Research Training Scheme

There is no application process for the Research Training Scheme (RTS). It is up to the individual university to determine which students will receive support and the processes by which this support is managed. Students and researchers need to approach the university research office for advice on support options available. Frequently asked questions have been provided to assist with your enquiry.

The RTS provides block grants, on a calendar year basis, to eligible Australian higher education providers (HEP) to support research training for students undertaking Research Doctorate and Research Masters degrees.

The objectives of the RTS are to:

  • Enhance the quality of research training provision in Australia
  • Improve the responsiveness of HEPs to the needs of their research students
  • Encourage HEPs to develop their own research training profiles
  • Ensure the relevance of research degree programs to labour market requirements
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of research training.

The introduction of RTS students fees from 1 January 2016

Subject to the passage of legislation, from 1 January 2016, institutions will be able to charge RTS students undertaking Higher Degree by Research courses a contribution towards the costs of that degree.

The decision to charge fees will be a matter for each institution to decide. If an institution does set fees for RTS students, they can be applied to all RTS students, including those already part way through their degree.

The maximum student contribution rate will be set at $3,900 per year for a full time student in high-cost course.  High-cost degrees include science, engineering, medical studies, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary studies, human movement and psychology.

The maximum student contribution rate will be set at $1,700 per year for a full time student in a low-cost course, which includes all degrees outside of those defined as high-cost.

The RTS currently funds students on a low-cost/high-cost basis according to their fields of study.

In recognition of the ability to raise funds through student contributions, the public funding provided to universities through the RTS will be reduced by 10 per cent from 1 January 2016.

Research students will be able to pay their contribution upfront or, if eligible, they can defer payment through the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP).
For more information see Budget Fact sheet.

Guidelines and conditions of grant

Australian Government funding is provided through annual block grants to eligible Australian HEPs in accordance with item 8 of the table in section 41-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

The guidelines applying to the RTS are contained within the Other Grants Guidelines (Research) 2012 which can be downloaded from the Australian Government Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

The RTS grant amounts for 2015 have been provided to HEPs on the basis of the conditions outlined in the following document:

Process for determining RTS grant amounts

The allocation of RTS funding to participating providers is based on a formula that is reflective of their overall research performance.


For more information, email: with "RTS" as the subject line.