Methodology Notes

Overview

The National Survey of Research Commercialisation (NSRC) is a voluntary national survey on the research engagement and commercialisation activities of publicly funded research organisations (PFROs) in Australia. It is the primary source of information available in Australia on the publicly funded research sector’s efforts to collaborate with industry to transfer knowledge and commercialise research. The survey has been conducted bi-annually since 2000 and moved to an annual collection cycle with the 2014 collection.

The target population for the NSRC consists of organisations that:

  • undertake research and development activities;
  • receive public funding for research;
  • are not-for-profit; and
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).

This target population primarily includes universities, medical research institutes (MRI) and publicly funded research agencies (PFRA), although other select PFROs are also eligible to participate.

Methodology

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science administered the 2014 NSRC data collection between 18 September and 30 October 2015 using Survey Monkey. Data collected was for the 2014 calendar year.

Sixty eight institutions were approached to participate with 63 providing returns: representing a 93% response rate. Returns were provided by: seven PFRAs, 37 universities and 19 MRIs. Extensions were granted to a small number of organisations.

The 2014 survey population makeup included first time participation by the Australian Astronomical Observatory and the National Measurement Instrument (both PFRAs) and the Hudson Institute of Medical Research (an MRI). Two universities chose not to participate (Bond University and the University of Canberra) and a number of MRIs were dropped from the survey as they had been disbanded, merged or were otherwise no longer in scope. The 2014 NSRC Participants are listed in full.

The 2014 survey comprised 16 main questions, 9 supplementary questions and an optional case study. Patents data that used to be collected in the NSRC will, for 2014 data onwards, be sourced from IP Australia’s Data Analytics Hub. To avoid double handing, in 2014, data on start-up company formation and equity was collected through an administrative process linked to the Department’s IP Australia project.

On completion of the survey, institutions were provided with a PDF copy of their validated return.

Unit Record Data

Survey returns were exported from Survey Monkey into an Excel spreadsheet and checked for consistency. Where inconsistent response or incomplete data was identified, respondents were contacted to validate and where necessary adjust their returns. The raw survey data has been uploaded into a 2014 unit record data sheet and into the 2000-14 data sheet. One institution has been omitted from publishing in the unit record data due to confidentiality issues although its data will be used in the compilation of aggregated data items.

The reporting period covers the calendar year 2014 or financial year 2014/15, depending on the institution’s normal reporting period.  Where an institution reported on a financial year basis, values were converted into a calendar year by averaging values reported on the financial years. All the dollar values reported in the unit record data are as reported for the relevant year.

For more information on the collection process including definition of questions, please refer to the NSRC 2014 Instructions and Definitions.

Time series

Nine metrics are included in the NSRC time series based on the 2014 NSRC data collection:

  • Invention disclosures
  • LOAs executed
  • LOAs yielding income
  • LOA gross income
  • LOA income paid to others
  • Start-up companies formed during the year
  • Start-up companies operational at year end dependent on assignment of technology
  • Start-up companies operational at year end with institutional equity stakes
  • Value of equity holdings

The NSRC time series includes metrics that have remained consistent over the span of the data collection. For each metric, the unit record files from previous surveys were scrutinised and inconsistencies or errors corrected in consultation with the respondent. There were less metrics in the 2014 time series compared to the previous NSRC time series as the definition of dedicated commercialisation staff 1changed in 2014 (this definition will be revisited in next survey) and patents data previously collected through the NSRC is now sourced from the IP Australia’s Analytics Hub.

To be included in the time series, an institution must have a response rate of greater than or equal to 70% for the nine metrics over 2000-14. Data coverage is calculated for each institution by counting the number of years for which a usable response had been provided. Blank, unknown and not applicable responses are not incorporated. The response count for each institution is then expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible count of 135 (that is, 15 years of usable data multiplied by nine metrics). For example, if an institution did not respond for the year 2000, but responded in the years 2001-14 to a sufficient number of questions to make the 2000-14 overall response rate equal or greater than 70%, the institution was then included in the time series. This means that the time series cohort and values vary in every NSRC data release. The 55 organisations are included in the 2014 NSRC Time Series Cohort.

The time series dataset for the 2014 NSRC data collection will be available for all users.  A summary of time series metrics for 2014 NSRC data collection will again be published.  Financial data in the time series table has been adjusted using the 2014 chain volume measure. 2

International

The NSRC continues to benchmark Australia’s performance internationally. In 2014, data was available for benchmarking with US, Canada, the UK and, for the first time, Israel. Australia had fewer metrics available for international data comparisons in 2014 compared to previous years because of the changes in the survey as mentioned above (i.e. expanded definition of dedicated commercialisation staff, patent data collected via IP Australia’s Analytics Hub).  These metrics are: number of invention disclosures per USD 100m research expenditure, number of LOA’s executed per USD 100m research expenditure, ratio of LOA income to total research expenditure (%) and number of start-up company formed per USD 100m research expenditure.

Comparative data is drawn from the following sources:

  • National Survey of Research Commercialisation (2004 -2014)
  • Statistics Access for Tech Transfer (STATT) online database for Canada and the US (2004-2014)
  • US Licensing Activity Survey Highlights (2014)
  • Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey (2004-2013), Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Central Bureau Statistics, Israel (special request)

Research expenditure data provided by the 2014 NSRC cohort was used to calculate international research expenditure data. In most cases this data correlates with information provided by respondents to the Australian Bureau of Statistics every two years on research and development expenditure.

International data has been prepared by comparing research expenditure and LOA income received from providers as reported in the local currency for each country. The data was then converted to US dollars by dividing expenditure by the purchasing power parities developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development for each year respectively. This method was also used to calculate start-up company formation and invention disclosure metrics where research expenditure was used to normalise the data.

Data Publication

Various NSRC datasets will be published on the department’s website. Tableau visualisation software will be available to assist with data visualisation and analysis. Supplementary data will be published. The main survey data products associated with the 2014 NSRC data collection include:

  • 2014 unit record
  • 2000-14 unit record
  • 2000-14 Time series table
  • 2014 time series historical dataset
  • 2012-2014 Summary of Metrics table
  • 2012-2014 International Comparison table; and
  • 2012-14 Data Summary.

2014 NSRC Participants*

PFRA

  • Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) 
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 
  • DST Group
  • National Measurement Institute (NMI)
  • NICTA

MRI

  • ANZAC Research Institute
  • Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Hudson Institute of Medical Research
  • Institute for Breathing and Sleep
  • Kolling Institute of Medical Research
  • Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health Ltd 
  • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
  • Neuroscience Research Australia
  • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
  • Telethon Kids Institute 
  • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Women's & Children's Health Research Institute Inc
  • Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

Universities

  • Australian Catholic University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • CQUniversity
  • Curtin University of Technology
  • Deakin University
  • Edith Cowan University
  • Federation University of Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • Latrobe University
  • Macquarie University
  • Monash University
  • Murdoch University
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Swinburne University of technology
  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of Newcastle (Newcastle Innovation)
  • The University of New England
  • The University of New South Wales (NewSouth Innovations)
  • The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of the Sunshine Coast
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • Victoria University

*One institution has been omitted from list due to confidentiality

2014 NSRC Time Series Cohort*

PFRA

  • Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) 
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • DST Group

MRI

  • Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
  • Cancer Council Victoria
  • Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology
  • Florey Neuroscience Institute
  • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research
  • Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health Ltd 
  • Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
  • Neuroscience Research Australia 
  • Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research
  • Telethon Kids Institute
  • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Women’s & Children’s Health Research Institute Inc

Universities

  • Australian Catholic University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Curtin University of Technology
  • Deakin University
  • Edith Cowan University
  • Federation University of Australia
  • Flinders University
  • Griffith University
  • James Cook University
  • Latrobe University
  • Macquarie University
  • Monash University
  • Murdoch University
  • Newcastle Innovation (University of Newcastle)
  • NewSouth Innovations (The University of New South Wales)
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • RMIT University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Swinburne University of technology
  • The Australian National University
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The University of New England
  • The University of Notre Dame Australia
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of Canberra
  • University of South Australia
  • University of Southern Queensland
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • University of the Sunshine Coast
  • University of Western Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • Victoria University

*One institution has been omitted from list due to confidentiality


1 In the In 2014 data collection, dedicated commercialisation staff had been expanded to refer not only to those who are specifically involved with commercialisation activities, but also to those dedicated marketing staff who handled marketing issues in a commercialisation context, such as marketing of technology in support of commercialisation; industry community engagement staff who initiated, negotiated and managed contracts and consultancies or organised community information sessions; and other commercialisation support staff who prepared for example, the drafting of licence agreements and negotiations in support of commercialisation.

2 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Australian System of National Accounts 2011-12, cat. no 5204.0

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