ANZSRC review outcomes released

Published: 30 June 2020

A review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) system has created new divisions for indigenous research, and changes to existing divisions for medical and health sciences and environmental research.

The 2 year review was led by representatives from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Stats NZ, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

The changes include:

  • New divisions being created for Indigenous research in both the Socio-Economic Objectives (SEO) and Fields of Research (FoR) classifications.
  • Medical and Health Sciences being divided into two more focused divisions in the new FoR classification, and the removal of the Technology division.
  • The removal of the sector level of the SEO classification, and the separation of the original Environment division into two more focused divisions (Environmental management and Environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards) in the new SEO classification.

There was a high level of involvement of the sector throughout the review process, with a combined 237 submissions on the first consultation round, and another 238 combined submissions on the draft. In addition, the creation of new divisions for Indigenous research, and the translation of all the Māori codes into Te Reo by Ian Cormack of the Taumatua Māori Language Services, has been particularly welcomed.

Professor Tahu Kukutai, who made submissions on behalf of the Māori Data Sovereignty Network Te Mana Raraunga, sees the introduction of an Indigenous Studies division as a critical step toward strengthening Māori research infrastructure. 

"Māori and Indigenous Studies scholars have long struggled for disciplinary recognition - the exclusion of Indigenous Studies from prior classifications rendered us invisible. This change signals a maturing of the sector and acknowledgement of the significance and contribution of Indigenous scholarship and mātauranga Māori. In a practical sense we will finally have Māori specific data with which to track investments, research impact and collective benefit. While there is more to do to support a flourishing Māori RSI sector, this is a step in the right direction.”

Professor Steven Ratuva, Director Macmillan Brown Centre of Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury, agrees.

“The new classification is quite intellectually transformative and empowering for indigenous research, now that it has been accorded a much more visible and rightful place amongst other disciplines. This has much deeper implications on how indigenous minority cultures and knowledge systems are framed and validated, especially in a neoliberal world where the value of knowledge is often based on how it is commodified in the marketplace.”  

Dr Gerald Rys of the Ministry of Primary Industries, which contributed to the review, is also pleased to see more refinement within the Environmental divisions.

“It’s really important that New Zealand has the ability through the ANZSRC system to categorise our science correctly and show where we are focusing our R&D activity and spend. New Zealand has unique areas of science, such as indigenous plant species and soils that are not prevalent elsewhere. The ANZSRC system also helps scientists around the world understand what we are working on,” he says.

Eileen Basher, General Manager Evidence and Insights at MBIE, says the review outcomes reflect changes in research and development activity that have occurred since the joint classification system was first released in 2008.

“It has enabled ANZSRC to more accurately reflect the contemporary reality of research and experimental development activities in Australia and New Zealand, and support a more consistent approach to categorising and defining those research activities for the production of official statistics and data on research and experimental development,” she says.

More information on ANZSRC and a copy of the review outcomes

The ANZSRC 2020 classifications can be found in Stats NZ’s classification management system Aria as follows:

Field of Research V2(external link)

Socio-Economic Objective V2(external link)

Type of Activity V2(external link)

Differences between the previous and new versions (also on Aria):

Field of Research V1-2(external link)

Socio Economic Activity V1-2(external link)

MBIE media contacts

Phone: 027 442 2141

Last updated: 30 June 2020