Research Degrees and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships



1. The University of South Australia (University) works with the Commonwealth government, State and local government, industry and community research partners, and philanthropic organisations to support research degree students enrolled in our research degrees. This policy sets out the University’s principles and commitments for the provision and management of Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) awards, as well as other forms and sources of scholarship support.

This policy is to be read in conjunction with Procedure AB-59 P1: Research Degrees and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship and Policy AB-58: Research Degrees.


2. This policy applies to research degree students, research degree supervisors, and staff associated with the support, coordination and leadership of research degree programs.

3. This policy applies to scholarships awarded in support of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Professional Doctorate by Research and Master of Research degrees.

4. This policy and its procedure apply primarily to Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship awards, and to other research degree scholarships funded and administered by the University, including externally-funded research scholarships where only payments are administered by the University.

5. The University administers scholarships under relevant legislation and legislative guidelines, including the  Higher Education Support Act 2003 and Guidelines, Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 and amendments, and Australian taxation law.


6. Scholarships for undergraduate students and postgraduate coursework students.


7. Academic Board is the approving authority for this policy.

8. The Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise is the officer responsible for organisation-wide adherance to this policy.

9. Deans of Research (or their delegates) in each Academic Unit are responsible for ensuring the effective management of research education within the Academic Unit and for ensuring the staff and research degree students in the Academic Unit adhere to relevant policies and procedures with regard to scholarship requirements.

10. Research degree students and research degree supervisors, and staff associated with the support, coordination and leadership of research degree programs and scholarships are responsible for understanding and complying with this policy and its procedure.

11. The procedural responsibilities of this policy are provided in Procedure AB-59 P1: Research Degrees and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.

12. Research degree students are responsible to provide all relevant and necessary information enabling the University to assess eligibility for scholarships, make payments and provide such reports and accounts to the funder(s) as appropriate.

Policy Principles

13. The University recognises the value of scholarships in achieving academic and research excellence, and equity and diversity.

14. The University awards scholarships on merit, as outlined in Procedure AB-59 P1: Research Degrees and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.

15. The University supports growth in the range and number of scholarships congruent with its strategic intent. Strategic growth in scholarships is achieved by the development of new scholarships, actively encouraging partner support from industry, government, business and community organisations, alumni and philanthropists, as well as through allocation of University resources.

16. Scholarships are time-limited and provided to support research degree students to progress their degree within the time specified. Research degree students will ensure that they do not undertake significant employment or other duties during the duration of the research degree scholarship, which would compromise the timely completion of the research degree.


Academic Unit is a major organisational unit with responsibility for academic programs. At UniSA, there are seven Academic Units:  UniSA: Allied Health & Human Performance; UniSA: Business; UniSA: Clinical & Health Sciences; UniSA: Creative; UniSA: Education Futures; UniSA: Justice & Society; and UniSA: STEM.

Dean of Research is the research leadership role in each Academic Unit who enacts the University’s research strategy and is responsible for the oversight of research degree programs in their Academic Unit. The Dean of Research may delegate the leadership and management of research education and related activities to a Professorial Lead with portfolio responsibility for the research degrees in the Academic Unit.

Enterprise Agreement/Collective Agreement is the current University of South Australia Enterprise Agreement and the University of South Australia Senior Staff Collective Agreement (as varied or replaced from time to time).  

Research degree student is an individual enrolled in a research degree.

Research Training Program (RTP) is a Commonwealth-funded program for research degree students. Forms of support available may consist of a fee offset, a stipend for general living costs, or allowances related to the ancillary cost of research degrees, as specified in the scholarship offer.

Scholarship (Research) is an award selected on merit to assist a research degree student to undertake or complete a program of research at the University, in accordance with the selection criteria. A scholarship may take the form of monetary payment or assistance with specified costs, including an offset (payment) for student fees, a stipend to support the student’s living costs, or ancillary costs. 

Staff member is an individual employed by the University under its Enterprise Agreement or Collective Agreement, and also includes adjuncts, visiting academics and guest lecturers, and volunteers, whether they are paid or unpaid.

Supervisors are members of the University Community who have oversight and/or direction of the work of staff or students.

University Community refers to all students and staff members of the University including honorary title holders, adjuncts, visiting academics, guest lecturers and volunteers who are contributing to the work of the University but who are not staff members. 

Associated Documentation

Policy AB-58: Research Degrees

Procedure AB-59 P1: Research Degrees and Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships


Officer Responsible for Update and Review: Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise

Approved by:

Academic Board, 27 November 2020

Academic Board, 26 November 2022

Commencement Date: 1 January 2021

Review Date: December 2025

History: This policy supersedes Policy RES-9.5: Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships (incorporating RTP Scholarships Policy).