Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship conditions

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Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship conditions

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2016 Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship conditions

  1. Introduction
  2. How to apply
  3. Eligibility criteria
  4. Tenure of award
  5. Commencement of Award
  6. Stipend and allowances
  7. Leave entitlements
  8. Suspension of studies
  9. Research overseas or interstate
  10. Research at other organisations
  11. Employment
  12. Transfer of Award
  13. Termination of Award
  14. Specific candidate obligations
  15. Specific obligations of the University of the Sunshine Coast
1. Introduction

The University of the Sunshine Coast has a new and dynamic approach to the area of postgraduate research. We are committed to offering a postgraduate research environment of the highest quality for all candidates within our programs.

The objective of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Postgraduate Research Scholarships is to support postgraduate research training by providing financial support to postgraduate students with a high level of research promise to undertake a higher degree by research at this University.

The Australian Postgraduate Award is a Commonwealth postgraduate Research Scholarship, in accordance with paragraph 46-20 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003. The following Rules are based on the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2012 and adapted to comply with USC’s Selection of Candidates for Postgraduate Research Scholarships – Managerial Policy.

2. How to apply

2.1 Applications for the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) must be lodged with the Office of Research by 1 October 2015 in order to be considered for this award. Applications for an Australian Postgraduate Award may be lodged at more than one University. Applicants must apply separately to each prospective institution.

2.2 Application forms for this award can be acquired from the USC website:  How to apply for a Postgraduate Research Scholarship

3. Eligibility criteria

Recipients of an Australian Postgraduate Award must:

3.1  be a domestic student; or be an International Student who is an IPRS holder commencing from 1 January 2016; and

3.2  have completed a Bachelor Degree with First Class Honours, or be regarded by USC as having an equivalent level of attainment via previous study, relevant work experience, research strength, research publications and other research experience; and

3.3  maintain satisfactory progress as a full-time higher degree candidate at the University of the Sunshine Coast. In exceptional circumstances (e.g. heavy care commitments or a medical condition) a domestic awardee may apply to undertake part-time study.

3.4  if undertaking:

i)   a Research Masters, not hold a Research Doctorate or a Research Masters or an equivalent research qualification;  or

ii)  a Research Doctorate, not hold a Research Doctorate or an equivalent research qualification;  and

3.5  not previously have held a Commonwealth-funded postgraduate research scholarship unless it was terminated within six months of the scholarship’s payments commencing;  and

3.6  not be in receipt of an equivalent award, scholarship or salary providing a benefit greater than 75 per cent of the APA stipend rate to undertake the HDR. Income from sources unrelated to the course of study is not to be taken into account. Income from sources unrelated to the course of study is not to be taken into account.

4. Tenure of Award

4.1  The duration of an APA is three years for a student undertaking full time Research Doctorate studies, and six years for a student undertaking part time Research Doctorate studies

4.2  The duration of an APA for a student undertaking Research Masters studies is normally two years.

4.3  An awardee who begins as a candidate for a master level degree and who, before the maximum duration of two years, changes to doctoral candidature, may hold the award for a total of up to three years.

4.4  Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the award will reduce the duration of the award tenure.

4.5  The duration of an APA will be increased by any periods of paid sick or maternity leave approved by USC.

4.6  APA recipients who are enrolled in a doctoral degree may be granted an extension of up to six months where the award holder applies formally to the University, is making satisfactory progress and the grounds for the extension relate to the study that are beyond the control of the student. Work commitments cannot be accepted as grounds for an extension of the duration of the APA. No extensions are possible for master level candidates.

5. Commencement of Award

5.1  Recipients of the Australian Postgraduate Award may commence anytime throughout 2016. Awards cannot be deferred to the following year under any circumstances.

5.2  All stipends will commence as of the day of the award commencement.

6. Stipend and allowances 

6.1  The 2016 full-time stipend is valued at $26,288 per annum. These payments are made to the candidate on a fortnightly basis and are tax-free. The level of the stipend will be reviewed annually with no reductions occurring during the period of the award.

6.2  Relocation Allowances (within Australia only)

6.2.1  Where a student must travel a distance greater than 100km to the Sunshine Coast to commence a Higher Degree by Research on an Australian Postgraduate Award, they may be entitled to a total maximum relocation allowance of $1600. (Note – If you have already commenced the degree for which the APA is awarded before you receive the scholarship, a relocation allowance will not be paid). This amount comprises:

i. Removal expenses (excluding travel) of up to $550 per adult and $250 per child, up to $1,600 maximum; plus (providing maximum has not been reached)

ii. Travel expenses (one way) 

- air travel expenses up to a maximum amount equivalent to an economy or student concession airfare, whichever is the lowest amount;

- travel by car calculated using a per kilometre rate of allowance as determined by the University and consistent with current University recommended rates up to a maximum amount equivalent to an economy or student concession airfare, whichever is the lowest amount

6.2.2  Claims for the relocation allowance must be made within six months of the date of commencement of the Award. Original receipts and supporting documents (i.e. if you are claiming for your partner or dependant/s) must accompany the claim for relocation allowance form.

7. Leave entitlements

7.1  Recreation Leave

7.1.1 Candidates are entitled to receive up to 20 working days paid recreation leave during each year of the Award and this may be accrued over the life of the APA but will be forfeited when the APA is terminated. Recreation leave can be taken at any time within the term of the award by agreement with the supervisor, however formal approval from the Office of Research is not required. Milestone dates will not be adjusted and satisfactory progress must be maintained. The duration of an award will not be increased by any periods of recreation leave.

7.2  Sick Leave

7.2.1  Candidates are entitled to 10 days paid sick leave each year of the award and this may be accrued over the tenure of the award. Additional paid sick leave of up to 12 weeks may also be received if the candidate is subject to medically substantiated periods of illness lasting longer than 10 days. The University will extend the award to compensate for these periods of leave.

7.2.2  Candidates must notify the Office of Research, in writing, as soon as they undertake a period of sick leave for more than 10 days. To claim additional paid sick leave, a formal claim form must be submitted to the Office of Research with a satisfactory medical certificate within two weeks of returning to study.

7.3  Maternity Leave

7.3.1. Upon completion of 12 months continuous study, candidates are entitled to 12 weeks paid maternity leave during tenure.

7.3.2. Leave must be arranged in advance with a doctor’s certificate attached to a leave form. Paid maternity leave must be taken at the time of birth. Periods of paid maternity leave are in addition to the normal duration of the award. The University will extend an award to compensate for an approved period of maternity leave.

7.3.3. Additional maternity leave may be taken through a leave of absence. Scholarship holders who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity leave through the suspension provisions.

7.4  Paternity Leave

7.4.1  Award holders who are partners of women giving birth and who have completed twelve months of their award may have up to five days paid paternity leave.

7.4.2  Application forms must be submitted to the Office of Research with a doctor’s certificate attached to a leave form. The University will extend the Award to compensate for approved paternity leave.

7.4.3  Award holders who have not completed twelve months of their award, and other award holders may access unpaid paternity leave through suspension provisions.

8. Suspension of studies

8.1  Award recipients who are temporarily unable to continue their studies must apply to the Office of Research at least 14 days prior to the date from which they seek a suspension. The minimum period of suspension is two weeks.

8.2  Candidates may apply for a suspension in accordance with the Rules which govern their degree.

8.3  Suspension will not normally be approved earlier than six months into the program. Exceptions will only be made for compassionate reasons or if other exceptional circumstances exist beyond the control of the candidate.

8.4  The total period of suspension is normally added to the original tenure of the scholarship. However if at any time during the suspension of the scholarship, the candidate undertakes enrolled study, this period will be deducted from the tenure.

9. Research overseas or interstate

9.1  The University may permit candidates to spend a period of up to twelve months of their research time, interstate or outside Australia. Requests will not normally be approved prior to the completion of six months continuous study.

9.2  Approval will be granted only if the interstate or overseas research is essential for completion of the degree, adequate supervision is available, the student remains enrolled at the University of the Sunshine Coast while interstate or overseas, and the work will be credited to the candidate’s course.

9.3  An Award may be terminated if a candidate is interstate or overseas for longer than the period for which approval has been given.

10. Research at other organisations

10.1  The University may approve a request from a candidate to conduct substantial amounts of the research at organisations outside the higher education system. In such cases, the University remains responsible for the candidate and therefore must be satisfied that the organisation specified in the request can provide adequate support, supervision, training and research time for the candidate.

11. Employment

11.1  Subject to approval by the University, a full-time domestic candidate may be permitted to undertake a limited amount of employment, provided that such employment does not interfere with the recipient’s study program. Employment may not exceed 16 hours in any one-week if the Award holder is to retain status as a full-time candidate.

11.2  Subject to approval by the University, a full-time international candidate may be permitted to undertake a limited amount of employment, provided that such employment does not interfere with the recipient’s study program and is consistent with the conditions of the student visa.

11.3  Where such employment is as a tutor, (and each contact hour involves additional hours of marking, preparation, interviewing, and administration), the candidate must include additional duties in the calculation of total weekly work hours.

11.4  Work commitments cannot be accepted as grounds for an extension to or suspension of award.

12. Transfer of Award

12.1  Students who transfer to another university may continue to receive their APA only if their new university agrees to its continuation and subject to the new university having sufficient APA grant amounts of its own available. The candidate must have completed at least six months of their research program and there must be strong personal or academic reasons to support the transfer.

13. Termination of Award

13.1  USC must terminate an APA under the following circumstances:

13.1.1  At the end of the period for which it was granted,

13.1.2  If the candidate fails to maintain satisfactory progress,

13.1.3  Upon completion of the program,

13.1.4  The submission of the thesis, (an APA will not resume if revision is required following examination)

13.1.5  The death, incapacity, resignation or withdrawal of the candidate,

13.1.6  The candidate ceases to be enrolled full-time, with approval not being obtained for the candidate to hold the award on a part-time basis,

13.1.7  If the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the scholarship offer, and no suitable alternative arrangements can be made for continuation of the postgraduate degree,

13.1.8  If the candidate does not resume study at the conclusion of a period of leave or does not make arrangements to extend that period of leave, or

13.1.9  If the candidate accepts another equivalent award, scholarship or salary to undertake their research higher degree that provides a benefit greater than 75 per cent of the base stipend rate and does not suspend their award for the period of the concurrent award, scholarship or salary.

13.1.10  Awards may also be terminated (or the candidate placed on probation) before this time if, after due inquiry, the University forms the view that the candidate has not complied with any of the conditions contained in this document.

13.1.11  Candidates must notify the Office of Research of any changes in their enrolment status which may affect their eligibility, or risk termination of the award.

13.2  Benefits will cease on the date of termination of the award.

13.3  If an APA is terminated, it cannot be re-activated unless the termination occurred in error.

14. Specific candidate obligations

14.1  Candidates are required to apply themselves diligently and to the best of their ability to the successful completion of the degree.

14.2  The candidate shall abide by all relevant legislation on human and animal experimentation and rulings of the ethics committees of the University.

14.3  The candidate is required to conform to the regulations, policies (including disciplinary provisions) of the University.

14.4  Candidates are required to notify the University promptly of any changes in their circumstances that may affect their eligibility to continue receiving payments under the award.

14.5  Candidates are also required to acknowledge that these Conditions are subject to any further or other conditions, including conditions as to funding of the awards, which may be made by the Department of Education and Training, or any other relevant government body.

15. Specific obligations of the University of the Sunshine Coast

15.1  The relevant policies which govern the scholarship recipient’s degree outline the responsibilities of the University, faculties, supervisors and candidates.

15.2  The University is required to notify DE&T if they have reason to believe that an awardee has provided false or misleading information to the University in relation to the APA.

15.3  Unsuccessful applicants who believe they have reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with any aspect of the selection procedure may request a re-evaluation of the original application. Such a request should be made in writing and directed to the Chair of the Research Degrees Committee via the Office of Research not more than 28 days after the date shown on the formal advice of the outcome of the selection procedure.

15.4  A candidate who has reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with any formal decision made with respect to the conditions of award, may appeal, in writing, to the Chair of the Research Degrees Committee via the Office of Research not more than 28 days after formal notification of the decision. 1

1 This information was correct at the time of publishing. The University reserves the right to make changes at short notice after publication. To ascertain if any changes have been made to this information, please contact the Office of Research.

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