Research Block Grants

Research block grants provide funding to eligible Australian higher education providers for research and research training. Block grants are established under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). Funding provides research income and supports research students to successfully complete higher degrees by research.

Policy 

Research block grants were established under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) and provide block funding to eligible Australian higher education providers (HEPs) for research and research training. 

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: 

  • students 
  • research projects 
  • researchers 
  • equipment
  • infrastructure.

This includes establishing research and research training partnerships with: 

  • businesses 
  • international providers 
  • other organisations.

The Australian research funding system recognises that these decisions are best made by the provider, its researchers and stakeholder communities. 

Programs 

In 2022, the Government is providing $2.01 billion in research block grant funding to 42 HEPs: 

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 degree 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. 

For HDR students whose research projects have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, extensions for RTP scholarships are available for up to 6 months.

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 

2022 research block grant allocations 

A summary of the research block grant allocations to individual HEPs in 2022 can be found on the 2022 Research Block Grant Allocations page. 

Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) 

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 Higher Education Research Data Collection 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 data-sets page provides historical research block grant allocations and other higher education research data sets, including: 

  • Research block grant allocations (2001-2022) 
  • HERDC research income data (1994-2020) 
  • HDR completions (1989-2020) 
  • Higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) by university (2004-2018). 

More information