Research Training Program Scholarship Schedule of Conditions | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Research Training Program Scholarship Schedule of Conditions

1. Introduction

The Australian Government 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 University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) Research Training Program Scholarships – Operational Policy and Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships - Procedures and Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships – Awarding Guidelines. 

This Schedule of Conditions applies to all RTP Scholarships (RTPS) at UniSC. 

2. How to apply

Information about application, eligibility, selection, offer and acceptance processes are provided in the Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships – Procedures, the Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships – Awarding Guidelines and the relevant scholarship web page advertisement. 

3. Scholarship inclusions and disbursement

From 2024 onwards, all offers for RTP scholarships will include stipend, allowances and tuition fees. There will be no further offers for RTP tuition fee scholarships only. Refer to the HDR Scholarships – Procedures for further information. 

3.1 Tuition Fees 

3.1.1 Tuition fees will automatically be paid each semester for the duration of your scholarship support. 

3.1.2 UniSC’s annual tuition fees are published on the UniSC website. Visit the Tuition Fees web page and choose your student type (domestic or international) and select the Higher Degrees by Research tab. 

3.2 Stipend and Allowances 

3.2.1 The 2024 full-time base stipend is valued at $34 449.95 per annum. The level of the base stipend will be reviewed annually with no reductions occurring during the standard duration of the scholarship. 

3.2.2 Stipend payments are made to the student on a fortnightly basis to their nominated Australian bank account and are tax-free for full-time students. 

3.2.3 Where approved for part-time enrolment, part-time stipends rates are 50 per cent the full-time rate and are not tax-free. 

3.2.4 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 UniSC under the following categories: Relocation 

Where a student must travel a distance greater than 100km to their UniSC campus of enrolment to commence a Higher Degree by Research on a Research Training Program Scholarship: 

  1. Removal expenses (excluding travel) 
  2. Travel expenses (one way) 
  3. air travel expenses up to a maximum amount equivalent to an economy or student concession airfare, whichever is the lowest amount 
  4. 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 

Claims for the relocation allowance must be made within six months of the date of commencement of the Scholarship. Must display original receipts and supporting documents. Overseas Student Health Cover 

Where a student visa holder requires overseas student health cover, the university will provide single cover for up to 59 months. 

4. Commencement and duration

4.1 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. 

4.2 All stipends will commence on the day of HDR commencement within the calendar year of the award or a date specified by the university of the year of award for current students. 

4.3 The duration of a Research Training Program Scholarship will be increased by any periods of unpaid leave or paid sick or maternity leave approved by UniSC. 

4.3.1 For a student undertaking full-time Research Doctorate studies, the standard duration of a Research Training Program Scholarship is: three years for the stipend, and.  four years for tuition fees. 

4.3.2 For a student undertaking full-time Research Masters studies, the standard duration of a Research Training Program Scholarship is one and a half years for the stipend and and two years for tuition fees. 

4.4 A recipient who commences in Research Masters studies and who, before the maximum duration of one and a half years, changes to Research Doctoral studies, refer to section 4.3.1, will have a maximum duration of scholarship equivalent to Doctoral studies and include the time already spent in the Masters studies. 

4.5 Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the scholarship will reduce the duration of the award tenure by said period. 

4.6 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. 

4.7 Research Training Program Scholarship recipients may be granted a stipend 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 study delays that are beyond the control of the student, and where funding is available. Work commitments will not be accepted as grounds for an extension. 

4.8 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 stipend extension of up to six months (total extension of 12 months). 

5. Leave/Suspension of Entitlements

5.1   Standard leave entitlements described in the Higher Degrees by Research Candidature Progression –  Guidelines apply to all RTP Scholarship recipients. Students do not apply formally for this leave and the scholarship end date will not be extended. 

These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the RTP Stipend but will be forfeited when the RTP Stipend is terminated. 

5.2 RTP Scholarship recipients who are temporarily unable to continue their studies and wish to suspend their scholarship must apply to the Graduate Research School at least 4 weeks prior to the date from which they seek a period of unpaid leave. The minimum period of suspension is 3 Months. 

5.2.1 The total period of suspension is normally added to the original tenure of the scholarship. If at any time during the suspension of the scholarship, the student undertakes enrolled study, this period will be deducted from the tenure. 

5.2.2 Medical leave entitlements (including additional medical leave) may also be used to cover leave for students with family caring responsibilities. 

5.3 Students may receive additional paid sick leave of up to a total of 60 working days during the duration of the RTP Stipend for periods of illness where the student has insufficient sick leave entitlements available under paragraph (5.1), provided that a medical certificate and leave application has been provided by the student to the Graduate Research School within two weeks of returning to study. 

5.4  Students who have completed 12 months of their RTP Stipend are entitled to a maximum of 60 working days paid maternity or parental leave during the duration of the RTP Stipend.  

5.4.1 Maternity and parental leave must be:  

  1. arranged in advance with a doctor’s certificate or adoption papers attached to a leave form; and 
  2. taken at the time of birth or adoption.  

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. 

5.4.2 Additional unpaid maternity or parental leave may be taken through a leave of absence. Scholarship holders who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity or parental leave through the suspension provisions in section 8.2. 

6. Study Load

6.1 RTP Stipend recipients are expected to prioritise their study and enrol on a full-time basis. Part-time study will be considered on a case-by-case basis for exceptional circumstances such as medical reasons or carer’s responsibilities. 

6.2 Where part-time study is approved, the remaining period of support is extended to part-time rate pro rata. 

6.3 Employment commitments will not normally be accepted as grounds for part-time enrolment while maintaining the RTP Stipend. 

7. Research Topic and program of enrolment

7.1 The University may approve a request from a student to change their research topic, provided the proposed change remains aligned with one of UniSC’s areas of research concentration and does not represent a requirement for change to Field of Education. When requesting a change to their research topic, students must advise their proposed new Field of Education and Field of Research code. 

7.1.1 Where a change to Field of Education is required, this represents a transfer of program of enrolment. Scholarship recipients seeking to transfer program should refer to the HDR Candidature – Procedures for information. 

7.3 Change requests will be considered by the Dean, Graduate Research on a case-by-case basis. 

7.4 Where a request to change research topic is denied, recipients may relinquish their scholarship and pursue their preferred topic without RTP scholarship support. 

8. Research at other organisations (e.g. Industry Placements)

8.1 The University remains responsible for candidates who are approved to conduct research at another organisation (often in the form of Industry Internships) and must be satisfied that the organisation can provide adequate support, supervision, training and research time for the candidate. The University may approve a request from a recipient to conduct substantial amounts of the research at organisations outside the higher education system. The candidate must notify the Graduate Research School as soon as possible to lodge such a request. 

8.2 RTP Scholarship stipend payments will continue where an approved industry placement, research internship, or professional practice activity is undertaken as part of their HDR within the original period of support (duration). 

9. Specific student obligations

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

9.2 RTP Scholarship holders must abide by the conditions of the scholarship outlined in the Scholarship Letter of Offer, the RTP Schedule of Conditions including any addendums. 

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

9.3.1 RTP Scholarship holders must maintain satisfactory progress. Progress will be reported on using the scheduled Progress Plan and Review (PPR) milestones. 

9.3.2 Employment commitments will not normally be accepted as grounds for extension, part-time enrolment or lack of progress. 

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

9.5 RTP Scholarship recipients are required to notify the Graduate Research School promptly of any changes in their circumstances that may affect their eligibility to continue receiving payments under the award. 

9.5.1 For example, if the student 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. 

9.6 RTP Scholarship recipients are required to acknowledge the Commonwealth’s contribution when, at any time during or after completion of a HDR, their 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. 

9.6.1 Continuing UniSC 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. 

9.6.2 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). 

9.7 Students 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, Skills and Employment, or any other relevant government body. 

The discontinuation process described in the HDR Scholarships – Procedures may be applied if an RTP Scholarship recipient fails to comply with any scholarship conditions or maintain any eligibility criteria provided on their offer letter. 

10. Specific obligations of the University of the Sunshine Coast

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

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

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

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

10.1.4 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 

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

10.2 The University must comply with the Higher Degree by Research Academic Policy and associated Procedures and related documents which outline the responsibilities of the University, enrolling unit and supervisors. 

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

Last updated 09 November 2023