Purpose - Drawing on the resource-based view (RBV), the purpose of this paper is to develop a framework and instrument to measure the organisational capabilities of university schools/ departments. In doing so, this study provides evidence of the way competitive resources are bundled to generate organisational capabilities that give university schools/departments a sustainable competitive advantage. Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire to measure the resources that contribute to the capabilities of university schools/departments was developed. Constructs were determined, and the questionnaire was refined based on an analysis of responses from 166 Heads of schools/departments across all 39 Australian public universities. Findings - Heads conceive of the development of capabilities within their schools/departments along the core operating functions of research, teaching, and networking. Reliability and supplementary analysis confirm these constructs have strong convergent and discriminant validity as well as internal consistency. Research limitations/implications - The findings confirm that effective management and coordination of research, teaching, and networking with important stakeholders are keys to success. The framework and instrument developed in this paper also provides the opportunity to investigate university performance through the perspective of the RBV, which will enhance the understanding of the determinants of universities performance. Practical implications - The framework and questionnaire developed in this study can be utilised by Heads as a diagnostic tool to gain an understanding of their department s/school s organisational capabilities in the areas of research, teaching, and networking. Originality/value - This paper is the first study to develop a framework and questionnaire to measure organisational capabilities for university academic schools/departments.