Senator Kim Carr media release banner31 March 2008

New classification to assist ERA development

The Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, has announced that the new Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) will be a primary tool for defining disciplines and the make-up of discipline clusters in the Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative.

Released today, the ANZSRC was developed during the past 18 months by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) with funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC). The ARC is responsible for developing and implementing the ERA.

"The new classification is more closely aligned to research currently being undertaken in Australia and New Zealand and will enable greater accuracy in data collection and analysis, especially in emerging fields of research such as nanotechnology and climate change," Senator Carr said.

"This will mean a significantly reduced volume of research areas categorised as ‘not elsewhere classified’ and that the information obtained through the ERA initiative will be more easily compared with international data."

Senator Carr said that it was important that a consistent research classification system was used across government, the higher education sector and the private sector to ensure a uniform understanding of discipline areas; improve data reporting and resource allocation; enhance effective communication; and allow for benchmarking of data.

The ANZSRC contains about 40 per cent more research codes than the 1998 Standard Research Classification it replaces. The former RFCD codes have been updated with Field of Research codes, and the socio-economic objective codes refreshed.

"The new classification includes concordance tables to enable organisations to easily update their administrative systems and to allow for analysis of data over time. And it maps the OECD Fields of Science and Technology classification to enable international benchmarking," he said.

The ANZSRC was developed in collaboration with Statistics New Zealand following extensive consultation with users of the previous classification. Development was guided by a technical reference group comprising representatives from the ARC; the former Department of Education, Science and Training; CSIRO; the National Health and Medical Research Council; the New Zealand Ministry of Research, Science and Technology; Universities Australia; the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies; and the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

The ARC and ABS will conduct a joint roadshow in Australian capital cities during May to raise awareness and understanding of the ANZSRC in the higher education sector.

Media contacts:
Catriona Jackson (Minister's Office), 0417 142 238
Stakeholder Relations (ARC), 0412 623 057