Sustainable Research Excellence

The Sustainable Research Excellence in Universities (SRE) scheme provides block grants on a calendar year basis to eligible higher education providers (HEPs) to ensure that these institutions are better placed to meet the indirect cost of research activities that are not entirely met by the various competitive grant programs.

The objectives of the SRE scheme are to:

  • address an identified shortfall in the funding available to meet the indirect costs associated with Australian competitive grant research; and
  • support HEPs to build and maintain research excellence through the implementation of best practice financial management, performance and reporting frameworks.

Important note: Payments are made to HEPs who administer research block grant schemes on behalf of the department. Individual students or researchers need to approach their HEP for advice on support options available.

One-off redirection of SRE funding

The 2015-16 Budget included a one-off re-direction of SRE funding of $300 million over four years to provide for additional operational funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). Even with the impact of this Budget measure, SRE funding will increase each calendar year. SRE funding will grow from $193 million in 2015 to around $210 million in 2016; $215 million in 2017; $222 million in 2018; and $229 million in 2019.

Submission of data for SRE

The department will not require the submission of the SRE Financial Data Return and will not be conducting a Staff Hours Survey in 2015. The 2011 Staff Hours Survey data and the 2012 indirect costs data will be re-used for calculating 2016 SRE Threshold 2 Transparent Costing (TC) grant amounts. The department will use Field of Research (FoR) data from the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) exercise provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC) for calculating 2016 SRE Threshold 2 Excellence Index (Ei) grant amounts.

Guidelines and conditions of grant

Australian government funding is provided through annual block grants to eligible Australian HEPs in accordance with item 7 of the table in section 41-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

The guidelines for the SRE scheme are in the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2012

SRE grant amounts for 2016 have been provided to HEPs on the basis of the conditions outlined in the following document:

Process for determining SRE grants amounts


For more information, email: with "SRE" as the subject line.