Author: Will Chancellor
Research and development (R&D) investment is fundamental to the delivery of new technology and knowledge into the Australian agricultural system.
It is an important driver of productivity growth, competitiveness and the sustainability of Australian farms and as such it is important to measure and understand changes in R&D investment over time.
The return on R&D investment is also useful to estimate and understand, and while issues in estimation remain, it offers insights into the effectiveness of R&D investment as a mechanism for lifting farm level productivity, profitability, and resilience.
The previous ABARES R&D study developed a methodology to provide disaggregated estimates of R&D expenditure and funding. The new approach presented in this report overcomes some data limitations that have occurred since the last publication and proposes a less resource intensive (and less detailed) measure of the agricultural R&D system.
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- Total agricultural R&D funding in 2020-21 was $2.20 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 4.35% from 2011-12 to 2020-21. Total agricultural R&D performed (expenditure) in 2020-21 was $2.18 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 2.56% from 2011-12 to 2020-21
- Public sector funding for agricultural R&D was driven by the Australian Government and universities. State and territory governments appear to be gradually reducing their funding of agricultural R&D.
- Private sector funding has grown at an average annual rate of 5.63% from 2005 06 to 2021-22, exceeding the 2.02% annual growth rate of public sector investment.
- The increasing private sector involvement may be leading to a greater proportion of applied and experimental R&D and a lower proportion of basic research.
- R&D continues to yield high returns, with estimates indicating that each additional $1 of R&D investment could generate a return for farmers of $7.82.
Agricultural research and development investment in Australia (PDF 1.10 MB)
Supporting data - Agricultural research and development investment in Australia (EXCEL 66 KB)
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