/Local – other Grants or program support from any State, Territory or local government department or agency Excl. Competitive, peer reviewed grants

Table 2. Category 3 provisional definitions of R&D income

Note: Unless otherwise noted standard inclusions and exclusions listed in the HERDC Specifications apply.
New sub-categories Provisional definition Exceptions
Australian – Industry Contracts with, or grants from, any for-profit private market sector business based in Australia Excl. private, not-for-profit businesses or philanthropic organisations and individuals
Incl. Australian subsidiaries of multi-national businesses or multi-nationals with the Head Office in Australia
Incl. syndicated R&D arrangements
Incl. income from for-profit, industry-owned Research and Development Corporations
Australian – Private, not-for-profit Contracts with, or grants from, any private not-for-profit organisation based in Australia Incl. mutuals, cooperatives and foundations
Incl. grants from, or contracts with, charity organisations
Incl. Australian subsidiaries of multi-national private, not-for-profit organisations or multi-nationals with the Head Office in Australia
Incl. income from not-for-profit, industry-owned Research and Development Corporations
Australian – Philanthropy Donations or bequests from any non-government organisation or individual based in Australia Excl. grants from, or contracts with, charity organisations
International – Industry Contracts with, or grants from, any for-profit private market sector business based outside Australia Excl. Australian subsidiaries of multi-national businesses or multi-nationals with the Head Office in Australia
International – Private, not-for-profit Contracts with, or grants from, any private not-for-profit organisation based outside Australia Incl. mutuals, cooperatives and foundations
Incl. grants from, or contracts with, charity organisations and international universities
Excl. Australian subsidiaries of multi-national not-for-profits or multi-nationals with the Head Office in Australia
International – Philanthropy Donations or bequests from any non-government organisation or individual based outside Australia  
International – Government (own purpose) Contracts with any non-Australian government organisation or agency Incl. Supranational or intergovernmental organisations such as the European Commission, OECD or United Nations
Excl. Competitive grants from international research funding agencies
International – Government (other) Grants or program support from any non-Australian government organisation or agency Incl. Supranational or intergovernmental organisations such as the European Commission, OECD or United Nations
Incl. Competitive grants from international research funding agencies

Table 3. Category 4 provisional definitions of R&D income

Note: Unless otherwise noted standard inclusions and exclusions listed in the HERDC Specifications apply.
New sub-categories Provisional definition Exceptions
Australian Government grants to CRCs Competitive, peer reviewed grants from Australian Government CRC program and grants from other programs
Industry Contracts with, or grants from, any private sector business Incl. Income from private sector CRC members and non-members
Excl. University contributions
Incl. Contracts with, or grants from, any private not-for-profit organisation based in Australia
Other Donations, bequests, contracts or grants from any other State, Territory or local government organisation or individual Incl. Contracts from Australian Government departments or agencies
Incl. University contributions

Historical Information - HERDC Specifications

2007 to 2009 HERDC Specifications are available by emailing the department at: RBGrants@education.gov.au with "HERDC" as the subject line.