Higher education and research in the State of Victoria


Higher Education in the State of Victoria

Victoria has an extensive network of universities and technical and further education (TAFE) institutions. While the Victorian higher education sector is a national and international industry, it is highly significant at the state and regional levels. Higher education is a major contributor to regional economies and labour markets, and is an integrated part of Victoria’s education supply chain, linking schools, vocational education and training and universities.



There are eight state-based universities in Victoria and the multi-jurisdictional Australian Catholic University National, with campuses in Melbourne and Ballarat, a provincial city of Victoria.

The provision of university services is a shared responsibility between the Australian Government and the State and Territory Governments. In the higher education sector, universities have a high level of legal, budgetary and strategic autonomy, underpinned by their establishing statues, however, their institutional autonomy has traditionally been constrained by their level of dependence on public investment. For example, about 40% of their funding comes from Commonwealth Government grants. This is in addition to the Victorian Government endowment of land and property assets for the universities to set up their campuses.



Student Enrolment (2008)

Deakin University


La Trobe University


Monash University


RMIT University


The University of Melbourne


Swinburne University


University of Ballarat 


Victoria University


Australian Catholic University National (Victoria)

14,512 (national)


Vocational education and training (VET)

There are some 1,300 providers of vocational education and training (VET) services. These include the 14 TAFE institutions and technical and further education (TAFE) division of four universities (RMIT University, Swinburne University, University of Ballarat and Victoria Universiry), in addition to a large number of private-sector registered training organisations. The total number of students in the VET system is about 510,000. The TAFE sector has 100 campuses spread across the state. The VET sector derives 47% of recurrent funding from the Victorian Government, 17% from the Commonwealth Government, and 26% from fee for service activities.


Research in the State of Victoria

Publicly funded research is for the most part funded by the Australian Government in Victoria and is conducted in universities, independent medical research institutes, State-supported primary industry research centres, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) divisions, and private sector facilities. 

Victoria has world class scientific and research infrastructure as a result of significant state government investment since 1999 that has developed major research precincts in Melbourne, including the commissioning of the Australian Synchrotron in 2007, which by the end of 2009 it will become the largest scientific user facility in the southern hemisphere.


The table below provides key research and development (R&D) indicators for Victoria.

 R&D Indicator   Measure (2006-07)
 Gross expenditure on R&D  2.3% of gross state product (GSP)
 Business expenditure on R&D  1.20% of GSP
 Business R&D personnel   22 per 10,000 population
 Government expenditure on R&D  0.30% of GSP
 Higher education expenditure on R&D  26% of the Australian total


In addition to numerous research centres established in the universities, there are also notable research institutions based in Victoria, including:

  • 16 medical research institutes
  • 19 R&D centres of expertise across 10 science capability platforms
  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • A number of Cooperative Research Centres (CRC)
  • The Australian Synchrotron



Businesses with significant R&D centres based in Victoria include NEC – Next Generation Broadband R&D Centre, Siemens, SPC Ardmona, Pfizer Animal Health and General Motors Holden.



Further reading and useful links State of Victoria start page

State of Victoria in brief | HE and regions start page


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