Review Terms of Reference


The National Survey of Research Commercialisation (NSRC) is a national data collection of Australian research commercialisation activity. The Department currently conducts the survey biennially to track performance of universities, medical research institutes and Publicly Funded Research Organisations (PFROs) on a range of commercialisation measures including intellectual property, research contracts and consultancies, and skills development and transfer.

The NSRC is not legislated and is untied to funding or administration provisions. The Australian research community completes the survey on a voluntary basis and data is used for broad performance information and benchmarking purposes.

The first NSRC collection was conducted in 2000 with the aim of establishing a performance framework to measure the commercial return of public research investment in Australia comparable to international models. Performance indicators and respondents in the 2000 collection comprise the time series data that now spans 2000-2011. The collection also includes short data sets based on measures introduced over various survey iterations.

It is timely to conduct a review the NSRC. The function has never been formally reviewed and over recent collections, the scope of the survey has expanded to include a number of new and disaggregated questions. Sector feedback suggests the survey is time consuming and administratively burdensome in its current form and technical limitations with the survey instrument may be undermining accessibility and data integrity.

From a policy perspective, it is also important to consider how the survey might be refocused so it aligns with current and emerging priorities for research commercialisation in Australia while remaining comparable to international models.

A review of the NSRC will be conducted during 2014-15 to identify options to streamline, refresh and refocus this important national data collection.


The Review of National Survey of Research Commercialisation will provide advice to government on policy and technical changes that will ensure future collections are aligned with domestic priorities and international performance models, while improving data integrity, usability and access. This will include a focus on:

  • Aligning the survey with emerging research commercialisation policy and performance measurement trends in Australia and overseas;
  • Streamlining the survey to achieve improved accessibility and reduce administrative burden; and
  • Improving data integrity and usability through changed survey design and collection methods.


The review will be undertaken using a variety of methods including desktop research, interviews and roundtable discussions with policy and technical stakeholders and public submissions to a discussion paper. If required, policy and technical advisory groups will be established to inform data analysis.

The consultation, data analysis and report drafting phases will be conducted in late 2014 and early 2015 with a final report provided to the Minister by mid 2015. Following the Minister’s approval, a new survey instrument will be developed and implemented in late 2015.

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