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Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Scholarships procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 3 July 2017.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the requirements for scholarships awarded according to the Research Training Program (RTP) and Deakin University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (DUPRS).

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to students applying for or enrolled in a higher degree by research (HDR). The Procedure does not refer to scholarships other than RTP and DUPRS.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) This Procedure is made under Statute 6.1 - University Property, Facilities, Fees and Charges.

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Section 5 - Procedure

RTP scholarships

(5) A Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship awarded by the University may include:

  1. RTP Fees Offset to meet the liability for tuition fees
  2. RTP Stipend paid to students to assist with their living costs while undertaking a HDR
  3. RTP Allowances paid to students to assist with ancillary costs of HDR, including but not limited to:
    1. for overseas students, a standard Overseas Student Health Cover policy approved by the Commonwealth Department of Health and that covers the student and their spouse and dependents (if any)
    2. relocation costs to undertake a HDR.

Scholarship value

(6) The value of the respective parts of the RTP Scholarships are determined by the Commonwealth Government

(7) The DUPRS Stipend is paid at the same rate as the RTP Stipend.

(8) Students who are enrolled on a part-time basis and receive a RTP or DUPRS Stipend will receive a stipend of 50% of the full-time rate. Part-time awards are not usually exempt from taxation and students should seek independent advice on their personal taxation situation.

(9) The value of the RTP and DUPRS Allowances can be viewed on the Deakin scholarship website.

Eligibility for scholarships

(10) To be eligible for a RTP Fees Offset an applicant must not be receiving an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees.

(11) Applicants for a RTP or DUPRS Stipend must have completed at least four years of tertiary education studies and achieved a first class Honours degree or equivalent level of academic achievement as approved by Deakin, and meet all other minimum entry requirements according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment procedure.

(12) To be eligible for a RTP or DUPRS Stipend applicants must not:

  1. have previously held a Commonwealth Government-funded postgraduate research scholarship or DUPRS unless it was terminated within six months of the scholarship payments commencing;
  2. have already completed a degree at the same level as the proposed candidature, or at a higher level;
  3. be receiving an equivalent award, scholarship or salary to undertake the proposed research program where the scholarship or salary provides a benefit greater than 75% of the base RTP or DUPRS Stipend rate. Income unrelated to the student’s course of study or income received for the student’s course of study but not for the purposes of supporting general living costs is not to be taken into account.

(13) To be eligible to receive a RTP or DUPRS Overseas Student Health Cover allowance, an international student must have been awarded a RTP or DUPRS Stipend.

(14) To be eligible for a RTP or DUPRS relocation allowance, the applicant must have been awarded a RTP or DUPRS Stipend and need to relocate to the Melbourne, Geelong or Warrnambool campuses from interstate or overseas to take up the stipend. The University will provide a contribution towards the cost of relocation, including the costs of relocating eligible adults or child/ren. The student must meet the following requirements:

  1. submit the application for relocation allowance within nine months of starting or transferring into the candidature
  2. provide original, hardcopy receipts/invoices in English (or translated in English)
  3. be required to relocate in order to study the HDR course at the University
  4. only the cost for one journey can be claimed
  5. expenses for visa/s, accommodation, rental bond or meals incurred during the course of travel cannot be reimbursed.

Application and selection

(15) Prospective and current students must apply for a RTP or DUPRS Stipend through the approved application process.

(16) Current students can apply for a RTP or DUPRS Stipend and will be assessed by the Faculty/Institute. Current students may not apply after they have completed more than:

  1. three years of their course (or part-time equivalent) for doctoral students
  2. two years of the course (or part-time equivalent) for masters students.

(17) RTP and DUPRS Stipends will be awarded as the result of a competitive selection process outlined in the ranking guidelines on the University’s website. The selection process will be fair and available equally to all students who meet the eligibility criteria. 

(18) Up to 10% of RTP Scholarships may be awarded to international students.

(19) RTP or DUPRS Stipend offers will be in writing and include:

  1. advice on the types of assistance and support being offered
  2. the conditions and period of support of the stipend
  3. the estimated annual value of Commonwealth Government support provided for each type of RTP Scholarship support.

Enrolment

(20) Students receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend will be enrolled as on-campus full-time students. Part-time or off-campus enrolment may be approved at the discretion of the University where an applicant is able to demonstrate significant carer commitment or a medical condition that precludes them from enrolling full-time. Off-campus enrolment may be approved where the research of the student requires it. Part-time or off-campus enrolment will be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement.

(21) Commencing students must start their studies according to the date prescribed in the RTP or DUPRS Stipend letter of offer or the offer will lapse. Extensions of no more than twelve months may be approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement in exceptional circumstances. 

(22) The University must advise a student receiving a RTP Scholarship or DUPRS of any changes to scholarship support.

Duration

(23) A RTP Fees Offset may be awarded for:

  1. a maximum of four years (or part-time equivalent) for students enrolled in a doctorate
  2. a maximum of two years (or part-time equivalent) if the student is undertaking a research Master degree.

(24) A RTP Fees Offset will be extended by the duration of any intermission taken and may be extended as part of an extension approved according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Academic Progress procedure.

(25) A RTP or DUPRS Stipend may be awarded for:

  1. a maximum of three years (or part-time equivalent) for students enrolled in a doctorate
  2. a maximum of two years (or part-time equivalent) if the student is undertaking a research Master degree.

(26) The duration of a RTP or DUPRS Stipend will be reduced by any periods of study undertaken towards the degree prior to commencement of the stipend or during suspension of the stipend, and will be increased by any periods of approved paid sick or parental leave.

(27) An extension to the RTP or DUPRS Stipend of up to six months may be granted for doctoral students where the research has been delayed due to circumstances that are beyond the student’s control and relate to the conduct of the research rather than of a personal nature (including illness or work commitments). The student must apply for the extension before the end of the stipend and must be making satisfactory progress at the time of the application. 

Payments and employment

(28) The University will make fortnightly RTP or DUPRS Stipend payments in arrears directly to the student’s Australian bank account.

(29) A student receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend is permitted to undertake a limited amount of part-time employment, provided the work does not interfere with the progress of the research degree. Approval must be sought for periods of part-time work amounting to more than six hours per week averaged over a year. The Head of Academic Unit must certify that the work does not interfere with the progress of the research and the statement must be lodged with the HDR Candidature Manager.

(30) Students may continue to receive their RTP or DUPRS Stipend during industry placements, research internships, professional practice activities or other similar enrichment activities where the activities are unpaid.

Resources for students

(31) Students receiving a RTP Scholarship will receive at least the minimum resources specified in the Minimum resources for research degree students.

(32) Students receiving a RTP Scholarship will be supervised according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Supervision procedure.

Changes to enrolment

(33) Any change to the student’s project must be approved according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment procedure. Changes to the project or principal supervision will not normally be approved unless exceptional circumstances arise during the tenure of the stipend.

(34) Students transferring to the University from another institution who are in receipt of an RTP Stipend may continue to receive the stipend if they are eligible under the competitive selection process as determined by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement.

(35) Students who are approved to change from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time will have their RTP or DUPRS Stipend adjusted accordingly.

(36) Students who are approved to transfer between research degrees will have their RTP or DUPRS Stipend adjusted accordingly with the duration based on the commencement date of their initial HDR enrolment and allowing for any intermissions.

Leave entitlements

(37) Students are entitled to receive up to 20 working days’ paid recreation leave and 10 working days’ paid sick leave for each year of the RTP or DUPRS Stipend (full-time equivalent). These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the stipend but will be forfeited when the stipend is terminated. The agreement of the student’s supervisor must be obtained before recreation leave is taken.

(38) A student not able to work on their research apart from the leave described in clause 37 must apply for intermission according to the Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) Admission, Selection and Enrolment procedure. This will be leave without pay unless the requirements of clauses 40-45 are met.

(39) Students who receive RTP or DUPRS Stipend payments during a period of leave without pay will be required to repay monies received they are not entitled to. Any overpayment will either be automatically recovered in full upon return from leave, or the student will be invoiced for payment.

(40) Students are entitled to receive additional paid sick leave of up to a total of 60 working days during the duration of the RTP or DUPRS Stipend for periods of illness where the student has insufficient sick leave entitlements available under clause 37 provided that a medical certificate has been provided by the student to the University. A medical certificate must be provided to receive this entitlement.

(41) Sick leave entitlements (including additional sick leave) may also be used to cover leave for students with caring responsibilities for immediate family. A medical certificate is required for absences of carer’s leave in excess of three consecutive working days or when absences of less than three working days exceed a maximum of five working days in any academic year. For absences up to two weeks per year, family carer’s leave must be approved by the student’s principal supervisor. The notification requirements for sick leave in excess of two weeks per year also apply where that leave is taken as carer’s leave. 

(42) Students who have completed 12 months of their RTP or DUPRS Stipend are entitled to a maximum of 60 working days paid parental leave during the duration of the RTP or DUPRS Stipend if they have, or will have, primary responsibility for the care of a newborn child during the leave. Students who are adopting a child who is at the date of adoption 12 months of age or older are entitled to paid leave for a continuous period of six weeks commencing from the date of placement.

(43) Students who are partners of those giving birth or adopting while receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend are entitled to a period of five working days’ parenting leave at the time of the birth or adoption if they:

  1. have completed 12 months of their RTP Stipend and 
  2. will not have primary responsibility for the care of the child during the leave.

(44) Any claim under clauses 42-43 must be accompanied by one of:

  1. a medical certificate indicating when the student is due to give birth
  2. a birth certificate for the child
  3. a statutory declaration from the student that they are the parent of the child, or have accepted primary responsibility for the ongoing care of the child during the leave.

(45) Parental leave claims must be approved as part of an application for intermission. 

(46) Students on intermission must notify the HDR Candidature Manager of their return to candidature no less than fourteen days prior to the approved date of return. Failure to do so may result in payments being delayed. 

Research overseas or at other institutions

(47) A student receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend may be permitted to undertake fieldwork or research overseas when this is considered essential for the completion of the student’s course by the student’s principal or executive supervisor and Head of Academic Unit.  In such cases the award may be received while the student is overseas for up to 12 months, or in special cases for up to 18 months.  Paid overseas study will be permitted only if adequate supervision can be maintained and the student remains enrolled at the University.  Applications for overseas study must be lodged with the HDR Candidature Manager prior to commencement of the overseas work and approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement.

(48) A student receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend will not generally be allowed to undertake fieldwork or research overseas in the first six months of their candidature. 

(49) The University may permit a student receiving a RTP or DUPRS Stipend to conduct part of the research at other organisation/s provided that the student remains enrolled at the University and adequate support and supervision can be arranged.

Other enrolment

(50) A student may not engage in any other academic course of study leading to a qualification that is not an essential part of their HDR program.

Termination and review

(51) The RTP or DUPRS Stipend will be terminated (or the offer of stipend withdrawn) if any of the following criteria apply:

  1. the student ceases to meet the eligibility criteria specified in clauses 10-14 other than during a period in which an intermission has been approved
  2. the student does not commence by the specified date
  3. the stipend duration has expired
  4. the student dies, is incapacitated or withdraws from the course
  5. the student does not resume study following a period of intermission or absence from campus or make arrangements to extend that intermission or absence
  6. the student has not complied with the requirements of this Procedure, the conditions of their candidature, or the other policies of the University, or for international students, maintained a valid visa to remain in Australia
  7. the student has been found to have committed serious academic or research misconduct, including, but not limited to the provision of false or misleading information.

(52) A RTP or DUPRS Stipend will be terminated immediately if the criteria in clause 51 are met.

(53) Where the student submits their thesis for first examination the stipend will be terminated two weeks after the thesis is submitted.

(54) Where a RTP or DUPRS Scholarship has been terminated, the student may request a review of the decision by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement. The decision of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Research Training and Performance Enhancement is final.

(55) Students who have concerns or complaints about any actions taken under this Procedure may ask to have the matter resolved according to the Student Complaints Resolution procedure.

Acknowledgement of RTP Scholarship

(56) Students who receive any type of RTP Scholarship must acknowledge the Commonwealth’s contribution to their work in any publications that relate to the research project carried out during their degree. This requirement extends to the student’s supervisors or other parties who publish research arising from the student’s work.

(57) Acknowledgement according to clause 56 must be in a prominent place and in an appropriate form and must include the mention of the student’s support through an ‘Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship’.

Continuing students

(58) Domestic students supported or offered support under the former Research Training Scheme must be offered RTP Fee Offset support for a period necessary to provide at least equivalent support to that which the student would have received under the Research Training Scheme.

(59) Overseas students supported or offered support under the former International Postgraduate Research Scholarships must be offered RTP Fee Offset and RTP Allowance support for a period necessary to provide at least equivalent support to that which the student would have received under the International Postgraduate Research Scholarships.

(60) Students supported or offered support under the former Australian Postgraduate Awards must be offered RTP Stipend and RTP Allowance support for a period necessary to provide at least equivalent support to that which the student would have received under the Australian Postgraduate Awards.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(61) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. continuing student: based on course of study commencement dates (not the commencement of the RTP Scholarship).
  2. eligible adult or child: a person in respect of whom the scholarship awardee has assumed financial and/or legal responsibility and who moves residence with the scholarship awardee.
  3. higher degrees by research (HDR): academic awards of the University, as specified in Regulation 5.2(2) - Higher Education Award Courses - General
  4. immediate family: a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the Awardee or of a spouse or de facto partner of the Awardee and also includes a person for whom the person has caring responsibilities arising from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship relationship of equivalent status to those listed above.
  5. parental leave: leave related to the birth of a child of the staff member or the staff member's spouse or de facto partner or the placement of a child with the staff member for adoption.
  6. publications: publication or production of material such as books, articles, newsletters or other literary or artistic works.
  7. RTP: Research Training Program as set out in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017.
  8. RTP Allowance: a type of RTP Scholarship to assist with ancillary costs incurred by a higher degree by research student in undertaking the degree.
  9. RTP Fees Offset: a type of RTP Scholarship to assist with course fees that would otherwise be payable by a higher degree by research student.
  10. RTP Stipend: a type of RTP Scholarship to assist students with general living costs.
  11. scholarship: a form of support awarded to a student that includes a fees offset, stipend and allowances.
  12. working days: days that the University is open for business.