USC Research Scholarship conditions

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USC Research Scholarship conditions

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USC Research Scholarship (USCRS) Schedule of Conditions

  1. Introduction
  2. How to apply
  3. Eligibility criteria
  4. Selection criteria
  5. Period of support (duration)
  6. Scholarship commencement
  7. Tuition fees
  8. Stipend and allowances
  9. Leave/Suspension of studies
  10. Research at other organisations (e.g. Industry placements)
  11. Research topic
  12. Changes between full and part-time study
  13. Transfer of program
  14. Employment
  15. Termination of scholarship
  16. Specific candidate obligations
  17. 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.

2. How to apply

2.1 Applications must be lodged with the Office of Research by the closing date provided on the scholarship advertisement in order to be considered.

2.1.1 Applicants must ensure that their application for admission to a HDR program is submitted in sufficient time (at least two months) prior to a scholarship closing date.

2.2  Supervisors may apply to the Office of Research for scholarship support for candidates deemed meritorious of an award and who commence outside a scholarship round.

2.2 Application forms for this award can be acquired from How to apply for a Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

3. Eligibility criteria

Recipients of a USCRS must:

3.1 be a domestic student; or be an International Student who is a USC International Research Scholarship holder commencing from 1 January 2017; 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.

4. Selection criteria

Recipients of USCRS will be selected in order of merit on the following criteria:

4.1 Academic qualifications; and

4.2 Alignment of the proposed research to one of USC’s areas of research concentration; and

4.3 Record of research publications or non-traditional research outputs; and

4.4 Professional Research Experience

4.5 Preference is given to applicants who have completed a Bachelor Degree with minimum Class 1, or who are regarded by USC as having an equivalent level of attainment via previous study, relevant work experience, research strength, research publications and other research experience.

5. Period of support (duration)

5.1 The duration of a USCRS is three years for a student undertaking full time Research Doctorate studies, and six years for a student undertaking part time Research Doctorate studies

5.2 The duration of a USCRS for a student undertaking Research Masters studies is normally two years.

5.3 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.

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

5.5 USCRS 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 scholarship. No extensions are possible for master level candidates.

6. Scholarship commencement

6.1  Recipients of the scholarship must accept the scholarship within three months of the date of offer, and may commence anytime throughout the calendar year of award.

6.2  All stipends will commence as of the day of commencement in the relevant higher degree by research.

7. Tuition fees

USC’s annual tuition fees are published on the USC website. Domestic applicants, visit the What will I pay? web page. International applicants, visit the What are the fees? web page.

A USCRS includes a USC tuition fee scholarship for the duration of the scholarship (see section 5).

8. Stipend and allowances 

8.1  The 2017 full-time stipend is valued at $26,682 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. Note part-time scholarship payments are not tax-free.

8.2 USCRS recipients may claim up to a combined total of $2,000 to assist with their costs associated with undertaking a HDR at USC under the following categories:

8.2.1 Relocation

Where a student must travel a distance greater than 100km to the Sunshine Coast to commence a Higher Degree by Research on a Research Training Program Scholarship:

a) Removal expenses (excluding travel)

b)Travel expenses (one way)

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

ii) travel by car calculated using a per km 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

iii) Overseas Student Health Cover

International students may be required by the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection to hold an Overseas Student Health Cover insurance policy for the duration of their student visa.

Claims for the relocation allowance must be made within six months of the date of commencement of the Scholarship. Original receipts and supporting documents must accompany the claim for relocation allowance form.

8.2.1 Publication or Thesis Printing

An USCRS recipient may apply to be reimbursed for costs associated with academic publication arising from their HDR research, including preparation of the final thesis for examination. Recipients must demonstrate adherence to the Australian Government’s Research Training Program Scholarship” in any publications for which they are claiming reimbursement of costs.

9. Leave/Suspension of studies

9.1 Base leave (recreation, sick and carer’s leave)

Candidates are entitled to receive up to 20 working day’s paid recreation leave and ten working days’ paid sick leave for each year of the USCRS. These base leave entitlements will be accrued over the life of the USCRS but will be forfeited when the USCRS is terminated. Milestone dates will not be adjusted and these periods of base leave will not extend the total period of support (i.e. total scholarship duration described in section 4 are unchanged). Candidates do not formally apply for base leave, but should only take base leave as agreed with their Principal Supervisor.

9.2 USCRS 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 period of unpaid leave and suspension of studies. The minimum period of suspension is two weeks.

9.3 The total period of suspension is normally added to the original tenure of the scholarship, excluding periods of base leave. If at any time during the suspension of the scholarship, the candidate undertakes enrolled study, this period will be deducted from the tenure.

9.4 Sick Leave

9.4.1 Additional paid sick leave of up to 60 days’ may also be received if the candidate is subject to medically substantiated periods of illness lasting longer than accumulated 10 days pro rata base sick leave. The University will extend the award to compensate for periods of leave beyond the accumulated sick leave.

9.4.2 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.

9.4.3 Sick leave entitlements (base and additional sick leave) may also be used to cover leave for candidates with family caring responsibilities.

9.5 Maternity Leave

9.5.1 Upon completion of 12 months of continuous study, candidates are entitled to 60 working days paid maternity leave during their period of USCRS support.

9.5.2 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.

9.5.3 Additional unpaid 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.

10. Research at other organisations (e.g. industry placements)

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.

10.2 Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship payments will continue where an industry placement, research internship, professional practice activity is undertaken as part of their HDR within the original period of support (duration).

11. Research Topic

11.1 The University may approve a request from a candidates to change their research topic, provided the proposed change remains aligned with one of USC’s areas of research concentration. When requesting a change to their research topic, candidates must advise their proposed new Field of Education and Field of Research code.

12. Changes between full and part-time study

12.1 The University may approve a request from an USCRS recipient to undertake part-time study. Such a requests are considered on a case-by-case basis. Where part-time study is approved, the remaining period of support is extended to part-time rate pro rata. Part-time scholarship payments are not tax-free.

13. Transfer of program

13.1 The University may approve a request from an USCRS receipient to transfer program. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, and in addition to matters provided in the relevant Academic Policy, consideration is given to availability of funds to support the change.

14. Employment

14.1  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.

14.2   Employment may not exceed 16 hours in any one-week if the Award holder is to retain status as a full-time candidate.

14.3  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.

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

15. Termination of scholarship

15.1  The scholarship will be terminated under the following circumstances:

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

15.1.2  If the candidate fails to maintain satisfactory progress,

15.1.3 If the candidate changes their research topic without approval from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation),

15.1.4  Upon completion of the program,

15.1.5  The submission of the thesis, (a scholarship will not resume if revision is required following examination)

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

15.1.7  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,

15.1.8  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,

15.1.9  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

15.1.10  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.

15.1.11  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.

15.1.12  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.

15.2  Benefits will cease on the date of termination of the scholarship.

16. Specific candidate obligations

16.1 The Higher Degree by Research Academic Policy and associated Procedures and related documents outline the responsibilities of the University, faculties, supervisors and candidates.

16.2 USCRS recipients are required to apply themselves diligently and to the best of their ability to the successful completion of the degree.

16.3 USCRS recipients shall abide by all relevant legislation on human and animal experimentation and rulings of the ethics committees of the University.

16.4 USCRS recipients are required to conform to the regulations, policies (including disciplinary provisions) of the University.

16.5  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.

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

17. Specific obligations of the University of the Sunshine Coast

17.1 The Higher Degree by Research Academic Policy and associated Procedures and related documents outline the responsibilities of the University, faculties, supervisors and candidates.

17.2  The University is required to notify Department of Education and Training if they have reason to believe that an awardee has provided false or misleading information to the University in relation to the scholarship.

17.3  A USCRS recipient who has reasonable grounds for dissatisfaction with any formal decision made with respect to the conditions of award, may appeal, in writing, to the Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) 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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