Reasearch Support Funding Explainer

Download: Research Support Funding Explainer

What is the Research Support program (RSP)?
The Research Support Program (RSP) provides block grants, on a calendar year basis, to higher education providers (HEPs) to support the systemic costs of research not supported directly through competitive and other grants, such as libraries, laboratories, consumables, computing centres and the salaries of support and technical staff.

Typically this RSP amount is $910,107,671 every year (not indexed) and this pooled amount is divided among universities and based on research income performance. This is measurement is by the amount of research income they receive from grants in a year (i.e. from ARC, NMHRC, State gov, industry partners, etc) compared to other universities. The more research income they report to have been awarded, the bigger portion of the RSP they receive.

This is an explainer for postgraduate/HDR representatives across the country to provide context on the outcome of the Federal Budget 2020-2021 announcement regarding HDR students. This will explain:

  • What happened
  • How the funding works and when it will be provided
  • How does it affect you on campus, and what you can do with this
  • What resources CAPA can provide you with to help support your campus campaigning

Download: 2020/21 Federal Budget Briefing

This budget focuses on employment support. However, young people and especially students have been left out of the 2020 federal budget. We see a lack of student support and employment programs that can easily exploit young people. Most of the budget focused on employment, getting people into employment, and businesses, while little was focused on supporting students already studying or about to study longer degrees.

CAPA welcomes $1 billion commitment in Budget support for Research

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations welcomes $1 billion in new funding to support research and development at Australian universities. We are pleased the government has listened to our concerns, making a financial commitment to support our best and brightest, before we lose them for good. 

Australia owes a lot to our primed and ready research workforce. They are not only helping us get through this pandemic but will be important in securing Australia’s future during the post-pandemic economic recovery. Today’s budget commitment provides a lifeline to researchers at a time of great uncertainty facing the sector. The increase in research funding also gets us closer to the OECD average as previously we were below it. 

“Covid-19 has exposed the cracks in the way research is funded and we welcome the government’s recognition of this, in the budget announcement, and hope this is the first step toward a new way of funding research and a new future for Australia”, said National President Romana Begicevic. 

Graduate researchers are  often the unseen backbone of the nation’s research output, contributing to over 50% of universities’ share of human resources dedicated to research. Without them Australian research would grind to a halt. 

Even though there are demonstrated economic benefits to investing in research, graduate research students don’t feel so lucky. Only 40% start their research with a stipend scholarship and even more have been financially and materially impacted by this pandemic.

“Graduate researchers are facing an existential crisis and CAPA expects that universities will use some of this money to support their graduate researcher students. Particularly those who are not currently stipend scholarship holders, have lost sessional teaching hours, and those who need extensions as a result of coronavirus disruptions”, said Ms Begicevic.

For comment:
CAPA National President Romana Begicevic
M: 0420 258 404