Research Training Program Scholarship Schedule of Conditions

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Research Training Program Scholarship Schedule of Conditions


Research Training Program Scholarships Schedule of Conditions

Effective 1 January 2017.

  1. Introduction
  2. How to apply
  3. Eligibility criteria
  4. Selection criteria
  5. Period of support (duration)
  6. Scholarship commencement
  7. Tuition fee offsets
  8. Stipend and allowances
  9. Leave/Suspension entitlements
  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

A Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship is a Commonwealth Research Scholarship, in accordance with paragraph 46-20 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003. The following conditions are based on the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 and adapted to comply with USC’s Research Training Program Scholarships– Managerial Policy.

This Schedule of Conditions applies to the following RTP Scholarships:

  • RTP Stipend Scholarships and RTP Allowances
  • RTP Fees Offset Scholarships
2. How to apply

2.1 Applications for all RTP Stipend Scholarships and RTP International Fees Offset Scholarships must be lodged with the Office of Research by the advertised closing date. Applications may be lodged at more than one University. Applicants must apply separately to each prospective institution.

2.2 Application forms can be acquired from the How to apply for a Postgraduate Research Scholarship web page.

2.2.1 Domestic applications will automatically be considered for an RTP fees offset scholarship as part of the admission process.

2.3 Continuing USC students who were offered, and or receiving, an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) and or a Research Training Scheme (RTS) fee supported place on or before 31/12/2016 will automatically be offered an RTP Scholarship of equivalent value, conditions and duration to their original offer of scholarship support. Continuing students will not be disadvantaged by the change to the Australian Government’s Research Block Grant funding.

2.3.2 Any changes to eligibility criteria will not be applied to continuing students.

2.3.3 Continuing USC students who receive any RTP Scholarship support prior to submission of their final thesis are required to acknowledge the support received through the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship in their final thesis and any publications which relate to the research project carried out with RTP Scholarship support.

2.4 Selected recipients will receive a letter of offer describing their RTP Scholarship inclusions (e.g. RTP Fees Offset scholarship only and/or RTP Fees Offset Scholarship and RTP Stipend and Allowance Scholarship). Selected recipients must accept their RTP Scholarship offer within one month of the date of offer. An RTP Scholarship may be offered to the next meritorious applicant where an offer has not been accepted by the due date.

2.5 All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application as soon as possible after the selection process is complete.

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3. Eligibility criteria

3.1 Prior to applying for any RTP Scholarship, applicants must first have been accepted to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research at USC.

3.1.1 To be eligible to receive RTP Stipend Scholarship, a student must not be receiving income from another source to support general living costs while undertaking their HDR if that income is greater than 75 per cent of the Research Training Program Stipend rate. Income unrelated to the students HDR or income received for the HDR but not for the purposes of general living costs will not be taken into account.

3.1.2 To be eligible to receive an RTP Fees Offset, a student must not be receiving an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees.

3.1.3 International students must meet international student visa requirements as specified by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) and must comply with the conditions of their student visa.

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4. Selection criteria

4.1 Recipients for RTP Scholarships will be selected in order of merit on the following criteria:

4.1.1 Academic qualifications; and

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

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

4.1.4 Professional Research Experience

4.2 Preference is given to applicants who have completed a Bachelor Honours 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.

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5. Period of support (duration)

5.1 The standard duration of a Research Training Program Scholarship is three years for a student undertaking full time Research Doctorate studies, and six years for a student undertaking part-time study.

5.2 The standard duration of a Research Training Program Scholarship is one and a half years for a student undertaking full-time Research Masters studies, and three years for a student undertaking part-time study.

5.3 A recipient who begins as a candidate for a master level degree and who, before the maximum duration of one and a half years, changes to doctoral candidature, may hold the award for a total of up to three years full-time equivalent.

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

5.5 The duration of an Research Training Program Scholarship will be increased by any periods of paid sick or maternity leave approved by USC.

5.6 The duration of a Research Training program scholarship will be adjusted by changes between full and part-time candidature. The pro rata equivalent of the remaining standard duration will apply.

5.7 Research Training Program Scholarship recipients 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, and where funding is available. Work commitments cannot be accepted as grounds for an extension.

5.8 In exceptional circumstances and where funding allows, Research Training Program Scholarship recipients who are enrolled in a doctoral degree may be granted a second and final extension of up to six months (total extension of 12 months).

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6. Scholarship commencement

6.1 Recipients of Research Training Program Scholarships may commence anytime throughout the calendar year of award. Awards cannot be deferred to the following year under any circumstances.

6.2 All stipends will commence as of the day of HDR commencement.

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7. Tuition fee offsets

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.

7.1 The 2017 tuition fee offset value for higher degree by research programs is:

7.1.1 $5,000 per annum ($2,500 per semester), full-time equivalent for high-cost fields of education*

7.1.2 $2,000 per annum ($1,000 per semester), full-time equivalent for low-cost fields of education

7.2 The University of the Sunshine Coast will subsidise remaining tuition fees for RTP Scholarship recipients for the standard duration of their program.

* High and low cost Fields of Education are provided in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017

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8. Stipend and Allowances

8.1 Stipend

8.1.1 The 2017 full-time base stipend is valued at $26,682 per annum. The level of the base stipend will be reviewed annually with no reductions occurring during the standard duration of the scholarship.

8.1.2 Stipend payments are made to the candidate on a fortnightly basis to their nominated Australian bank account, and are tax-free.

8.1.3 Part-time stipends rates are half the full-time rate and are not tax-free.

8.2 Allowances

An RTP Scholarship Recipient may claim up to a combined total of $2,000 to assist with their costs associated with undertaking their 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 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

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 RTP 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.

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9. Leave/Suspension of Entitlements

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 RTP Stipend. These base leave entitlements will be accrued over the life of the RTP stipend but will be forfeited when the RTP Stipend 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 RTP Scholarship 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 RTP Stipend 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.

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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).

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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.

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12. Changes between full and part-time study

12.1 The University may approve a request from an RTP Scholarship 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.

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13. Transfer of program

13.1 The University may approve a request from an RTP Scholarship Recipient 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 RTP funds to support the change.

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14. Employment

14.1 Subject to approval by the University, a full-time 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 RT Scholarship holder is to retain status as a full-time candidate.

14.2 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.

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

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15. Termination of scholarship

15.1 USC must terminate an Research Training Program Scholarship 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, (an RTP 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 Scholarships 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. Benefits will cease on the date of termination of the award.

15.2 If an RTP Scholarship is terminated, it cannot be re-activated unless the termination occurred in error.

15.3 If an RTP Scholarship recipients may appeal a decision regarding the termination of their scholarship in accordance with the Postgraduate Research Scholarship – Procedures.

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 16. Specific candidate obligations

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

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

16.3 All HDR candidates shall abide by all relevant legislation on human and animal experimentation and rulings of the ethics committees of the University.

16.4 All HDR candidates are required to conform to the regulations, policies (including disciplinary provisions) of the University.

16.5 RTP Scholarship recipients 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 RTP Scholarship recipients are required to acknowledge the Commonwealth’s contribution when, at any time during or after completion of a HDR, his/her supervisor or any other party, publishes or produces material such as books, articles, newsletters or other literary or artistic works which relate to the research project carried out by the recipient of RTP Scholarship.

16.6.1 The Acknowledgement must be in a prominent place (e.g. RTP Scholarship Support recipients include the “Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship” in the Acknowledgements section of their thesis).

16.7 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.

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17. Specific obligations of the University of the Sunshine Coast

17.1 Ensure compliance with the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017, including but not limited to:

17.1.1 Monitor the Period of Support for each RTP Scholarship recipient’s support to ensure maximum durations are not exceeded (two years for research master candidates, four years for doctoral candidates), taking into account periods of approved leave; and

17.1.2 Award RTP Stipend Scholarships only as a result of a publicly available competitive process;

17.1.3 Award RTP Fee Offset Scholarships to international students only as a result of a publicly available competitive process; and

17.1.4 Offer an RTP Scholarship in writing and include advice of the types of assistance and support being offered, the conditions and period of the support, and the estimated annual value of Australia Government support provided for each type of RTP Scholarship support; and

17.1.5 Advise a student receiving and RTP Scholarship of any changes to their RTP Scholarship support.

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The University reserves the right to make changes at short notice after publication. RTP Scholarship recipients will be notified in writing to their USC student email address of any changes. To ascertain if any changes have been made to this document after receipt, please contact the Office of Research.

Last updated 29/11/2016.

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