Research Block Grants


In 2016, the Australian Government is expected to provide $1.81 billion to higher education providers as block grants to support research and research training, through a number of performance-based schemes under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003.

New arrangements for research block grants for 2017

As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), new funding arrangements will replace the existing six research block grants with two streamlined programs:

  • Research Support Program (RSP) replaces the Research Infrastructure Block Grants, Joint Research Engagement and the Sustainable Research Excellence.   
  • Research Training Program (RTP) replaces the Australian Postgraduate Awards, International Postgraduate Research Scholarships and the Research Training Scheme.

The changes are in response to the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements led by Dr Ian Watt AC, and also address a number of recommendations from the Review of Australia’s Research Training System undertaken by the Australian Council of Learned Academies.

Current research block grant arrangements will cease to exist after 31 December 2016. Information on the new programs is below:

Further Information

Detailed information on the new research block grant arrangements commencing 1 January 2017 is also available.

If you have further queries regarding these new research block grant arrangements you may wish to visit the Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for students or the Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for university administrators.

The department has developed a template that universities can use to send to continuing RTS, IPRS and APA students transferring to equivalent RTP scholarships. The use of this template is at the discretion of each university and can be modified to suit each institution’s individual needs. If modified, the core elements of the notification letter must remain in order to meet legislative requirements relating to RTP scholarship offers (i.e.  advice on the types of support, the conditions, the period of support, and the estimated annual value of Australian Government support provided for each type of support).

The department has also developed a factsheet for current APA, IPRS and RTS students that are transitioning to equivalent RTP scholarships.


The department also held a webinar on Friday 11 November 2016 concening changes to research block grants for 2017. This webinar can be accessed from the gotowebinar website for postgraduate university administrators on the new arrangements on Friday 11 November 2016 (note: users are required to enter a name and email address to access the recording).

The department has also prepared a series of slides that were used for the webinar.

Existing programs

Information on the existing awards and scholarships are below:

Research funding, data collection and calculations

Participating universities receive a single annual grant amount (block) for each scheme and are responsible for administering the schemes within broad guidelines.

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 Grant amounts under the research block grant schemes are driven entirely by metrics.

The Australian Competitive Grants Register (ACGR) lists schemes that provide competitive research grants to higher education providers. The income providers receive from schemes listed on the ACGR is a metric used in driving the allocation of the research block grants.

More Information

Administration of the RBG

The RBG is administered by:

  • Research Funding and Policy Branch
  • Research and Economic Group
  • Australian Government Department of Education and Training

Enquiries can be emailed to: