UQ Competitive Grants Register

What is HERDC?

The Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) is an annual government reporting requirement for Australian higher education providers. Research income data is collected and used to assess the relative performance of providers in research and research training. Each year, the Department of Education and Training release specifications outlining what income can be included. Income that meets these rigorous eligibility requirements are then included in the submission.

Why is HERDC important?

The data reported in HERDC and the Higher Education Student Data Collection (HESDC) informs the allocation of research block grants from the Department of Education and Training to the higher education sector. In 2020, $1.96 billion will be provided, based on the data reported, to higher education providers. Funding is provided through two performance-based schemes: Research Support Program and Research Training Program. Details can be found on the Australian Department of Education website.

The HERDC Definition of Research

There are many eligibility prerequisites that guide the reporting of research income, but the underlying requirement is that the activity in the funded research project must comply with the HERDC definition of research:

For an activity to be an R&D activity it must satisfy five core criteria:

  1. To be aimed at new findings (novel),
  2. To be based on original, not obvious, concepts and hypotheses (creative),
  3. To be uncertain about the final outcomes (uncertain),
  4. To be planned and budgeted (systemic), and
  5. To lead to results that could be possibly reproduced (transferable and/or reproducible).

The HERDC specification then details the types of activities that can meet the definition of research, and how they should be classified.

Research Income Categories – details:

Category 1: Australian Competitive Grant Research Income

  • Category 1 consists only of those research schemes/programs listed on the UQ Competitive Grants Register (UQ CGR) for the current year (for example, some grants from the ARC, NHMRC, etc.). A number of conditions must be met to satisfy Category 1 inclusion and UQ R&I undertakes a rigorous assessment process to support robust decision-making.

Category 2: Other Public Sector Research Funding

  • Australian Government schemes and business enterprises NOT listed on the UQ CGR
  • State and local governments and partly government-owned or funded bodies
  • Research income from CRCs in which the University was not a core participant or signatory

Category 3: Industry and other Funding for Research

  • Research grants or contract research with Australian or international industry or non-Australian Government agencies
  • Funding through donations, bequests, charities and foundations (both Australian and international)

Category 4: Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Funding

  • Consists of research income received from a CRC in which the University was a core participant (i.e. a signatory to the CRC's Commonwealth Agreement)

UQ Competitive Grants Register

In 2018, the Australian Government Department of Education and Training implemented a self-assessment system for universities to determine which of their R&D income can be classified as Category 1 – Australian Competitive Grant Income for the Higher Education Research Data Collection.

UQ has since established its Competitive Grants Register, informed by a rigorous assessment process (PDF, 311.9 KB) to determine eligibility under the Higher Education Research Data Collection specifications.

All Category 1 Funding Schemes are listed on the UQ Competitive Grants Register (CGR). Please check that the exact scheme (not simply the funding body) for which you are applying is listed on the UQ CGR.

It is also important to recognise that not all schemes listed on the UQ CGR are exempt from overheads. You will need to check the scheme’s guidelines to determine whether overheads can be applied. If they can, you will need to ensure your project budget includes appropriate overheads in accordance with UQ Policy and Procedure.

If you would like to make a request for inclusion on the UQ Competitive Grants Register, please submit your request here. UQ R&I will assess your submission and notify you of the outcome as soon as this process is complete.

Enquiries can be directed to grants-manager@research.uq.edu.au.