Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to these procedures and are critical to its effectiveness:
Guidelines means Guidelines for Commonwealth Scholarships (Research) made under section 46-20 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003. The full Guidelines can be accessed at http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012L02535.
Panel means the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Selection Panel as appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation).
Protocol means the Selection of Candidates for Postgraduate Research Scholarships Protocol.
Postgraduate Research Scholarship means both Commonwealth funded scholarships (Australian Postgraduate Award and International Postgraduate Research Scholarships) and University funded equivalent scholarships, including the University of the Sunshine Coast Research Scholarship (USCRS) and the University of the Sunshine Coast International Research Scholarship (USCIRS).
USCRS means University of the Sunshine Coast Research Scholarship, a USC funded scholarship equivalent in value and conditions to the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA).
USCIRS means University of the Sunshine Coast International Research Scholarship, a USC funded scholarship equivalent in value and eligibility criteria to the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS).
Purpose of procedures
The Vice-Chancellor and President has approved the Selection of Candidates for Postgraduate Research Scholarships – Managerial Policy and these Procedures are intended to implement that policy.
1. The University Selection of Candidates for Postgraduate Research Scholarships procedures will be implemented in accordance with the Guidelines for Commonwealth Scholarships (Research) made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003.
2. All applicants will be notified of the eligibility and selection criteria, and application process for Postgraduate Research Scholarships (PGRS), including the Australian Postgraduate Award and the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, via the Selection of Candidates for Postgraduate Research Scholarships Protocol (the Protocol) and the PGRS application form.
3. The Protocol and the application form will be made available on the University website and will be available by request from the Office of Research.
4. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) will set an application date and no late applications will be accepted other than in exceptional circumstances (e.g. the University makes an offer to a candidate after the closing date for scholarship applications). The University reserves the right to make offers for PGRS out of round where candidates are deemed meritorious of an award (refer section 8.1).
5. Applicants will address each of the criteria and give documentary evidence of academic attainment. Academic attainment will be based on undergraduate achievement, research focus, research publication record, referees reports and one of most recent or relevant degree or most recent or relevant research experience.
6. The Office of Research shall consider the ‘exceptional circumstances’ cases made by domestic part-time candidates and will make a recommendation to the Chair of the PGRS Selection Panel as to whether or not their applications should go forward. Consideration will be given to factors such as medical condition or significant carer responsibilities in determining inability to study full-time.
7. The Office of Research will collate all applications and will prepare a preliminary assessment of applications against the eligibility and selection criteria. Eligible applications will be forwarded to the relevant Faculty for academic assessment against the selection criteria. The Faculty will place each applicant in order of merit according to their ranking as outlined in the Protocol and will return the top applications (up to 20) for scholarship consideration by the full PGRS Selection Panel.
8. A Postgraduate Research Scholarships Selection Panel (the Panel) will be appointed annually by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) to consider applications for all PGRS rounds within that calendar year. For non-Commonwealth funded PGRS, the relevant Chief Investigator(s) will be invited to join the Panel for the consideration of applications for that PGRS. The shortlisted applications will be provided to the PGRS Selection Panel members at least two weeks prior to the Panel meeting. The Panel will place each applicant in order of merit according to their ranking as outlined in the Protocol, and will make a recommendation for allocation of the Scholarships to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) for approval.
8.1 The Panel will consider applications for PGRS out of round where the Faculty recommends a candidate for an award. Out-of-round offers can be made for University of the Sunshine Coast Research Scholarships (USCRS) and University of the Sunshine Coast International Research Scholarships (USCIRS).
8.2 As a condition of an out of round PGRS offer, recipients may be required to apply for a PGRS in the next available round. Such a condition will be stipulated in the letter of offer.
8.3 All candidates must submit a Scholarship application within the published timeframe if they wish to be considered for a PGRS. It is understood that the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and Faculty are obliged to continue funding the student for the standard scholarship duration if the applicant is unsuccessful in their application.
9. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) will advise all applicants in writing of the outcome of their application for PGRS. Letters of offer will be accompanied by the relevant University PGRS conditions booklet or will direct recipients to the PGRS conditions available on the USC webpage where applicable. All notifications will be sent to candidates as soon as possible after the PGRS Selection Panel meeting.
10. Upon written acceptance of the scholarship offer in accordance with the PGRS conditions booklet, the Office of Research will complete the Stipend Payment Form for Financial Services. Payment will be made to candidates on a fortnightly basis in accordance with the commencement date of their program and the PGRS.
11. A PGRS holder may be accepted into an HDR program at the University and be unable to continue immediately into that program due to:
11.2 A seasonal requirement of the research the candidate intends to undertake. In such circumstances their PGRS will be held for them for a period normally up to six months. The candidate must advise the Office of Research of such arrangements prior to the census date in the semester during which the candidate will have no enrolment. Faculty confirmation of the arrangement is required.
12. PGRS payments may be suspended in certain circumstances. Applications to suspend payments must be made in accordance with standard procedures for Leave of Absence or Suspension as set out in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures.
13. Paid leave
13.1 Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) holders are entitled to receive up to 20 working days paid recreation leave and 10 days paid sick leave for each year of the APA. These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the APA but will be forfeited when the APA is terminated. These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the APA but will be forfeited when the APA is terminated. These leave entitlements can be taken at any time within the term of the award by agreement with the supervisor and do not required Research Degree Committee approval or notification. Milestone dates will not be adjusted and satisfactory progress must be maintained.
13.2 APA holders are entitled to up to an additional 12 weeks of paid sick leave where insufficient sick leave entitlements have been accrued. Sick leave entitlements may be used to cover leave for APA holders with family caring responsibilities.
13.3 APA holders who have completed 12 months of their APA are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks paid parental leave during the duration of the APA.
13.4 Applications for paid leave must be made in accordance with the relevant section of the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures.
14. A PGRS may be extended at the discretion of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), in accordance with the guidelines. Candidates should apply for an extension to PGRS in accordance with standard procedures for extension as set out in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature - Procedures.
15. Ongoing eligibility
15.1 PGRS holders are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Following each progress reporting period the Office of Research will receive a report on academic progress for each PGRS holder and assess continuing eligibility.
15.2 A PGRS holder who is identified as making unsatisfactory Progress in accordance with the relevant section of the Higher Degree by Research Candidature - Procedures will be brought to the attention of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) who will make a decision as to whether or not the candidate’s PGRS should be terminated. In making such decision, consideration will be given to the individual circumstances of each candidate.
15.3 If the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) makes a determination that the PGRS should be terminated, the Office of Research will notify a candidate in writing that their PGRS is to be terminated.
16. Where PGRS holders fail to meet the eligibility criteria or fail to provide evidence of continuing eligibility they will be notified in writing that their PGRS is to be terminated.
17. Review of decision
17.1 An unsuccessful applicant may seek a review of a decision not to award a PGRS or a PGRS holder may request a review of a decision to terminate their PGRS. Such a request must be made in writing to the Chair of the Panel within 14 days of the date of the written advice that their application was unsuccessful.
17.2 The Chair of the Panel will conduct a review of the decision and provide a report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation).
17.3 The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) will notify the applicant in writing of the outcome of the review within 7 days of the review being finalised.
18. Appeals against non-award or termination of PGRS
18.1 An applicant or PGRS holder may appeal against a review decision made under 17, as per Stage 3 of the Student Complaints and Appeals – Procedures.