Higher education research


Supply, demand and characteristics of the higher degree by research population in Australia

Publication Date



This research has been undertaken for the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research by researchers from the Australian Council for Educational Research. It was conducted during May and June 2009. Its focus is on identifying the higher research degree (HDR) population in Australia, examining the characteristics of this population, and the levels of demand and supply for people with these qualifications now and into the future. This research also catalogues a number of existing data sources that can be utilised for research into this population and identifies key gaps in the current collections which inhibit some areas of analyses into this level of qualification. The HDR qualifications – the doctorate by research (or PhD) and the masters by research – provide important skills and knowledge that can be effectively used to build the innovation and research capacity of the Australian economy. As the developed world becomes more reliant on knowledge as a vital part of economic growth and development, the importance of highly skilled workers who can create, disseminate and use new knowledge becomes integral. The role of those with the skills and competencies provided through higher research degrees is therefore of increasing importance to the future development of the Australian economy.