Science and research overview

Budget Review 2012–13 Index

Matthew L James

Science and research

The Federal Government announced an extra $126 million on spending for science and research in universities for 2012–13 and kept funding relatively stable for the wider sector.[1] As a result of the increase, the investment block grant funding for universities now totals $1.72 billion for research spread over six existing programs.

As a new initiative, the Government proposed that an extra $54 million over four years would go to improving participation in the study of science and mathematics at school and university. (The measure is described under the education portfolio discussion elsewhere in this document).

The Government increased funding for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and very slightly trimmed the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The 2012–13 funding of $760.5 million to the NHMRC Medical Research Endowment Account comes in close to last year’s $746.1 million allocation.[2] Total net resourcing for the ARC rose from $844.7 million in 2011–12 to $915.3 million in 2012–13.[3]

The International Science Linkages program, axed last year, received no funding. The situation for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is slightly more complex. In addition to government funding, it receives income from a variety of other sources including consulting, intellectual property rights and commercialisation of research. Its total resourcing is projected to dip slightly from $1642.2 million in 2011–12 to $1602.9 million in the 2012–13, but appropriation from the Government will actually rise by a very slight $11.9 million to $736.7 million.[4] As a result of its overall decrease, CSIRO expects to lose 116 staff in the year.

At the time of writing, the Australian Government's 2012–13 Science, Research and Innovation Budget tables were not available.

Innovation and development

The Government claimed that new research and development tax incentives would deliver $1.8 billion in support over 2012–13 and that Commercialisation Australia would receive $294.1 million over the forward estimates.[5] As well, it announced funding of $29.8 million for the start-up of a new Manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre to foster researcher and manufacturer creativity.[6] However, funding for the Cooperative Research Centres Program will fall from $165.7 million in 2011–12 to $154.5 million in 2012–13.[7]

Reflecting the sector’s stability, the Australian Industry (Ai) group noted that ‘In the lead-up to the Budget, Ai Group argued against further changes to the Research and Development Tax Incentive and we are pleased that the Government has not sought to achieve further savings in this area.’[8] Generally, reaction to the science and research budget was relaxed and muted, although concerns remain about the wider role of scientific innovation in the economy and in Australian society.[9]



[1].      C Evans (Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research), ‘Investing in world-class science and research’, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012.

[2].      AAMRI (Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes), ‘Medical research funding saved from the budget knife’, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012.

[3].      Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2012–13: budget related paper no. 1.13: Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2012, p. 234, viewed 9 May 2012.

[4].      Ibid, p. 293.

[5].      G Combet (Minister for Industry and Innovation), ‘Innovation the key to driving productive industries’, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012.

[6].      Ibid.

[8].      Ai (Australian Industry Group), ‘Business pays for back to black budget’, media release, 8 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012.

[9].      A Salleh, ‘Budget, Science spared but concerns remain’, Australian Broadcasting Corporation website, 9 May 2012, viewed 9 May 2012.

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.

© Commonwealth of Australia

In essence, you are free to copy and communicate this work in its current form for all non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to the author and abide by the other licence terms. The work cannot be adapted or modified in any way. Content from this publication should be attributed in the following way: Author(s), Title of publication, Series Name and No, Publisher, Date.

To the extent that copyright subsists in third party quotes it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

Inquiries regarding the licence and any use of the publication are welcome to webmanager@aph.gov.au.

This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian Parliament using information available at the time of production. The views expressed do not reflect an official position of the Parliamentary Library, nor do they constitute professional legal opinion.

Feedback is welcome and may be provided to: web.library@aph.gov.au. Any concerns or complaints should be directed to the Parliamentary Librarian. Parliamentary Library staff are available to discuss the contents of publications with Senators and Members and their staff. To access this service, clients may contact the author or the Library‘s Central Entry Point for referral.

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print