Conditions of Award

Eligibility

A scholarship holder:

  • Must be a domestic student in an accredited HDR course of study at an Australian HEP.
  • Must not be receiving income from another source to support that student’s general living costs while undertaking their course of study if that income is greater than 75 per cent of that student’s RTP Stipend rate. Income unrelated to the student’s course of study or income received for the student’s course of study but not for the purposes of supporting general living costs is not to be taken into account.
  • Must not be receiving an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees.
Additional UNE Requirements

A scholarship holder:

  • Must not have completed a research degree at the same level as the proposed candidature.
  • Must be enrolled in their HDR degree as a Full-time on campus student.
Duration of Scholarship

The period of tenure of a scholarship shall be a maximum of two years for a Masters degree (with a research component of at least 66%) or three years for a Doctoral degree. Any period of study already undertaken towards the degree (including advanced standing), either prior to the commencement of the scholarship or during an approved Leave of Absence from studies, will be deducted from the maximum period of tenure.

Scholarships are renewable annually subject to satisfactory progress. Scholarship holders must complete and submit all HDR Progress Report forms as part of their higher degree research candidature obligations.

Commencement

A scholarship holder must commence studies by the date specified in the offer letter, or the scholarship may be withdrawn and reallocated to another applicant. Candidates who accept the scholarship and subsequently reject it, may only be eligible to re-apply in the following year if the scholarship is relinquished within six months of the scholarship’s payments commencing.

Stipends, Fee Offset and Allowances

Stipend:

For full time candidates, the scholarship includes a stipend of AU$27,082 (2018) paid as a fortnightly allowance, and is tax-free. The level of the stipend will not be reduced over the period of the scholarship and will be indexed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

For part time candidates, the fortnightly allowance is AU$13,541(2018) and is classified as taxable income.  The level of the stipend will not be reduced over the period of the scholarship and will be indexed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The RTP scholarship also includes a fee offset component of, on average, $11,000 in 2018 which is funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government.

The RTP scholarship does not cover the University of New England’s Student Services and Amenities Fee.

Overpayment of scholarship funds:

Should a scholarship be overpaid or paid incorrectly, the scholarship holder will be liable for the reimbursement of funds to the University. Reimbursement of funds can be made on negotiation with the University.

Relocation Allowance:

In addition to the stipend, internal students who relocate to Armidale in order to take up the scholarship are eligible to apply for a relocation allowance (reimbursement) of up to a maximum of $1,000, upon producing receipts for expenses.  This allowance will be paid upon commencement of the scholarship

Thesis allowance:

In addition to the stipend, award holders are eligible to apply for a thesis allowance (reimbursement) of up to $400, within three months of the approved submission deadline, and upon producing receipts for expenses.

Leave Arrangements – Annual Leave

Annual Leave:

You are required to pursue your HDR studies on a full-time basis, unless approval has been given for part-time study (in accordance with the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research).  Short absences of under two (2) weeks, which would not interfere with your overall progress, fall under the provisions of Annual Leave.  All HDR Candidates are entitled to take four (4) weeks Annual Leave each year.  It is expected that Annual Leave will be taken throughout the year, including on public holidays and during the University’s end-of-year shutdown period.  Annual Leave must be negotiated with, and approved by, your supervision team.  As a scholarship holder, your scholarship will continue to be paid whilst you are on Annual Leave.

Annual Leave does not affect any of the following:

  • your enrolment status;
  • your submission deadline;
  • the expiry date of your scholarship(s); or,
  • your eligibility for paid leave under the conditions of your scholarship.

For the purpose of calculating Leave balances, the stipend is considered to be paid on a daily basis for every day of the year, i.e. including on weekends and public holidays.

Leave Arrangements – Leave of Absence

You are expected to submit your thesis for examination by the deadline stated on your Welcome Letter.  However, the University recognises that there may be unforeseen and extenuating circumstances which hinder your research progress.

If you experience a change to your circumstances which affects your capacity to meet academic deadlines, you may be eligible to apply for paid or unpaid leave.  Information about forms and procedures surrounding leave, is included in your Welcome Letter.  Leave of absence applications must include the following:

  • A reason why you are applying for leave;
  • Relevant supporting documentation;
  • A realistic timeline which demonstrates how you will progress towards submission of your thesis
  • Approval from your Principal Supervisor and Head of School.

Scholarship holders who take a substantial amount of time off from their studies, e.g. an absence of two weeks or more, must make a formal request for a leave of absence.  A leave of absence effectively ‘stops the clock’ on your candidature, and the following changes are applied to your RTP scholarship payments:

  • Unless you are eligible for paid leave (outlined below), your scholarship payments will be suspended whilst you are on leave
  • The expiry date of your scholarship will be extended by the same number of days as the duration of your leave of absence (for both paid and unpaid leave)
  • Periods of study undertaken towards the degree whilst on an approved leave of absence, will be deducted from the maximum period of tenure.

Paid Sick Leave:

Scholarship holders may receive up to 10 days paid sick leave for each year of the scholarship and this may be accrued. Documentation must be provided to substantiate an application for paid sick leave. Where a scholarship holder takes a period of medically substantiated sick leave, the tenure of the scholarship is extended by the same length of time. The following conditions apply to all applications for paid sick leave:

  • Documentation must be provided to substantiate an application for paid sick leave
  • Child day care is not considered to be an acceptable reason to take paid sick leave, unless it is supported by a medical certificate

A scholarship holder may be eligible to take sick leave, if a close relative for whom they are the primary carer, is ill or injured. This still falls under the provision of paid sick leave.  Paid sick leave will be paid at the same fortnightly rate as the living allowance component of the scholarship.

An application for paid sick leave must be made within three months of the illness occurring.

Parental Leave:

After a scholarship holder has completed twelve months of their scholarship, they become eligible to access up to a maximum of twelve weeks’ paid parental leave, during the tenure of the scholarship.  Eligibility for parental leave is assessed based on the scholarship holder’s circumstances, as follows:

  • A scholarship holder who gives birth, is eligible to apply for up to the maximum of twelve weeks of paid parental leave at the time of the birth.
  • A scholarship holder who is the partner of a woman who gives birth, is eligible to apply for up to two weeks of paid parental leave at the time of the birth or adoption.
  • A scholarship holder who has adopted a child, is eligible to apply for up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave at the time of adoption.

Documentation must be provided to substantiate an application for paid parental leave.  Periods of paid parental leave are in addition to the normal duration of the scholarship, as well as in addition to the paid sick leave provision.  Paid parental leave will be paid at the same fortnightly rate as the living allowance component of the scholarship.  Scholarship holders who have not competed twelve months of their award may access unpaid parental leave through the leave of absence provisions.

An application for parental leave must be submitted within three months of the birth or adoption of the child.

Leave of Absence (without pay):

In many cases, a scholarship holder who is permitted to take a leave of absence does not meet the eligibility criteria for paid leave. In these cases unpaid leave will be granted, and the scholarship payments will be suspended until the award holder resumes their studies. As with paid leave, the expiry date of the scholarship will be extended by the same number of days as the duration of the leave.

Extension of a RTP Scholarship

The University will not normally extend the duration of a RTP Scholarship. Circumstances which may result in extending the expiry date of a RTP Scholarship are specifically limited to the following:

  • Due to an approved leave of absence (see Leave Arrangements)
  • Upon converting full time candidature to part time (see Part Time Study)
  • In the event that the scholarship holder upgrades from a Masters Research degree to a Doctoral degree (see Masters to Doctorate)
Part Time Study

The University may approve for a HDR candidate to convert their enrolment status to part time, if there are compassionate and/or compelling circumstances to do so.  Part time candidates who hold a RTP Scholarship will receive a fortnightly allowance which is half of the full-time rate (see Stipends and Allowances). The duration of the scholarship held by a part-time candidate, will be calculated based on the number of part-time days and full-time days consumed, taking into consideration prior candidature and advanced standing. Part time RTP Scholarship holders may revert to full time study at any time, provided that this is approved by the Principal Supervisor and the Head of School. Please note that part-time RTP Scholarship is classified as taxable income by the Australian Taxation Office. Candidates are advised to seek professional advice prior to applying to become part-time.

Off-Campus Study

The University may approve HDR candidates to convert their enrolment status to off campus should there be extenuating circumstances that preclude a student from enrolling on campus. Students wanting to study off campus will need to submit an exemption request to Research Services. Off campus students must be residing in Australia in order to be eligible for the RTP Scholarship.

Masters to Doctorate

The University may permit a HDR candidate to convert their degree between Masters Research awards and Doctoral award. The maximum duration of a converted scholarship becomes that for the new research degree, minus any period of study already undertaken towards the new degree prior to conversion, and minus any advanced standing already granted.

Employment

HDR candidates are required to pursue studies on a full-time basis, and it is the responsibility of both the HDR candidate and the principal supervisor to monitor the candidate’s progress.  Any outside work undertaken must be disclosed to and approved by the principal supervisor.  If it becomes apparent that the HDR candidate’s employment commitments are hindering progress, action must be taken to mitigate against this.  Failure to do so may result in the candidate being asked to ‘show cause’ as to why they should continue to receive the scholarship payments.

Research at Other Organisations

The University may approve, on written application, a scholarship holder conducting substantial amounts of research at organisations outside the higher education system (for example, DPI or CSIRO). Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  In such cases the University remains responsible for the scholarship holder and will ensure, to the best of its ability, adequate support, supervision, training and research freedom.  As the scholarship holder remains enrolled at the University, they continue to receive RTP payments, provided that they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

Research Overseas

Scholarship holders may apply to conduct up to 6 months research or fieldwork outside Australia if the overseas research or fieldwork is essential for completion of the degree. Applications for overseas study and should be supported by the Principal Supervisor and Head of School. Applications should be made at least three months before the proposed date of departure, and scholarship holders must not leave Australia before approval is given. Unauthorised absence from Australia or failure to comply with the conditions of approval may result in the suspension of the scholarship. The University will not normally approve overseas research earlier than six months into candidature.

Field Work in Australia

The scholarship makes no contribution towards expenses for field work or research away from the University, other than through the scholarship holder's stipend. Enquiries regarding further financial support in such circumstances should be directed to the supervising School. If the scholarship holder wishes to conduct fieldwork in Australia, approval should be sought from the Principal Supervisor and the Research Services Directorate should be notified of any approved fieldwork.

Acknowledging Australian Commonwealth Government

Candidates who are in receipt of a RTP Scholarship are required to acknowledge the support of the Australian Commonwealth Government when they, their supervisor, or any other part, 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 a RTP Scholarship.

Termination of the RTP Scholarship

RTP Scholarship payments will cease upon the submission of the thesis or at the end of the scholarship, whichever occurs first.  Scholarships will be terminated before this time if:

  • If the scholarship holder ceases to meet the eligibility criteria;
  • If, in the opinion of the University, scholarship holder is not carrying out the course of study with competence and diligence, or in accordance with the offer of scholarship, and no suitable alternative arrangements can be made for the continuation of the HDR candidature;
  • If the scholarship holder ceases to be a full-time student and approval has not been obtained from the candidate’s Head of School to hold the scholarship on a part-time basis;
  • On the death, incapacity, resignation or withdrawal of the scholarship holder;
  • If the scholarship holder fails to resume study at the conclusion of an approved leave of absence, or does not make arrangements to extend that period of leave; or
  • If the scholarship holder has committed serious misconduct, including, but not limited to the provision of false or misleading information.

If the scholarship is terminated it may not be reinstated unless the termination occurred in error.

Administration

The University will be fair and equitable in the use of its discretionary powers.  The University recognises the rights of scholarship holders to appeal against decisions.  In the first instance problems should be directed to Research Services.  The University will pay the scholarship holder all entitlements under the award.

Specific Student Obligations

Scholarship holders shall:

  • diligently and to the best of their ability apply themselves to the successful completion of their degree.
  • abide by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • abide by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and
  • abide by the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes.
  • conform to the regulations, including disciplinary provisions, of the University, as described in the University of New England’s policies and rules.