The higher education, research and international education (HERI) Budget Overview 2020-21 summarises the main areas for investment in higher education for financial year 2020-21.

2020-21 Budget


The 2020-21 Budget is committing record funding to rebuilding our economy and securing Australia’s future.

Investing in apprenticeships, creating jobs and boosting the skills of Australians to help them get back into work is at the heart of the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan for Australia, along with guaranteeing the essential services Australians rely on.

These services include supporting Australia’s education system through the continued provision of:

  • quality early childhood education
  • funding certainty for schools and universities
  • delivering more VET and higher education places
  • delivering more short courses
  • investing in research.

The employment services system will continue to be reformed to be able to better meet the needs of Australians looking for work.

Higher Education, Research and International

The Australian Government is boosting investment in research and key research infrastructure through a number of new measures, including:

  • An additional $1.0 billion in 2020-21 through the Research Support Program to support universities to continue the delivery of world class research
  • $40 million to create a Strategic University Reform Fund (SURF) to bring together universities and local industries to partner on innovative reform projects
  • $20.0 million to enable the University of Adelaide to establish a Centre for Augmented Reasoning to develop machine-learning technologies for use in a wide-range of industries and areas
  • $5.8 million for scoping a University Research Commercialisation Scheme to better translate and commercialise university research outputs

The Government will also invest $157 million over three years to implement the 2020 Research Infrastructure Investment Plan. This measure will support the Government’s ongoing investment in existing research infrastructure and support the commencement of four new projects in national research priority areas.

The Government will provide $903.5 million over four years from 2020-21 for more university places and support for students. The funding includes:

  • Funding for 12,000 university places for Australian students; and
  • An additional 50,000 short course places.

The Government is also committing $24.8 million for a new program commencing from 2021 to create pathways to STEM careers for up to 500 women through industry-sponsored advanced apprenticeship-style courses.