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Classification Codes—FoR, RFCD, SEO and ANZSIC Codes

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) is the collective name for a set of three related classifications developed for use in the measurement and analysis of research and experimental development (R&D) undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. The ANZSRC replaces the Australian Standard Research Classification (ASRC) and was initially released on 31 March 2008. A review of the classifications was undertaken in 2019 and new classifications were released on 30 June 2020. 

There are three classifications in the ANZSRC:

  • Type of Activity (TOA)
  • Fields of Research (FoR)
  • Socio-economic Objective (SEO).

The ANZSRC updates the Research Fields, Courses and Disciplines (RFCD) codes with ‘Fields of Research’ codes as well as refreshing the socio-economic objective (SEO) codes. The ANZSRC has been significantly expanded with about 40 per cent more research codes than the 1998 classification. This aligns the classification more closely to the research currently being undertaken in Australia and New Zealand, and will reduce the volume of research categorised as "not elsewhere classified".

The use of the three constituent classifications in the ANZSRC ensures that R&D statistics collected are useful to governments, educational institutions, international organisations, scientific, professional or business organisations, business enterprises, community groups and private individuals in Australia and New Zealand.
A review of ANZSRC was undertaken to ensure the classification reflects current practice and to improve coverage, coherence and consistency across the classification. Subsequently, ANZSRC 2020 has been jointly developed by the ABS, Stats NZ, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and replaces ANZSRC 2008. 

Fields of Research (FoR) classification

The 2008 ANZSRC FoR classification allows R&D activity to be categorised according to the field of research. In this respect, it is the methodology used in the R&D that is being considered.

The categories in the classification include major fields and related sub-fields of research and emerging areas of study investigated by businesses, universities, tertiary institutions, national research institutions and other organisations.

Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) classification

The ANZSRC SEO classification allows R&D activity in Australia and New Zealand to be categorised according to the intended purpose or outcome of the research rather than the processes or techniques used in order to achieve this objective. The purpose categories include processes, products, health, education and other social and environmental aspects in Australia and New Zealand that R&D activity aims to improve.

The 2008 ANZSRC SEO classification updates the 1998 ASRC SEO classification.

A purpose classification such as the SEO provides a set of categories which collectively exhaust all the objectives of research. In this respect, the scope of the SEO is more extensive than a classification of economic activities such as the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), because not all R&D has an economic motive or context.

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) has been developed for use in both countries for the production and analysis of industry statistics.

The 2006 edition of the ANZSIC reflects a substantial review of all facets of the classification. The first edition of the classification was released in 1993 and there were significant changes in the Australian and New Zealand economies in that period. The updated classification changes reflect this and there are increases in the number of industry categories at each level of the classification.

Distribution of FoR codes across Discovery Projects panels

The 2008 distribution of FoR codes across the five panels for Discovery Project grant applications is broadly as follows:

BSB 06, 07, 11
EIC 08, 09, 10, 12
HCA 1201, 1601, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
MPCE 01, 02, 03, 04, 05
SBE 1117; 1205; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17

Allocation to panels also takes into account the match between panel members’ expertise, the application, summary and the project description.

Multidisciplinary applications should ensure that the FoR codes selected reflect the disciplines involved in the research. Where an application crosses panels, the ARC has mechanisms in place for cross-panel assessment. 

Please note that these administrative units may be altered, without notice, depending on the size of panels, the number of applications with a particular set of FoR codes, changes to schemes, or other reasons. 

This distribution is for assessment purposes; the ARC’s reporting processes may differ from this.

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