On 7 December 2015 the Australian Government released the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). The Agenda included a measure introducing new funding arrangements for the research block grants for universities.
From 1 January 2017, the six current research block grant programs were replaced with two simpler streamlined programs:
- The Research Support Program (RSP) provides a flexible funding stream to support the systemic costs of research.
- The Research Training Program (RTP) provides funding to higher education providers to support the training of the next generation of researchers and innovators.
The department released a paper which formed the basis of consultation with higher education providers and other stakeholders on the new program guidelines for 2017. It sets out options for implementing the new research block grant funding arrangements and contains draft guidelines for the RSP and RTP.
The consultation paper also highlights possible changes to Categories 2, 3 and 4 of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) which aim to more clearly identify income resulting from university research engagement activities.