Academic Staff Higher Degree by Research Workload Support Scheme Guidelines


The objective of the Scheme is to assist selected Charles Sturt Academic staff members to obtain a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) qualification (Research Masters, PhD, Research Professional Doctorate or Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication) in areas of strategic importance to the institution which is in alignment with the Research Narrative/Strategy.

The University recognises the opportunity to support Academic staff professional development through this Scheme, which represents a targeted investment both to improve our staff qualifications and increase research capacity within the institution.

1. Eligibility

The Scheme is open to applications from all Charles Sturt Academic staff (including those on probation), who hold a continuing full-time or part-time appointment with a Teaching-Research work function* and where:

  • The completion of a HDR is a requirement of their professional development, identified either as a condition of appointment for new staff or under the University’s Employee Development and Review Scheme (EDRS) for established staff;
  • The applicant is a Charles Sturt Academic staff member completing a HDR through Charles Sturt on a part-time basis. In exceptional circumstances, a Charles Sturt staff member may complete a HDR at another institution where an appropriate justification is provided.
  • The applicant meets the minimum requirements for admission to a Higher Degree by Research as outlined in the Charles Sturt Admissions Policy;
  • The HDR study is in an area of strategic importance to Charles Sturt with strong alignment to the Research Narrative, as supported by the staff member’s Head of School / Director and Faculty Executive Dean;
  • Satisfactory progress is made toward completion, relative to the agreed goals set by the Principal Supervisor and Head of School/Director, evidenced in part through the HDR Annual Progress Reports (see also Section 5);
  • Continuous enrolment in the HDR program is maintained, i.e. Leave of Absence (LOA) from studies will still be possible in accordance with the relevant university policies, but would necessitate a renegotiation of the previously allocated 30% of workload for approval by the Faculty Executive Dean.
  • The Scheme ceases if your employment ceases with Charles Sturt. As a Charles Sturt HDR student you will become a Full-Fee Paying (FFP) student in the session following the cessation of your employment.
  • The HDR Student Resource Support Funding (Operating Funds) for Research Professional Doctorates will only be available for the research component of the degree.

*In exceptional circumstances Charles Sturt staff with a Teaching-Professional work function may apply to their Head of
School / Director/Executive Dean for a level of workload recognition in support of their HDR studies.

2. Scheme benefits

For eligible staff, the Scheme provides:

  1. A commitment of 30% in the staff member’s Workload Allocation for the purpose of undertaking HDR studies;
  2. Tuition Fee support (only for staff enrolled through Charles Sturt). Staff must complete the Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) declaration form provided on the last page of the Application;
  3. For each session of part-time enrolment, $2,000 will be provided from the Research portfolio to the Principal Supervisor’s Faculty (only for staff enrolled through Charles Sturt);
  4. Access to HDR Student Resource Support (only for staff enrolled through Charles Sturt). HDR Student Resource Support (sometimes also called Operating Funds) is funding that can be used to support project-related expenses, such as project operating and resource costs. The level of HDR Student Resource Support is determined and provided by the Faculty and/or School
Workload Allocation (30%) Yes Yes
Tuition Fee Support Yes No
Supervision Funding Yes No
HDR Student Resource Support Yes No

3. Duration of support

Support Available:

  1. Workload Allocation
    The maximum duration for the inclusion of the 30% Workload Allocation in support of HDR studies is 14 sessions part-time enrolment from your commencement of the degree for the PhD, 12 sessions for the Research Professional Doctorate*, 8 sessions for the Research Masters and 4 sessions for the Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication.
  2. Tuition Fee Support, Supervision Funding & HDR Support Resource Scheme

Please refer to the table below for maximum number of support sessions: -

Research Masters 8 Sessions 8 Sessions 8 Sessions 8 Sessions
PhD 14 Sessions 16 Sessions 16 Sessions 16 Sessions
Research Professional Doctorate 14 Sessions 16 Sessions 16 Sessions Maximum 12 Sessions*
Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication.4 Sessions4 Sessions4 Sessions4 Sessions

* Dependent on number of sessions for thesis subject

Details about Support:

  1. Where staff have converted their studies from one HDR program to another (e.g. converting from a Research Masters to a PhD program), the start of the original HDR program is used as the basis of the duration of support. The applicant is required to disclose any relevant information regarding their candidature history.

    The duration of support available under this Scheme for eligible staff (refer to Section 1 above) who have already completed one or more sessions of enrolment in an appropriate HDR program would be determined on a case- by-case basis. The maximum duration of support under this Scheme in these circumstances would be agreed by the relevant Head of School / Director and Faculty Executive Dean for the approval of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), taking into account the length of the candidature, previous access to additional support schemes such as Charles Sturt’s Special Studies Program (SSP) and the Academic Staff Higher Degree by Research Workload Support Scheme, and progress towards completion. A pro rata reduction in the duration of support under this scheme would be expected.

    The duration of support under this Scheme will also take into account access to other research support schemes.

4.  Progress requirements & reporting

Annual continuation of support under this scheme is not automatic. The demonstration of satisfactory progress is necessary for ongoing eligibility and support for this scheme (see also Section 1 – Eligibility and Section 5). Like all other components of individual workloads and academic performance, this would be planned, monitored and reviewed within either the Academic Staff Probation and/or Employee Development and Review Scheme (EDRS) framework.

Progress in HDRs completed through Charles Sturt are monitored in part through the provision of formal Progress Reporting. This is designed to be of extra assistance in ensuring progression and a positive experience. Traditionally the formal progress report submitted provides a mechanism for a HDR candidate or Principal Supervisor to identify any issues of concern. Research Services and Graduate Studies is responsible for the administration for the Charles Sturt HDR Progress Reports and will inform students of the Progress Report requirements and timelines.

Under this scheme, it is essential that the staff member’s Head of School (HOS) remains well informed of the progress of their staff, whether the HDR is being undertaken at Charles Sturt or at another organisation. It is a requirement under the scheme that staff provide relevant information to the HOS to facilitate annual review for ongoing support. It is the staff members’ responsibility also to ensure information flows/reporting/evidence is provided in a timely manner in advance of the probation or EDRS meeting. In advance of the meeting, staff are required to consult with their HOS regarding what the most appropriate documentary evidence will be for their probation or EDRS meeting. Where possible, for staff studying a HDR at another institution a Charles Sturt staff member should be appointed to the supervisory team. This is strongly recommended for the benefit of the Charles Sturt staff member.

Relevant information that the HOS may require to support this process may include (but is not limited to) previous planning and progress reports where agreed milestones have been set; current progress reports that describe progress against set milestones; transcripts that identify enrolment and achievement or progress in a program of study; portfolios; and artifacts, such as a copy of a literature review or draft publication, images from an exhibition etc. Each of these may also be useful to evidence progress to inform the HOS in much the same manner that subject evaluation data, publication data and relevant other information is utilized during the employee review/probation process for staff.

The relevant Head of School/Director will be required to confirm to Research Services and Graduate Studies annually that a staff member has been approved to receive continued support under this scheme. The Research Office will provide an annual spreadsheet to each Faculty to facilitate the return of advice regarding support under the scheme.

5.  Unsatisfactory progress

A criterion for continued support of eligible staff under this Scheme is the demonstration of satisfactory progress.

If progress is considered to be unsatisfactory by the Head of School / Director, then it is the Head of School/Director that is required to inform the staff member and the Faculty Executive Dean in writing, outlining the reasoning that has led to the conclusion that the staff member is not meeting the progress requirements of the degree. The staff member may also make a written submission to the Faculty Executive Dean. If upon review, progress is deemed by the Faculty Executive Dean to be unsatisfactory, the Faculty Executive Dean will interview the staff member and provide a written statement and recommendation to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Research). The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Research) will determine whether support will continue under this Scheme and will advise the staff member and other relevant staff accordingly.

Separately, though related, the Academic Staff Probation Policy and Employee Development and Review Scheme and Guidelines on the Management of Unsatisfactory Performance policies and procedures provide the appropriate, overarching guidelines for the management of staff performance.

6.  Change to topic and/or course transfer

Charles Sturt HDRs Only

Change of Research Topic - Any changes to the topic of study must be approved in advance by the Head of School/Director and the Faculty Executive Dean via the submission of a new Research Proposal. The eligibility criteria will be reapplied to determine whether continued support under the Scheme is appropriate.

Course Transfer - If a staff member, that is funded by this Scheme, Course Transfers from one HDR program to another they must reapply for this Scheme to apply to the new HDR program. Please note: a Course Transfer must be approved prior to submitting a new application for this Scheme. Refer also refer to Section 3.

7.  Payment of tuition fees

Acknowledging the substantial investment that Charles Sturt is making through the Scheme, staff who receive Tuition Fee Support under the Scheme agree to make payment of the tuition fees to the University should they leave their employment at the University, for whatever reason, within three years of receiving their most recent semester of Tuition Fee Support in their HDR course.

The payment amount is equivalent to 50 per cent of the applicable domestic full fee paying tuition fees for their course. The payment amount is capped at 50 per cent of tuition fees for four years of part time study. The payment amount will be reduced on a pro rata basis for every year of service after their final semester of Tuition Fee Support (a third of the total amount per year). Those who commenced under the Scheme prior to 2015 are exempted from this requirement.

The payment amount can be waived in exceptional circumstances only. This will be at the discretion of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).

8.  Access to other Charles Sturt support schemes

Staff in receipt of benefits under this Scheme remain eligible for support under a range of other Charles Sturt schemes, including SSP. They also remain eligible for the various University Research Institute, Faculty and School level support schemes targeting staff and HDR students. Detail of participation in such schemes would necessarily be included in the staff member’s employee development/probation review reports.

9.  Admittance to the scheme and commencement of support

The staff member must meet all the entry requirements for admission into an appropriate HDR program prior to seeking assistance under this Scheme.

Members of staff seeking approval for support under this Scheme should, in the first instance, initiate a discussion with their Head of School / Director or Faculty Executive Dean to ensure that they are able to clearly identify and align with areas of strategic importance for Charles Sturt research under the Research Narrative/Strategy.

The number of new candidates admitted to the Scheme is capped and places are allocated on a competitive basis in an annual round. A committee appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Research) sets the annual cap in light of the benefits arising from the scheme, the costs of the scheme and the financial conditions facing the University. Applicants who are Indigenous Australians or academics from the School of Indigenous Australian Studies are excluded from this cap. The committee awards places in the scheme based on the applicant’s:

a) academic record;
b) capacity to complete the degree;
c) alignment to the Research Narrative/Strategy; and
d) capacity to engage in a productive research career and embed and disseminate findings through teaching.

10.  Process for applicants

Step 1 Determine if you are eligible for the Scheme
Step 2 Discuss your eligibility with your Head of School / Director
Step 3 Apply for the Academic Workload Higher Degree by Research Support Scheme (due dates available on
the Research webpage). If you are successful in your application, you should then apply for
Admission into your Higher Degree by Research course.

Research Services and Graduate Studies will advise you of the outcome of your application for the Scheme. If you are successful, you should then formally apply for admission into the HDR program. Admissions will advise you of your Offer of Admission.

Support under the scheme will commence from the commencement of your candidature into the HDR program (excluding Research Professional Doctorates whereby only the Tuition Fee Waiver commences from the commencement of candidature and all other components of the Scheme commence at the beginning of the dissertation phase of the program).

11.  Annual reporting

Reporting for this Scheme will be maintained by Research Services and Graduate Studies who will report annually to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Research) on the success of the Scheme in meeting its aims. Participants in this Scheme will allow specific details regarding the nature of their degree to be incorporated into the University’s Annual Report.