Resources - Capability Statement

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Support the exploration of traditional resources (metals, minerals, coal and gas), rare earth elements and groundwater and develop new technologies and knowledge to allow safe, environmentally sensitive and economically viable resource extraction.


Key facts for the Resources Priority

  • It is estimated that approximately $200 million of the $2.65 billion supporting national priorities is allocated directly to the Resources Priority area.*
  • In terms of citation impact, as an indicator of research quality, Australian research on this Priority ranks:
    • 2nd out of 11 when compared against selected Asia Pacific countries **
    • 5th out of 15 when compared to selected European countries, Canada, New Zealand and USA.***
  • 51 per cent of Australian publications are produced with an international co-author.

*  Data on two key initiatives – university research block grants and the R&D taxincentive – are not collected in a way that supports analysis against priorities.
** Selected Asia Pacific countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
*** Selected European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Current research strengths

Australia has a strong record in high-quality fundamental geoscience research and has been the source of a range of new technologies or components of technologies mainly focused in mining equipment, technology and services (METS) research.


Practical challenges

  1. Fundamental understanding of the physical state of the Australian crust, its resource endowment and recovery.
  2. Knowledge of environmental issues associated with resource extraction.
  3. Lowering the risk to sedimentary basins and marine environments due to resource extraction.
  4. Technologies to optimise yield through effective and efficient resource extraction, processing and waste management.


Action within this Priority will support R&D that will improve Australia’s mineral exploration capability and advance development of extraction and processing technologies. It will assist Australia to overcome current research weaknesses and take advantage of strengths by:

  • supporting high-quality, well-targeted, complex-system research to understand and identify mineral systems
  • improving our understanding of Australian soils and groundwater and the environmental impact of resources extraction
  • developing a better appreciation of the views of traditional owners in regards to resource exploration and extraction

International Citation Comparison, 2010 to 2014

International Citation Comparison, 2010 to 2014

For this Priority, each circle represents one of the comparator countries, grouped into region by colour: circle size represents number of publications, while circle placement indicates the country’s weighted citations relative to Australia. Data are from Thomson Reuters InCites, with the Priority identified by a keyword search.

Australian Government Expenditure on Science and Research Priorities

Australian Government Expenditure on Science and Research Priorities

The Australian Government invests $9.7 billion in science, research and innovation. Approximately $2.65 billion of this investment can be attributed to research aligned to the nine Science and Research priorities. Data on university block grants and the R&D tax incentive – two key initiatives that have critical roles in supporting strategic, mission-directed research - are not collected in a way that supports analysis against the priorities.

Sources: 2015-16 Science, Research and Innovation Budget Tables; Research Strategies Australia, Science and Research Priorities and Practical Challenges, May 2015.

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities

Australia’s Science and Research Priorities identify areas that are of immediate and critical importance to the nation and its place in the world. They help align our research to industry and will make sure that we capitalise on our comparative advantages and address challenges.

The Australian Government will use the Priorities to guide a proportion of its research investment to areas of critical need and national importance. This capability snapshot is a vital step to make sure that we get this strategic investment right – it is about understanding what we spend now, what we are good at and where we need to improve.

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