Assessing activities

Regardless of how innovative and ground-breaking your product or service might be, that doesn’t mean that it is an eligible R&D project in the view of the R&DTI rules.

In fact, for R&DTI the assessment is made at an activity level, and the project is just the context within which the activity is contributing to the overall objectives. That doesn’t mean that a ‘project’ cannot be completely eligible, but it should not be assumed to be so just because parts of it meet the R&DTI eligibility criteria. There are several AusIndustry guidance documents based around this principle, some of which are industry specific (with regards to the examples used – the rules are the same regardless of industry).

Core activities are where the nuts, bolts, volts and code cuts are used to resolve technical challenges. The legislation describes a requirement for a systematic method based on the principles of science. In other words, trial and error or retrospective classification of failed development objectives is not acceptable – the intent of the activity must be to develop new knowledge that is resolved through assessment of results against a hypothesis or theory of how the problem could be solved.

The formation of a hypothesis within the description of the activity is a key requirement to meet the approval of AusIndustry, and documenting this start point and how it will be investigated or tested, should be recorded in documentation kept throughout the year.