New arrangements for research block grants in 2017

Friday 21 October 2016


The Australian Government has implemented changes to research block grant (RBG) arrangements for universities commencing next year.

As part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, announced last year, the new arrangements are designed to drive greater research‑industry engagement by substantially boosting incentives for collaboration with business and organisations which use the outcomes of research.

The arrangements establish two new streamlined programs:

  • the Research Training Program (RTP) which will replace three current programs—Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA), International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS), and the Research Training Scheme (RTS)
  • the Research Support Program (RSP) which will replace three current programs—Joint Research Engagement (JRE), Research Infrastructure Block Grants (RIBG) and Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE).

The RTP scheme will support domestic and overseas students undertaking higher degrees by research while the RSP will support the systemic cost of research for universities.

The changes are in response to a number of recommendations from the 2015 Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements, led by Dr Ian Watt AC, and the Review of Australia’s Research Training System, undertaken by the Australian Council of Learned Academies.

These include providing more flexibility in the duration and level of support for higher degree by research student scholarships, enhancing incentives for greater end-user engagement, and boosting the incentives for research degree completions by Indigenous students.

More information on the new arrangements, including links to program guidelines, can be found at: