Research block grants provide funding to eligible Australian higher education providers (HEPs) to support research and research training, and are established under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA).
Research block grants are:
- allocated on a calendar year basis
- calculated using program-specific formulae
- awarded based on the relative performance of each higher education provider in attracting research income and supporting students to complete higher degrees by research (HDRs).
Providers have the autonomy in allocating research block grant funding to support:
- research projects
This includes establishing research and research training partnerships with:
- international providers
- other organisations.
The Australian research funding system recognises that these decisions are best made by the provider, its researchers and stakeholder communities.
In 2023, the Government is providing $2.079 billion in research block grant funding to 42 HEPs:
- $1.112 billion through the Research Training Program (RTP)
- $967.5 million through the Research Support Program (RSP).
The RTP provides funding to HEPs to support the training of domestic and international students undertaking research doctorate and research masters courses, known as HDRs. The RTP provides scholarships:
- to research doctorate students for between 3 to 4 years
- to research masters students for up to 2 years
- that can fund a student's tuition fees, general living costs, or be used to support the ancillary costs of a HDR such as thesis publication costs.
The RSP provides:
- a flexible funding stream for HEPs to support the systemic costs of research
- support for systemic costs such as research projects not funded through other means
- funding for indirect costs such as libraries, laboratories, consumables, computing centres and the salaries of support and technical staff.
Information for students and administrators
See frequently asked questions on the RTP for:
Research funding, data collection and calculations
2023 research block grant allocations
A summary of 2023 research block grant allocations to individual HEPs can be found on the 2023 research block grant allocations page.
Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)
- controls the collection of higher education research data
- is designed to ensure the Australian Government's research block grants are allocated in a fair and transparent way
- supports the policy intent of the funding.
More information about HERDC is available.
Research block grants - calculation methodology
The research block grants calculation methodology page specifies the methods used to calculate amounts under the research block grant programs.
Consolidated time series data sets
The consolidated datasets page provides historical research block grant allocations and other higher education research data sets, including:
- Research block grant allocations (2001-2023)
- HERDC research income data (1994-2021)
- HDR completions (1989-2021)
- Higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) by university (2004-2020).
- Research Block Grants Resources for data collections, registers and publications
- Self-Assessed Australian Competitive Grant Income
- Data used in current and historical research block grant allocations
- Reviews studies, consultation papers and evaluations
- Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for students
- Research Training Program - Frequently Asked Questions for university administrators
- Historical research block grant programs