HDR Scholarship Guidelines

Policy code: RS2098
Policy owner: Dean, Graduate Research
Approval authority: Provost
Approval date: 28 November 2023
Next review date: 06 November 2026


The purpose of this guideline is to outline the steps, processes and requirements for University staff, scholarship funding organisations and HDR candidates in relation to HDR stipends and tuition fee scholarships.


This guideline applies to all higher degree by research candidature applicants, enrolled candidates, and persons with supervisory or administrative responsibilities for HDR candidates and HDR related scholarship activity.


Note: definitions throughout this Guideline can be accessed via the Policy Glossary which is currently under development

A further list of definitions specifically relevant to this procedure is included below:

Term Definition
Candidate Student enrolled in a higher degree by research program.
Confirmation of Candidature (CoC) Milestone by which a candidate confirms that their research project is viable and is approved by the CoC panel to continue their project.
CI Chief Investigator The lead researcher named on a research project who has financial delegation for the approval of project related expenditure.
Deferment A period of up to 12 months, normally covering the academic year, before a student, who has been offered a place in a higher education course, enrols in that course.
Designated Cohort An approved group of potential applicants, identified as having common characteristics (such as completion of a particular qualification) for the purposes of gaining special entry.
DGR Dean, Graduate Research – academic staff member responsible for overseeing HDR programs, HDR candidates and supervisors.
EFTSL Estimated full time study load.
Employee Any staff member employed by Federation University to undertake academic activity, including permanent, fixed term contract, casual, honorary and adjunct appointments.
Enrolment The process by which a person, having received a written offer of a place, shall register their program and course of study with Federation University by submitting a form of enrolment signed by both the applicant and the program coordinator or person of equivalent authority.
GRSB Graduate Research School Board
HDR Higher Degree by Research
HDR Program One of the following courses of study: Masters Degree Research, Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral Degree (Professional).
HDR candidate A Federation student enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral Degree (Professional).
HDRC Higher Degree by Research Coordinator
IELTS International English Language Testing System.
Institute Academic unit of Federation University
Leave from studies Period of either six or 12 months, covering a normal teaching period(s), where an enrolled student is excused from formal study.
Offer Offer of Admission to Candidature – The written offer provided to an applicant for admission to a HDR program.
Off-campus candidate Where a candidate studies from a location other than on campus or an approved external facility
Principal Supervisor A staff member of Federation University who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion to the Register of Supervisors as a principal supervisor and has primary oversight of an HDR candidate’s research.
Associate Supervisor A staff member of Federation University who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion to the Register of Supervisors as a supervisor and provides support to an HDR candidate and to the Principal Supervisor.
External Supervisor An individual who is external to Federation University who meets the requirements of and has been approved for inclusion to the Register of Supervisors as a supervisor and provides support to the candidate and to the Principal Supervisor.
Probationary candidate A Federation University student enrolled in a Masters Degree (Research), Doctoral Degree (Research), or Doctoral Degree (Professional) who has not yet successfully completed the confirmation of candidature process.
Provisional Principal Supervisor A staff member who does not meet the requirements to be listed as a principal supervisor on the Register of Supervisors but has the support of their Institute or academic department to act as a principal supervisor under the guidance of a mentor who is registered as a Principal Supervisor.
RTP (Research Training Program) Federal Government funding scheme that enables the provision of higher degree by research fee offset and stipend scholarships.
Stipend A fortnightly scholarship paid to a candidate to support living expenses.
Scholarship Program A scholarship or cluster of scholarships that share attributes, strategic alignment, source(s) of funding and/or industry engagement
Candidate / Supervisor agreement Formal written agreement outlining meeting methods,
TEQSA Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • The Tertiary Education Quality and StandardsAgency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act)
  •  Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021
  • The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011
  • Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015
  • Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines Research 2017

Guideline Statement

Scholarship Program approval

  Activity Responsibility Steps
         1. Allocation of funding into scholarship programs approved GRSB, Provost, VC

The allocation of RTP block grant to scholarship programs, such as, but not limited to: 

  • co-funding opportunities,
  • merit based scholarship rounds, and
  • equity scholarships

is endorsed by the GRSB for the approval of the Provost.

The allocation of Government and University strategic funding into scholarship programs is approved by the VC and /or Provost, as required.

Research grants that result in fully funded scholarship programs are approved during the formation of the Research Contract. 

Scholarship advertising, ranking and offer.

Applications for scholarships will be ranked using the GRSB approved Scholarship Ranking Schedule, available on Federation University website. The Scholarship Ranking Schedule is subject to annual review by GRSB.

Ranking of RTP stipend applications must follow process and timelines approved by GRSB.

Scholarship funding may be provided to the University by an external industry research partner, or a University scholarship may be pre-committed to a strategic collaborative research project involving an external industry partner. 

Industry and specific project-based scholarships may have additional selection requirements to assist with the ranking of applicants, such as (but not limited to) written submissions or interviews. Additional requirements will be advertised on the Federation website along with scholarship details.

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1. Scholarship program arrangements approved Graduate Research School, Research Services, Research Centres, Chief Investigator, Dean GR, Provost

Research project and grant funding is approved and processed, as outlined in Research and Research Training Policy.

For co-funded scholarships, the University component is approved by the position responsible for the associated funding:

  • Dean, Graduate Research for RTP, University scholarships, University funding for project costs
  • Director Research Centre for research projects and grants
  • Provost for identified funding as required.
2. Scholarship Program information provided to HDR Team Research Centre, Dean Graduate Research,  Chief Investigator

Responsible party  provides scholarship details, including:

  • Name,
  • Amount,
  • Period of funding,
  • Type/s of scholarship (fee, stipend, allowances etc.)
  • Project details,
  • Account code/s,
  • Additional terms and conditions,
  • Additional requirements,
  • Other relevant information.

Where external advertising is required, the responsible party should log a job via Service Now with Marketing.

3. Application forms and scholarship details are advertised on the Federation University website HDR Team HDR Admissions Officer updates web and scholarship application form with additional terms and conditions or requirements, where required.
4. Scholarship Selection Panel formed Research Centre, Chief Investigator, GRSB

A Scholarship Selection Panel is formed to assess the applications and ranking of each scholarship application. The panel should be comprised of three or more members with equity considerations taken into account.

For RTP merit-based scholarship programs, the Chair, GRSB forms a Scholarship Selection Panel from membership of the GRSB. 

5. Applications compiled and referred to Chair, Selection Panel HDR Team New applications are compiled and paired with candidature application form. Existing applications are provided with original candidature application and new information.
6. Applications are made available to all panel members  Chair, Scholarship Selection Panel Chair distributes copies of application and ranking tool.
6 Applications ranked using approved Scholarship Ranking Schedule GRS, Scholarship Selection Panel

For RTP merit-based scholarship programs and other large university scholarship programs, the Graduate Research School will undertake a quantitative ranking prior to distributing the applications and ranking tool.

Other scholarship programs are assessed by the appointed Scholarship Selection Panel.

7. Selection Panel assesses applications against Scholarship Ranking Schedule and additional requirements, where required. Scholarship Selection Panel

Panel completes ranking list using Scholarship Ranking Schedule and provides to HDR Admissions.

Any conflict of interest must be recorded in the appropriate section of the scholarship ranking tool.

8. Scholarship allocation approved by financial delegate. Dean, Graduate Research / Provost / other approved delegate The appropriate financial delegate for the funding must approve the allocation of the scholarship.
9. Scholarship offers made HDR Admissions Officer

Following approval of scholarships Graduate Research School issues a formal offer of a scholarship, outlining the terms and conditions of the scholarship.

Scholarship offers may be conditional on an application for candidature being approved.

Offers of Scholarships

Scholarship offers will be made in writing via inclusion of scholarship details in the Offer of Admission to Candidature, or via an Offer of Scholarship letter. Expected commencement and completion dates, availability of and requirements for extensions, additional terms and conditions of the scholarship  and payment details will be included in the offer. Recipients must return a signed Acceptance of Offer attached to the letter by the date specified and be enrolled for payments to commence.

Where a recipient receives a Conditional Offer of Scholarship all conditions outlined in the letter of offer must be met before the scholarship can be formally awarded to the recipient. Where conditions are not met, or not met within the required time period, the offer of scholarship will be rescinded.

Rescinding a scholarship offer

Where an applicant has accepted an offer of scholarship but fails to take up their place within three months, unless otherwise approved, their offer of scholarship will be rescinded. Scholarships offers cannot be deferred unless approved by the delegated officer responsible for the funding. Where a request is received to defer an industry scholarship, the University delegated officer and the Industry Partner must approve the request. 

Extensions to Scholarships

Requests for extensions to stipends must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the current scholarship end date on the Extension to Candidature/Scholarship Form and are normally submitted with an extension to candidature. Where requests are not submitted with at least four weeks’ notice, approved scholarship payments may be delayed.

Extensions to RTP Stipend scholarships

Candidates in receipt of an RTP Stipend may apply for one six-month EFTSL extension to scholarship. Extensions are not guaranteed and will only be granted where exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated.

Extensions to externally sponsored and project specific stipend scholarships

Availability of extensions for candidates in receipt of an external, industry or project-based scholarship will be outlined in their Offer of Scholarship or Offer of Admission to Candidature. Where a request for an extension is permitted, extensions are not guaranteed and will only be granted where exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated. Where the research funding contract does not include an extension to scholarship but an extension to scholarship is supported by the supervisory team, a variation to contract must be sought and approved for an extension to be granted.  If a variation to contract is not approved, an extension to scholarship will not be granted.

Extensions to international tuition fee scholarships

Candidates who hold an international tuition fee scholarship may apply for an extension to their tuition fee scholarship via the Extension to Candidature / Scholarship Form. Requests may only be granted where candidates have demonstrated continued progress.

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1. Complete Extension to Candidature / Scholarship Form Candidate

Candidates must complete Extension to Candidature / Scholarship Form and provide a completion plan and supporting documents (where relevant).

Applications must be signed by the Principal Supervisor and HDRC and should be made prior to the current scholarship end date (see step 2).

Where an extension to an externally funded scholarship is sought, the position responsible for the financial delegation of the scholarship must approve a request for scholarship extension. This may be, for example the CI on the associated research project.

Where an extension to an externally funded scholarship is outside of conditions of the original scholarship agreement, a variation to the research contract must be sought. The CI should first make an informal enquiry to the external funder to ascertain whether such a variation will be considered. Where a positive response is received, a formal variation to the research contract must be sought via the Research Funding team. Once a scholarship has expired, stipend will not continue until a variation to contract with the funding body has been approved.

2 Submit application to HDR Team Candidate

Applications must be submitted at least four weeks prior to scholarship and/or candidature end date.

Where applicants do not submit the application on time, their scholarship payments may be ceased whilst the application is assessed.

3 Application assessed by Dean Graduate Research Dean, Graduate Research Dean, Graduate Research assesses application for extension. Approved extensions to candidature must be forwarded to GRSB.
4 HDR Team advises candidate of outcome HDR Team Candidate is advised of outcome via email.

Termination of Scholarships

Terms and conditions under which a scholarship can be terminated are set out in the RTP and HDR Scholarship Procedure, section 10 – General Terms and Conditions, subsection10.5– Termination of scholarships.

Scholarships terminated under clauses 10.5.1 to 10.5.5 and 10.5.10 of the HDR Scholarships Procedure will cease immediately.

Termination due to abandonment of program - clauses 10.5.7, 10.5.8, 10.5.9.

Scholarships termination under these clauses will use the following steps.

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1 Candidate provided with 10 working days’ notice of intention to terminate scholarship HDR Team Notification will be sent to the candidate’s nominated email address, to their Principal Supervisor and HDRC.
2 Respond to termination notice Candidate Where a candidate responds in writing to HDR Team and the abandonment of program is resolved, their scholarship will continue.
3 Advise Scholarships Office to cease payments HDR Team Where a candidate fails to respond to the notice or fails to resolve the issue of program abandonment, the HDR Team will advise the Scholarships office to cease payments.

Termination due to unsatisfactory progress - clauses10.5.6, 10.5.11, or 10.5.12 of the HDR Scholarship Procedure

Details regarding Terms and Conditions of scholarships, including termination due to At Risk status, progress reporting, milestones, outcomes of intervention strategies and show cause proceedings for HDR candidates and can be found in the Research and Research Training Policy and HDR Candidate Procedure. Normally candidates are provided with an opportunity to address progress related issues by undertaking an intervention strategy with their supervision team prior to termination of their stipend. Candidates are encouraged to seek support and assistance via the Student Advisory Service.

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1 Principal Supervisor and candidate develop intervention strategy. Principal supervisor, candidate

Candidate given at least 12 weeks to show improvement from the date that the intervention strategy commences.

Candidate must be advised in writing that their scholarship may be at risk should this intervention strategy fail.

Intervention strategies must be approved by the HDRC.

Where issues are not resolved during the intervention strategy phase, Principal Supervisor can elect to move to step 2.

2 Principal Supervisor requests progress report as per HDR Candidate Procedure and advises candidate of possible scholarship risk Principal Supervisor

Principal Supervisor emails HDR Team to request a progress report.

Candidate advised by Principal Supervisor in writing that their scholarship is at risk.

3 Progress reporting process commenced

HDR Team


Principal Supervisor / Supervisor team


Dean, Graduate Research

Progress report process as per HDR Candidate Procedure.

Recommendations for termination of scholarship must be endorsed by the Dean, Graduate Research.

If candidate progress is satisfactory, no further action is required.

4 Candidate advised of progress report outcome HDR Team

Outcome of progress report is provided to the candidate in writing.

Where termination of scholarship is recommended, 10 working days’ notice will be provided to the candidate of the scholarship end date.

The Scholarships Office will be advised of the decision to terminate scholarship

Appealing termination of scholarship due to clauses 10.5.6, 10.5.11 or 10.5.12

Candidates may apply in writing to have their scholarship reinstated within ten working days from the date of their scholarship termination notice. Candidates should provide information and evidence as to why their scholarship should be reinstated.

  Activity Responsibility Steps
1 Candidate appeals scholarship termination. Candidate Candidate has ten working days from the date of scholarship termination notice to appeal the decision to terminate the scholarship. Appeals should be made in writing to the Graduate Research School Board, via the Dean, Graduate Research. . Candidates should include a statement as to why their scholarship should not cease.
2 GRSB considers appeal from candidate GRSB

The GRSB should consider the appeal within 15 working days from receipt of the written application.

Where an GRSB meeting is not held during the appeal period, scholarship payments will not be terminated until a determination by GRSB has been made.

GRSB considers the appeal and will return one of the following decisions;

  • Scholarship terminated,
  • Scholarship reinstated, or
  • Scholarship temporarily reinstated with conditions.
3 Chair GRSB advises candidate of outcome Chair, GRSB

Candidate advised of outcome in writing.

Where a scholarship is terminated, it will cease in 10 working days from the date of GRSB decision

Where a scholarship is temporarily reinstated, conditions and requirements will be communicated in writing.

Where a scholarship has been terminated (ie, payments have ceased), candidates may appeal the decision under the Student Appeal Policy CG1488 and Student Appeal Procedure CG1464.

Confidentiality and Privacy

All personal information collected by Federation University is governed by the Information Privacy Procedure. The following are examples of instances where Federation University may use and disclose an HDR student’s personal information for legitimate purposes:

  • releasing statistical information to relevant government bodies such as the Department of Education, Tertiary Collection of Student Information
  • releasing relevant information to the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Education, and the Australian Taxation Office


  • The Provost (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure.
  • The Dean, GraduateResearch (as the Document Owner) is responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by the Provost.


The HDR Scholarship Guidelines will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice under ‘FedNews’ website and through the University Policy - ‘Recently Approved Documents’ webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. inclusion on the University Policy, Procedure and Forms website; and/or
  3. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  4. documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures.
  5. Other - please describe


The HDR Scholarship Guidelines will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. Information Sessions; and/or
  2. Training Sessions; and/or
  3. Other - please describe