Research Training Program

For students:  The Research Training Program (RTP) scheme is administered by individual universities on behalf of the Department of Education. Applications for RTP Scholarships need to be made directly to participating universities. Each university has its own application and selection process, please contact your chosen university directly to discuss how to apply for the RTP scheme.

Information on commencing a postgraduate research degree and university courses can be found on the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching website. General information about the support arrangements for students may be obtained from the Study Assist website. Frequently asked questions for students are also available to answer student queries.

For university administrators: Frequently asked questions for university administrators are available.

Overview

The RTP provides block grants, on a calendar year basis, to higher education providers (HEPs) to support both domestic and overseas students undertaking Research Doctorate and Research Masters degrees, known as higher degrees by research (HDRs).

The objectives of the RTP scheme are to:

  • provide flexible funding arrangements to support the training of domestic students and overseas students undertaking HDRs at Australian HEPs
  • deliver graduates with the skills required to build careers in academia and other sectors of the labour market
  • support collaboration between HEPs and industry and other research end-users
  • support overseas students undertaking HDR studies at Australian HEPs.

Students can be offered RTP scholarships for one or more of the following:

  • tuition fees offset
  • stipend for general living costs
  • allowances related to the ancillary cost of research degrees.

RTP scholarships are available to domestic and overseas students enrolled in an accredited HDR course at an Australian HEP. RTP scholarships are available for a maximum period of two years for a research masters.

RTP scholarships are available for a research doctorate degree for a minimum of three years, up to a maximum of four years, at the discretion of the HEP.

Guidelines and conditions

Australian government funding is provided through annual block grants to eligible Australian HEPs in accordance with section 46-20 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA).

The Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 provides the legislative basis for the provision of funding to this program.

2020 RTP details and conditions of grant are also available.

The 2020 RTP grant amounts to participating providers is based on a formula that is reflective of their overall research performance.

    
Recent Amendments to the Guidelines

The guidelines for RTP were amended in December 2019. The amendments are relatively minor in nature, and include:

  • clarification of the adjustments process for RTP grant amounts in relation to the provision of incorrect data
  • clarification that a Doctoral Degree (Professional) is considered a Research Doctorate where at least two-thirds of the student load for the course is research
  • clarification that the 10 per cent cap on overseas students for RTP funding applies to any unspent amount rolled over from a previous year
  • extending to RTP the current Research Support Program condition for higher education providers to provide the department with higher education expenditure on R&D (HERD) data within 30 days of the Australian Bureau of Statistics returning the HERD data

These amendments are published on the Federal Register of Legislation, with consolidated guidelines to be published in due course:

Further information regarding the adjustments process will be published on the department’s website in early 2020.

Process for determining RTP grant amounts

The process for determining the basic RTP grant amount for a higher education provider can be found in Research Block Grants – Calculation Methodology.

RTP Stipend Rates

Each year, the range for RTP stipend rates for the following year will be announced by 1 October. The RTP stipend rate range is effective from 1 January. The table below details current and recent RTP stipend rates.

RTP Stipend Rates
Year Full-time base RTP stipend rate ($) Full-time max RTP stipend rate ($)
2018 27,082 42,307
2019 27,596 43,110
2020 28,092 43,885

Historical Australian Postgraduate Award stipend rates are also available.

Application process

Universities are responsible for the application and selection processes for RTP Scholarships, so prospective candidates will need to contact their chosen university's postgraduate research office directly to discuss how to apply. The list of eligible universities is available in Table A and B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

HDR Grievance Factsheet

The Department of Education has recently released a factsheet designed to assist higher degree by research students, including RTP Scholarship recipients in navigating the different avenues available to pursue a grievance in regards to internal university issues.

Contact

For more information, refer to the frequently asked questions for students or email RBGrants@education.gov.au with "RTP" as the subject line.