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ERIC Number: EJ1162106
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-1590
Allocation of R&D Equipment Expenditure Based on Organisation Discipline Profiles
Wells, Xanthe E.; Foster, Nigel; Finch, Adam; Elsum, Ian
Journal of Research Administration, v48 n2 p93-110 Fall 2017
Sufficient and state-of-the-art research equipment is one component required to maintain the research competitiveness of a R&D organisation. This paper describes an approach to inform more optimal allocation of equipment expenditure levels in a large and diverse R&D organisation, such as CSIRO. CSIRO is Australia's national science agency, is comprised of individual research units and conducts R&D across many disciplines. CSIRO's research equipment expenditure allocations have been to some extent based on both previous years' expenditures and current operating performance. In an effort to refine this process, a method was developed to consider the difference in expenditure profiles across research areas and calculate a benchmark (or expected level) for research units within CSIRO. The approach also allowed CSIRO to compare its actual equipment expenditure levels to benchmark (or expected) levels derived from expenditure data from US academic institutions. This comparison found that CSIRO's overall level of expenditure was below the benchmark levels and assisted in guiding the allocation of available funds more fairly across research units with different equipment needs. Several datasets were used for this analysis. R&D equipment expenditure patterns across disciplines are available for USA academic institutions and the differences in levels between disciplines was calculated. For example, in the Biological Sciences equipment expenditure is 3% of total R&D expenditure, whereas in Physics it is 3-fold greater. Using research publication subject classifications, discipline profiles were constructed for the entire CSIRO and each of its units. Publication subject categories were also mapped to the research fields used by the USA source. These datasets were combined to determine an overall benchmark value for CSIRO and each unit. The value varied by a factor of 2.2 fold across individual CSIRO units. Actual equipment expenditure for CSIRO was determined using internal finance records. This was compared to the benchmark levels and some units were below the calculated benchmark values and a few were close to or above. The results of this study were considered by CSIRO managers when deciding equipment expenditure allocations and the implications of the findings for the organisation are discussed. Furthermore, it was found that there are very few studies on research equipment expenditure readily available and it is hoped that this study will encourage further discussion and research on this topic.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A