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Science budget: Funding by numbers

Nature volume 511, pages S52S53 (24 July 2014) | Download Citation

  • A Correction to this article was published on 06 August 2014

This article has been updated

Australia and New Zealand both rely on assessment schemes to improve research quality, yet the money associated with each is very different. By Julie Gould.

All data are from 2010 unless otherwise stated, because 2010 provides the most recent, reliable, comparable and complete data. All dollar amounts are in US dollars, converted using a 2010 exchange rate.

AUSTRALIA: Research assessment funding by state

Australia’s budget for higher-education research and development is an order of magnitude larger than that of New Zealand, yet the amount of money determined by Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) is significantly smaller.

Image: Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010), available at go.nature.com/1obhsa

Money matters

The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment comprises only 0.08% of all government funding for higher-education research and development (HERD).

Image: Research and Experimental Development, Higher Education Organisations (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010), available at go.nature.com/1obhsa

Scholarly spending

New Zealand continues to increase its gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD), but Australia is starting to pull back.

Image: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics.

Excellence in Research for Australia: timeline

Policy-makers and government officials have changed funding allocations from funding formula favouring quantity to assessment criteria favouring quality.

Image: Kwok, J. T. Impact of ERA Research Assessment on University Behaviour and their Staff (NTEU National Policy and Research Unit, 2013) available at go.nature.com/c2ypxa.

NEW ZEALAND: Research assessment funding by university

The majority of New Zealand’s higher education funding is allocated by the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), which spent a total of $168 million on tertiary education organizations in 2010.

Image: Performance-Based Research Fund Annual Report 2010 (Tertiary Education Commission), available at go.nature.com/s5t6p7.

The great divide

The system used by the PBRF to allocate funds to universities.

Image: Performance-Based Research Fund Annual Report 2010 (Tertiary Education Commission), available at go.nature.com/s5t6p7.

Printed material

Any published articles* that include at least one author from Australia or New Zealand.

Image: Scopus.

Money matters

Almost 90% of all funding for higher-education research and development (HERD) in New Zealand is provided by the government and universities.

Image: Research and Development in New Zealand 2010 (Statistics New Zealand), available at go.nature.com/c7bbp5.

Performance-based Research Fund: timeline

Before 2000, funding was provided to tertiary education organizations based on the number of researchers. Now funding is dependent upon individual performance reviews.

Image: A History and Overview of the PRBF (New Zealand Ministry of Education), available at go.nature.com/vwXjbu.

Change history

  • 28 July 2014

    The graph incorrectly labelled gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) figures as higher-education research and development. This has now been corrected along with the text.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/511S52a

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