Review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification

Submissions closed: 10 February 2020, 5pm

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ) have now completed the review of the ANZSRC.

Review outcomes

The review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC 2020) is now complete. 

The ANZSRC Review Outcomes Paper details the review process and outcomes including a summary of changes. Note: Section 5 of the Outcomes Paper has been revised, and additional detail has been added for clarity.

ANZSRC 2020 includes new Divisions for Indigenous studies (in Fields of Research) and Indigenous (in Socio-Economic Objectives), as well as newly defined FoR Divisions for Biomedical and Clinical Sciences and Health Sciences and newly defined SEO Divisions for Environmental Management and Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards.

Specifically the changes include:

  • New Divisions have been created for Indigenous research in both the Socio-Economic Objectives (SEO) and Fields of Research (FoR) classifications. Indigenous research has been a focus of this review, involving significant engagement with Indigenous research communities in New Zealand and Australia. Indigenous research being classified appropriately will ensure that this important area of research is better recognised.
  • Medical and Health Sciences has been divided into two more focused Divisions in the new FoR classification, and the Technology Division has been removed, in line with advice from researchers and users of the classification.
  • The Sector level of the SEO classification has been removed to streamline the classification. The original Environment division has been divided into two more focussed Divisions (Environmental management and Environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards) in the new SEO classification, also in line with advice from researchers and users of the classification.

The review is the outcome of a collaborative review project between the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Research Council, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Stats NZ. It was undertaken to update the classification to reflect changes in research and development activity that have occurred since the joint classification was first released in 2008.

A wide range of Australian and New Zealand stakeholders and topic experts have been consulted in relation to the content and structure of ANZSRC 2020 as well as to identify new and emerging areas of research and development. More details about the consultation and submission process can be found below.  

The outcome from this review is the development of an updated, accurate statistical classification system with sufficient robustness to allow for long-term usage and implementation.

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)


The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Statistics New Zealand (Stats NZ) have published a consultation draft of proposed revisions to the ANZSRC classifications as part of the review.

Details can be found in the following documents. Note these documents are no longer current, but included here as a record of the consultation process:

The submission process

Feedback was sought on:

  • Whether the revised classifications accurately captured the current New Zealand and Australian research landscape.
  • Whether any errors or ambiguities were introduced in the drafting process.
  • Concordance between the old and revised ANZSRC classifications.

Submissions in support of changes were also welcomed.

Submissions closed on Monday 10 February 2020.

Purpose of the review

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 undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. The three constituent classifications included in the ANZSRC are: Type of Activity (ToA), Fields of Research (FoR), and Socio-economic Objective (SEO). A review of these classifications was required to enable 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.

How the review was conducted

The Review was led by the ANZSRC Review Steering Committee.  This committee comprised representatives from us, Stats NZ, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Steering Committee’s role was to oversee the review, encourage implementation of the revised ANZSRC, and manage project governance.

Public and targeted consultations occurred concurrently in Australia and in New Zealand.  The submissions received were reviewed by the Committee and expert reference groups comprised of statistical and research classification experts. 

Public consultations

The Australian Research Council conducted a public consultation in Australia and concurrently we led one in New Zealand.  The purpose of the public consultation was to collect stakeholder views on the Discussion Paper Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification Review 2019.

The public consultation period was 25 February to 7 June 2019. Submissions had to be received by close of business Friday 7 June 2019 to be considered as a part of the draft ANZSRC.

We received 23 New Zealand-specific submissions as part of the review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC).

Of those who made submissions, 13 gave permission for them to be published. We considered all submissions and have nowput forward recommendations for further consultation with the sector. Any revisions to ANZSRC in response to the review are expected to be released mid-2020.

View the published submissions [PDF, 5.9 MB]

Contact us

Direct any questions regarding the review to:

Last updated: 30 June 2020