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Higher Degrees by Research Procedure 5 Researcher Development and Support

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure outlines the processes for Researcher Professional Development and Support.

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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: Standard 3.2 Staffing; 3.3 Learning Resources and Educational Support; 4.1 Research; 7.2 Information for Prospective and Current Students.

(3) ESOS Act: Part 3 Division 2; Part 5 Division 2.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure outlines minimum facilities, resources and infrastructure for Higher Degrees by Research (HDR) candidates to support their development as researchers and to enable the conduct of their research.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Candidature Budget – Budget proposed at candidature confirmation covering the projected expenses for a HDR student’s research project.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(6) Higher Degrees by Research Policy

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Summary of Roles and Responsibilities



Graduate Research School (GRS) Provide a range of workshops and other activities to support the development of HDR Students.
Research Institutes Maintain records of research funding support.
Develop guidelines for funding support.

Part B - Minimum Resources and Facilities

(7) Resources and facilities are provided by the University, with the actual level of support provided in each specific case dependent on a range of factors, including: discipline and specific approved project requirements; availability of external funding support; location/s in which the research is being conducted and enrolment status of the candidate.

(8) Upon enrolment, candidates will be provided with a clear statement of the general support and minimum resources that will be provided to them throughout candidature. 

(9) At the time of Confirmation of Candidature, candidates may apply for specialised facilities and infrastructure relevant to their research. Access to specialised facilities and infrastructure, including study space for candidates who have submitted their thesis but are awaiting classification and graduation, is at the discretion of VU Research, and subject to availability of resources and the demonstrated need for access in order to finalise and generate outputs (e.g. publications) from the thesis.

(10) Research Institutes will maintain accurate records of budgets for research support available to each of their eligible candidates.

(11) In order to ensure appropriate provision and utilisation of graduate research support facilities and infrastructure, the candidate’s Principal Supervisor will be responsible for coordinating, monitoring and reporting on candidate support through the candidature milestones.

(12) The Graduate Research School will survey all candidates, via the annual postgraduate research experience survey (CREQ), on their satisfaction with the facilities and infrastructure provided to support them in their Higher Degree by Research (HDR).

Part C - General Resources

(13) The University will provide facilities to assist candidates with the conduct of their research.

(14) The following resources will be available throughout candidature:

  1. Photocopying, scanning and printing facilities, when on campus (subject to any pre-advised limits);
  2. Information technology support, including a University email address and access to the University web services, and internet;
  3. Technical support (where required and approved as being available for their project);
  4. Library and information services, including e-research online resources, Australian and overseas interlibrary loans, and access to subject librarians and other library staff;
  5. Computer and laboratory facilities, as required for their research programs;
  6. Student and academic support services, such as counselling, student advocacy, academic and careers support;
  7. Tea rooms;
  8. Bathrooms; and
  9. An on-campus mailing address.

(15) Access to these services shall cater to the needs of on- and off-campus, and full- and part-time candidates across the year, excluding University holidays. Access to facilities on campus may be provided on a 24-hour basis, subject to approval and compliance with other relevant University Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policies, only if necessary for the conduct of research.

Part D - Study Environment

(16) Research space requirements will be determined in consultation with relevant stakeholders, giving consideration to all OHS and other legislative or regulatory compliance requirements. Candidates refer to the Space Allocation Guidelines for Higher Degree by Research Candidates.

(17) Candidates who are normally studying off-campus/overseas shall have access to a shared study space when they are spending an agreed period of time on a Victoria University campus.

Part E - Researcher Professional Development and Support

(18) In addition to the training candidates receive within their supervision, VU Research will offer developmental activities and opportunities to support candidates’ professional development skills as a researcher. This includes access to:

  1. induction and orientation program/s dealing with University systems and support, and the research training environment at Victoria University (VU), including relevant codes, regulations, policies and procedures;  
  2. training to assist with the conduct of responsible research, including the preparation of ethics applications; 
  3. training to assist with the preparation of candidature proposals, the conduct of the research and the dissemination of outcomes;
  4. professional development to support the development of generic and transferable skills, including through experiential learning;
  5. seminar program/s relevant to the field of research;
  6. opportunities to interact with research academics (in addition to the nominated supervisors);
  7. professional and/or social networking opportunities;
  8. opportunities to conduct and present at internal seminars, and to present at conference/s;
  9. training and mentoring in aspects of academic career planning and practice, including in publishing the outcomes of research;
  10. annual opportunities to provide feedback on the graduate research experience and support provided by VU through a confidential evaluation process (Current Research Experience Questionnaire).

(19) GRS also hosts the Graduate Researcher Toolkit which provides up to date information and resources for all candidates. The Graduate Researcher Toolkit also contains VU MyPlan - a self-assessment tool which allows all candidates to reflect and plan on a regular basis in relation to both the progress of their research project and their particular researcher development needs.

(20) Candidates are expected to participate in the regular review of their research and professional development needs in order to support planning for and participation in relevant development opportunities. Researcher Professional Development will map out a suggested general program of researcher professional development activities across the lifecycle of candidature.  Candidates are expected discuss the general program with their supervisor/s to determine an appropriate professional development plan for the duration of their degree. Candidates are expected, at a minimum, to review this plan with their supervisor/s during each candidature milestone. 

Part F - Candidature and Professional Development Funding

(21) VU Research will develop budget guidelines for  candidates based on the nature of the discipline and the specific project in which the candidate is engaged.

(22) Two types of funding are available:

  1. Candidature Funds: contributions to the candidate's project-specific costs, such as the purchase of approved equipment and/or consumables and/or costs associated with data collection; and,
  2. Professional Development Funds: contributions to conference attendance, specialised professional development needs,  and/or other research-related activities. This funding is only available to candidates who have achieved candidature and are making satisfactory progress with their course of study.

(23) Candidature and Professional Development Funding must be approved as part of the University’s candidature confirmation process.

(24) Candidates who are enrolled as part of group-based, off-shore or fee-discounted programs are only eligible for research support of this type if this was specified in the contract for the program.

(25) Once candidature is confirmed, candidates can access their approved funding.

(26) VU Research will publish guidelines on the Candidature and Professional Development Funding.  The guidelines will state the minimum and maximum levels of funding that are available in each category, and will provide guidelines as to what is eligible for inclusion in the budgets.

(27) Ongoing access to the Candidature and Professional Development Funding is subject to a candidate making sufficient progress in their research degree as certified by the Principal Supervisor at the time that access to the approved funding is being sought (see Clause 24).

(28) The expenditure of funds is subject to standard University policies and regulations.

(29) All equipment purchased by candidates through the provision of Candidature and Professional Development Funding remains at all times the property of the University and must be returned to VU Research at the conclusion of the research.