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These Guidelines are intended to provide an overview of the Data61 scholarships program.

They should be read in conjunction with the scholarship offer letter and the Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement. Further enquiries relating to specific scholarships or general enquiries should be directed to student scholarship administration at Data61‐

Abbreviations and Definitions

In these Guidelines:

  • Data61 refers to the CSIRO Business Unit of that name.
  • DUCA means Data61 University Collaboration Agreement.
  • SSA means University-Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement.
  • Full-time study means full-time enrolment at the student's university of enrolment.
  • Part-time study load means part-time enrolment at the student's university of enrolment.
  • Intellectual Property means and includes all copyright and neighbouring rights, registered and unregistered trade marks, registered designs, all rights in relation to inventions (including patents), domain names, plant varieties, confidential information (including trade secrets and know-how), circuit layouts, and all other rights resulting from intellectual activity.
  • Extreme personal circumstances means circumstances beyond a scholar’s control, such a medical illness, long-term care of a dependent family member or other such circumstances

1. Scholarship Program

1.1 Types of Scholarships

Data61 offers two kinds of scholarship awards:

The Data61 PhD Scholarship

A full stipend, set at a rate equivalent to the Research Training Program base rate.  The Data61 PhD Scholarship award is indexed annually in line with that applied by the Australian Government to Research Training Program.

The Data61 Top-up Scholarship

The Data61 Top-upScholarship, which provides additional support to candidates who are in receipt of a government funded, university funded or other third-party funded scholarship.

1.2 Award Level, Benefits and Payments

The following summarises the scholarship award levels, benefits and payments that are applicable under this program.

  • The scholarship award will be indicated in the letter of offer, and may comprise—
    • (1) the Data61 PhD Scholarship, or
    • (2) the Data61 Top-up Scholarship, or
    • (3) both of the above scholarships.
    There are no other benefits associated with the scholarship award.
  • The level of award notified in the letter of offer will remain in force for the specified duration unless the student subsequently receives a secondary award as outlined in Section 1.4 “Concurrent Holding of Scholarships”.  Top-up scholarships awarded to students in receipt of Government, university or third-party primary scholarships will not convert to full stipends if the primary scholarship ceases.
  • The scholarship award is paid via the candidate’s university and via the university’s payment processes.
  • The scholarship award does not include funding for conference registration or travel, however support may be available to scholarship recipients from Data61 research programs.  Students should refer to their Data61 supervisor and/or research program co-ordinator for more information.
  • The scholarship award does not provide relocation reimbursement or allowances to take up study, thesis printing allowances, overseas student health insurance or tuition fees.
  • Scholarship payments are linked to the continuation of the student candidature.  Payments will cease when the Doctoral Thesis is submitted or in the event the student ceases to meet the eligibility criteria.

1.3 Duration of Award

Awards will be made for the duration of the student’s university candidature up to a maximum of 3.5 years.  The term of the scholarship award will be reduced for study time already completed at the time of the scholarship ward.

Leave entitlements of university students who hold Data61 scholarships are unaffected by the award of the Data61 scholarship and students will receive those entitlements in line with the policies of the university of enrolment.

Candidates should be aware that the duration of the scholarship award may be shorter than the term of the Student Scholarship Agreement, the latter remaining in force for the duration of the candidature up until submission of the Doctoral Thesis, or until termination of the Student Scholarship Agreement, see Section 4.2 “Scholarship Termination” for further details.

1.4 Concurrent Holding of Scholarships

Candidates who are awarded a university or Government primary scholarship will receive a Data61 top-up scholarship.  If at any time a Data61 PhD Scholarship (full stipend) holder receives a secondary award of a value greater than 75% of the Data61 PhD Scholarship rate, the Data61 PhD Scholarship will be suspended for the duration of the secondary scholarship.  The Data61 Top-up Scholarship may continue to be held.

1.5 Data61 Supervision

PhD students supported by a Data61 scholarship require both a university supervisor and a Data61 supervisor.  Data61 postgraduate supervisors are expected to have close engagement in the project with a supervisory contribution equalling around 5% of their time per student.  Limits are applied to ensure supervisory loads are not excessive. In awarding the scholarship and providing supervisory support, Data61 makes an undertaking that, should the Data61 supervisor leave Data61 during the candidature period, the relevant Data61 Research Program Director will identify a replacement Data61 supervisor with similar research interests and supervisory experience, insofar as this is possible. 

1.6 Study Load

Scholarship candidates must maintain a full-time study load. Students must inform Data61 if they are intending to change study load and provide a copy of any university approval paperwork.

Scholarship payments will be suspended when a study-load converts to part-time. Payments may recommence upon the resumption of full-time study. The scholarship duration will be reduced by the period of part-time study at a rate of one full-time day for every two part-time days.

In cases of extreme personal circumstances this restriction may be lifted at the discretion of the relevant Scholarship Committee Chair, provided candidates are able to provide appropriate supporting documentation..

1.7 Conversion of Degrees

Data61 provides support for Research Doctorate candidates only and does not support candidates who are enrolled or who intend to enrol in a Research Masters degree.  In instances where the university has approved the conversion of a Data61-supported Research Doctorate degree student to a Research Master’s degree program, or where an MPhil leading to a PhD candidate fails to convert, scholarship payments will cease. Resumption of scholarship funding is possible, contingent upon all of the following: 

  • It is demonstrated that the project continues to be in an area of interest to Data61.
  • Continuation of a fruitful supervisory arrangement involving a Data61 researcher is evident.
  • Continued scholarship support for the student has the endorsement of both the Data61 supervisor and the university supervisor/s and the relevant Scholarship Committee.
  • Approval of the relevant Data61 Research Program Director.

In cases where the continuation of the student scholarship is approved, the following will apply:

  • Where the degree conversion takes place early in the candidature, the maximum duration of the scholarship will become that for the new research degree, minus periods of study undertaken towards the related degree prior to the conversion.
  • Where the conversion takes place after the maximum duration of the new research degree has already passed, the Scholarship Committee will make a determination of the remaining scholarship period (within a maximum of 3.5 years) based on a realistic completion plan to be submitted by the student, and endorsed by both the Data61 supervisor and the university supervisor/s.

1.8 Student Tranferrs

Data61 scholarships are not transferable between institutions.  Data61 scholarship holders who intend to withdraw their candidature and enroll in a PhD program at another university may reapply for a Data61 scholarship if the new university is one of Data61’s collaborating universities.  The new scholarship application will be assessed on its merit as part of a standard competitive scholarship round, along with other applications to the round. In most instances total scholarship funding to the transferring student will not exceed the usual duration of 3.5 years across all enrollments, irrespective of any change to the university of enrollment.  Transferring students should carefully consider the timing of their transfer and confer with their supervisors to ensure there is sufficient funded time remaining for completion to be realised.

1.9 Progress / Annual Reviews

Continuation of Data61 scholarship payments is conditional upon maintained satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory engagement with Data61. Progress is monitored through complementary annual scholarship and academic reviews undertaken by the university Review Panel which will include in its membership the relevant Data61 Research Program Director or delegate.

Students are required to provide evidence of their engagement with Data61 on an annual basis.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Criteria

The following eligibility criteria apply to candidates for Data61 scholarships:

  • May be domestic or international students.
  • Must hold an Australian bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours or an equivalent degree.  See Section 2.2, “First Class Honours Equivalency.
  • Must have applied for admission, been admitted, or be enrolled in a Research Doctorate (PhD) degree program at an Australian university which is signatory to the Data61 University Collaboration Agreement (DUCA).
  • Must include a Data61-employed researcher in their supervisory Panel.
  • Must be enrolled and continue to be enrolled in full-time study throughout their candidature.
  • Must assign intellectual property developed within the PhD project to Data61 through signing the Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement (SSA).
  • Undertake research that is aligned with Data61’s research programs or business development teams and supervisory capabilities.
  • Must not already hold a PhD.
  • Must apply for other university or government scholarships at the same time as applying for the Data61 scholarship award.

2.2 First Class Honours Equivalency

Candidates should have a First Class Honours Bachelor’s degree from an Australian university. For candidates who do not meet this requirement, the following may be considered to meet first class honours equivalency:

  • Completion of a research project
  • Number and quality of publications, including the percentage the candidate has contributed to a publication
  • Work experience in a field relevant to the research
  • Other degrees with a strong research component

First class equivalency will be determined by the Data61 Scholarship Committee in consultation with the university supervisor.

3. Application, Award and Acceptance

3.1 How to Apply

Students wishing to apply for a Data61 scholarship must have already made contact with a Data61 supervisor to discuss a research project, and have written agreement from the Data61 researcher and university supervisor to supervise their PhD project. This confirmation, a research proposal and other supporting documentation must be submitted at the time of application.

Application rounds are held two to four times each year, depending on university processes and numbers of applications.  Rounds will be announced on the CSIRO and Data61 websites, together with relevant links and information.Applications and supporting documentation must be received prior to the advertised closing dates to be eligible for assessment. 

Students selected to move through to assessment will be asked to seek two written Referee Reports and Data61 will request a statement from the proposed Data61 supervisor. 

3.2 Scholarship Award Process

Applications for Data61 scholarships will be ranked by a Scholarship Committee made up of senior Data61 researchers and university collaborators under the following three broad assessment criteria:

  • Academic merit – as demonstrated by academic transcripts, awards and Referee Reports.
  • Research potential – such as contributions achieved under supervision as demonstrated by previous research project experience and articulated in the student’s CV, published papers and articles, the submitted research proposal, Referee Reports and supervisor statement.
  • Alignment – such as relevance to Data61’s Research Programs as demonstrated by both the research proposal and the level of engagement with the Data61 supervisor, the latter as evidenced in the supervisor statement.

In accepting their scholarship offers, students agree to the following:

  • To sign the University-Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement.
  • To engage with Data61 and spend time at the relevant Data61 laboratory.
  • To apply for other university and Government funding where possible.

Scholarships are offered for the semester following the timing of the scholarship round. Where students are delayed in taking up the award due to visa waiting times or other unavoidable issues, the award will stand for one further (half-year) semester. Awards not taken up within this period will be reviewed, and may be withdrawn.

3.3 Student Scholarship Agreement

Students and universities must agree to and sign the Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement to accept the award, which assigns intellectual property created during the research project to Data61.

The SSA provides the legal framework for intellectual property (IP) assignment, publications, copyright and confidentiality matters that may affect the student, the university and/or Data61.

Under the SSA, ownership of intellectual property developed during the course of the research project is transferred to Data61. In return, students may be eligible to share in certain commercial benefits derived from the development of the IP, in accordance with the policy set out in the SSA.

Candidates are encouraged to seek independent legal advice before signing the SSA, and Data61 will reimburse up to $300 in receipted costs for this service.

3.4 Other Obligations

Successful candidates also need to be aware of and comply with the following:

  • To advise the Data61 student administrator when the doctoral thesis has been submitted for examination, the date of submission and final title of the thesis.
  • To inform the Data61 student administrator in cases where a secondary scholarship award has been made.
  • CSIRO policy and procedures, including the CSIRO Code of Conduct.  

In addition, students as CSIRO affiliates will need to be aware of their obligations around health and safety, travel, data management, intellectual property and publications.  Further information will be made available as part of the induction process of successful candidates.

4. Scholarship Suspension and Termination

Scholarship holders must notify Data61 and their university Scholarships Office of any changes in their enrolment and other circumstances that may affect their eligibility to continue receiving a Data61 scholarship. Students must also notify Data61 if they are no longer able to meet their obligations under the SSA.

4.1 Scholarship Suspension

The scholarship award and payments will be suspended if any of the following occurs:

4.1.1 A candidate changes enrolment to part-time.

4.1.2 A candidate does not provide Data61 with annual evidence of engagement with the organisation as their research progresses.

4.1.3 The candidate ceases to attend their respective university, unless for approved absences. In these circumstances payments will be suspended from the candidate’s last confirmed date on campus.

4.1.4 The candidate changes research topic without written approval from Data61.

4.1.5 Data61 PhD Scholarship holder receives a secondary award of a value greater than 75% of the Data61 PhD Scholarship rate. In this instance, the Data61 PhD Scholarship will be suspended for the duration of the secondary scholarship. The Data61 Top-up Scholarship may continue to be held.

4.1.6 The candidate downgrades their enrolment from a PhD degree to Master of Philosophy degree, except in the circumstances described in Section 1.7 “Conversion of Degrees”.

Periods of scholarship suspension made under the above circumstances will be deducted from the duration of the scholarship award.

4.2 Scholarship Termination

The scholarship award and payments terminate at its maximum duration or earlier, if:

4.2.1 The candidate submits their Doctoral Thesis; the scholarship will terminate on the date of submission.

4.2.2 The candidate withdraws from the study program; the scholarship will terminate on the last date of enrolled candidature.

4.2.3 The candidate no longer meets the eligibility requirements.

4.2.4 The candidate requests in writing to terminate the SSA.

4.2.5 Data61 determines that the candidate has breached the scholarship guidelines.

Note, in relation to 4.2.4 above, Termination of the SSA Agreement must be agreed by all parties to the Agreement (Data61, the university and the student) in writing as per Clause 6 of the SSA.

[25 May 2017]

Download a copy of the guidelines: 2017 CSIRO Data61 Scholarship Program Award Guidelines

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