Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)

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About the HERDC

The HERDC comprises of research income data submitted by universities to the department annually. 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.

Draft HERDC Specifications for the collection of 2020 data

The Draft HERDC Specifications (for the collection of 2020 data) are now available. The deadline for stakeholder comments is 5pm AEST, Friday 9 October 2020.

The Category 1 Self-Assessment – Frequently Asked Questions is designed to assist universities to self-assess their R&D income, in conjunction with the Draft HERDC specifications for 2020 data to determine if it can be reported as Category 1.

AASB Guidance Paper

The department has released a technical paper, Effect of AASB changes on research income for the 2021 Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) for 2020 data requirements. This paper provides advice and guidance to the sector in relation to the research income data that higher education providers (HEPs) report to the department annually.

This technical paper provides further detail on previously announced changes to the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) Specifications for the collection of 2020 data in response to changes to new accounting standards issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board.

In particular, this paper aims to reduce ambiguity surrounding the effect of accounting standards changes on the HERDC reporting requirements.

The guidance material expands on earlier information provided by the department in the initial consultation period and in the HERDC Specifications for 2018 data; particularly regarding the key changes set out in Issue 1 (Timing and adoption approach of AASB 15 and AASB 9) and Issue 3 (Treatment of Scholarship Income).

Historical Information - HERDC Specifications

HERDC Specifications prior to 2010 are also available by request. 

Further Enquiries

For HERDC related enquiries, please email the department at: RBGrants@dese.gov.au with "HERDC" in the subject line.