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

On 7 December 2015 the Australian Government released the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The Agenda includes a measure introducing new arrangements for the research block grants, commencing 1 January 2017. The new measure was in response to the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements led by Dr Ian Watt AO.

In order to implement the new arrangements the department is currently consulting with the higher education sector on the new program guidelines and possible changes to Categories 2, 3 and 4 research income of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC). The department is inviting written submissions in response to the consultation paper. 

Submissions to the consultation paper have been extended to Monday 25 July 2016.

Awards and Scholarships

Support for research

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 (one or more of research income, research publications, higher degree by research (HDR) student completions, RTS student load).

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.

2016 Smart Form for the Collection of 2015 Data

The 2016 Smart Form is now available for the reporting of the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC).

Returns are due by 30 June 2016.

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: