The federal government will tip nearly $3 billion into university research programs in the 2021 academic year for student scholarships, academic salaries, laboratories and research equipment.

Education Minister Dan Tehan says the $2.99 billion in funding will provide support to more than 40,000 Masters and PhD research students in 2021.

Research funding to NSW and Victorian universities will surpass $800 million apiece, with the University of Melbourne alone receiving $321 million.

Queensland universities will receive more than $500 million in total.

Mr Tehan said the government was also investing $5.8 million to design a scheme that accelerates the commercialisation of research, and $900 million to incentivise university engagement with industry.

“We want our universities to get better at turning research into new products and innovations that drive job creation, business opportunities and productivity gains,” Mr Tehan said in a statement on Monday.

“Our strong investment in research and development will help ensure Australian researchers can turn ideas into new knowledge that will support our economic recovery and help create employment opportunities.”

The government will spend $13 billion on university research over four years.

The research funding announcement comes after laws that push up the cost of humanities courses while lowering the cost of “job-ready” qualifications like nursing and engineering passed parliament in October.

Labor and the Greens opposed the changes, which come into force in 2021.