11 June 2020

Over the past year, the Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Stats NZ have jointly reviewed the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) 2008. 

The ARC is pleased to advise that the revised ANZSRC is on track to be published at the end of June 2020 on the ABS and Stats NZ websites.

There has been a high level of engagement from the Australian and New Zealand research communities throughout the year-long review process. This process has involved two formal, public consultations, as well as many workshops, webinars and individual discussions.

In February 2019 a discussion paper was released for public comment which sought stakeholder feedback on the current classification, including potential areas for the Review and how organisations and individuals use ANZSRC. A consultation draft was subsequently published in November 2019. Consultation on the draft closed on 10 February 2020.

The research community has actively participated in the development of the revised classification, particularly regarding the Field of Research (FoR) codes. This has ensured the process was driven by discipline experts and resulted in the changes to the classification reflecting the views of the research community. The ARC appreciates the support of peak bodies, in particular Deans Councils, for sharing their discipline expertise throughout the review. 

In addition, the Review was based on internationally recognised principles for statistical classifications and informed by expert technical advice. Membership of the Australian Expert Reference Group and Steering Committee are available on the ARC website

The Review agencies have worked closely with stakeholders to consult and refine changes across a range of areas. Areas of significant change include:  

  • Indigenous Research

Indigenous research has been a focus of this review involving significant engagement with the Indigenous research communities in Australia and New Zealand. There was strong feedback from stakeholders that Indigenous research was not adequately captured in the previous classification and that this resulted in major gaps in information for decision-makers. Indigenous research being classified appropriately will ensure that this important area of research is better recognised. 

  • Technology

There was strong consensus that the old Division 10, Technology, did not work well for researchers and the research areas it contained, predominantly biotechnology. The updated classification reflects this. 

  • Medical and Health Sciences

Medical and Health Sciences is another area where the research community advocated for significant changes, particularly due to the size and diversity of this research Division. Consistent with views of stakeholders this has been addressed to ensure this area of research is captured more accurately.

Over the coming years, the new ANZSRC classification will assist the ARC with administering a range of its programs, including the National Competitive Grants Program, Excellence in Research for Australia and Engagement and Impact Assessment. The ARC will work closely with stakeholders about when and how the revised ANZSRC will be implemented under these individual programs once the classification has been released.

The updated ANZSRC provides the research community with a classification that is contemporary and that reflects the changes in research practices over the past decade. The ARC would like to acknowledge and thank all who have participated in the review.  

For more information about ANZSRC Review please visit the ARC website.