An industry internship occurs when a research doctorate student, who completed their Higher Degree by Research (HDR) from 1 January 2022, undertook a research internship with a research end-user, that was agreed in written form within 18 months of the student’s course commencement (or 36 months for a part-time student), was a minimum of 3 calendar months in duration, and at least 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) days of engagement. An eligible internship must be related to the student’s area of research.
The student can undertake the industry internship at any point throughout their course, provided they satisfy the internship requirements above before they complete their course.
FAQ 3 contains further information on the definition of a research internship.
2. What is the RTP internship weighting?
The Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 have been amended to incorporate the additional weighting of 2.0 within the current RTP funding allocation formula. The weighting will apply to each research doctorate student reported as completing an eligible industry internship.
RTP weightings from 2024
The Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 now include the updated table with RTP internship weightings.
3. What is a research internship?
A research internship is defined in the TCSI Glossary as follows:
‘Research internship is defined as a position with a research end-user where a student has undertaken research and development (R&D) related to their higher degree by research (HDR). A research internship can be either paid or unpaid, and can form part of an enrolment or be undertaken during a HDR period of suspension.’
4. What constitutes an agreement for an eligible industry internship?
An eligible industry internship is agreed when the higher education provider (HEP), research doctorate student and research end-user agree in written form to the research and development (R&D) activities to be undertaken by the student with the research end-user, and the duration of the internship.
To be eligible for the RTP internship weighting, an agreement must be made within 18 months of a full-time research doctorate student’s commencement, or within 36 months for a part-time student.
5. When will the RTP internship data be used in funding allocations?
Data collected from 2022 will be used in 2024 RTP funding calculation and allocation processes onwards.
9. Are research doctorate students required to undertake industry internships?
No. HEPs and research doctorate students are not required to participate in industry internships. HEPs will continue to receive RTP funding for each research doctorate completion, irrespective of whether they have undertaken an industry internship. However, the additional 2.0 RTP weighting will only be allocated when an eligible industry internship has been undertaken.
10. Are industry-embedded or industry-sponsored research doctorates eligible for the RTP internship weighting?
Industry-embedded and industry-sponsored research doctorates are eligible for the RTP internship weighting provided they meet the eligibility requirements outlined in FAQ 1.
11. Is current or former employment eligible as an industry internship?
Yes, when the employment met/meets eligibility requirements outlined in FAQ 1.
Employment that ended prior to a research student commencing their research doctorate is not an eligible industry internship.
12. Does an industry internship need to be undertaken on-site to be eligible?
No. If a research doctorate student is engaging in R&D activities these activities can be performed on-site with the end-user, on-campus, and online.
13. Do industry internships need to be undertaken on a full-time basis?
No. Industry internships can be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis. To be eligible for the RTP internship weighting, both full-time and part-time internships must be a minimum of 3 calendar months in duration, comprising of at least 60 FTE days of engagement.
14. Can a research doctorate student undertake more than one instance of HDR end-user engagement during their degree?
Multiple instances of HDR end-user engagement can be undertaken by a research doctorate student over the course of their degree. However, each research doctorate student is only eligible for one RTP internship weighting per HDR completion.
There can be no overlap in the recorded dates of attendance when multiple industry internships are undertaken. If a research doctorate student has undertaken multiple internships concurrently, HEPs should consider reporting the internship that meets the industry internship eligibility criteria set out in FAQ 1.
The minimum 60 FTE days included in an industry internship must be completed with a single research end-user.
HEPs should continue to report HDR end-user engagement through TCSI element 593, and element 798 when it becomes available. FAQ 23 contains further information on the timing of reporting.
15. Can research doctorate students still attend internships that do not meet the RTP internship weighting eligibility criteria?
Yes. Research doctorate students can continue to attend and complete internships of any type, any length, and with any host. Where an internship host meets the definition of a research end-user, but the agreement date or length makes the internship ineligible for the RTP internship weighting, HEPs should still report this engagement through TCSI element 593 and element 798 when it becomes available.
If a HDR student undertakes multiple internships throughout their course, FAQ 14 contains further information on how this should be reported.
Only those internships that meet the criteria set out in FAQ 1 will be eligible for the RTP internship weighting.
16. Can the RTP internship weighting apply to industry internships completed prior to the announcement of the RTP internship weighting?
Yes. Industry internships that meet the eligibility criteria set out in FAQ 1, reported for a research doctorate student completing their HDR from 2022, will be eligible for the RTP internship weighting. This includes industry internships that research doctorate students have completed prior to 2022.
HEPs will need to obtain and report HDR end-user engagement data on all research doctorate students completing from 2022 under new TCSI reporting requirements, including those who may have reported internships under previous reporting arrangements. Refer to FAQ 24 for further information regarding ‘re-reporting’ past HDR end-user engagement data.
17. Are industry internships that are unrelated to a student’s area of research eligible for the RTP internship weighting?
No. Only internships that are related to a research doctorate student’s area of research are eligible for the RTP internship weighting.
18. How do I determine the first and last day of an internship?
The first day of an industry internship is the first day a research doctorate student engages in R&D activities which count towards the FTE days of engagement with a research end-user. The final day is the last day they engage in R&D activities which count towards the FTE days of engagement with the same research end-user.
Days of engagement will be reported in TCSI under element 798.
19. How is ‘18 months from commencement’ calculated?
18 months from commencement will be calculated in calendar months from the date reported for that research doctorate student under TCSI element 534 (‘Course of study commencement date’). For students who are enrolled part-time upon the commencement of their research doctorate, the 18 months will be calculated at the part-time equivalent of 36 months, also using calendar months from their ‘course of study commencement date’.
Refer to FAQ 22 for information on reporting an industry internship agreement.
20. How are 60 FTE days calculated? What is the part-time equivalent?
A FTE day can be calculated using the standard working day for the research end-user host’s industry. In the absence of an industry standard, the National Employment Standards sets out a maximum full-time week as 38 hours, or a standard working day of 7.6 hours.
FTE days of engagement will be reported in TCSI under element 798.
A research doctorate student is attending an internship at the Australian Public Service. Using the Australian Public Service’s 37.5-hour work week, one FTE day is equal to 7.5 hours.
A research doctorate student’s engagement in industry internship activities in one week is as follows:
Monday: 2 hours
Tuesday: 2 hours
Wednesday: 2 hours
Thursday: 1.5 hours
Total hours: 7.5
Therefore, the total number of FTE days of engagement the student has completed that week is 1.
21. What evidence or documentation is required to verify industry internships?
In accordance with TCSI reporting requirements, HEPs must report accurate student information to the Department. HEPs need to be positioned to verify all TCSI information, including in relation to HDR end-user engagement, if requested. How HEPs choose to verify this information and ensure accurate reporting is at their own discretion.
22. How is an agreement for an eligible industry internship reported in TCSI?
HEPs will be able to report when an industry internship agreement was reached through TCSI element 593. New values will be created to report when an industry internship was agreed to within 18 months of the course of study commencement date for a full-time research doctorate student, or 36 months for a part-time student, and for when the industry internship was not agreed to within this period.
To be eligible for the RTP internship weighting, an agreement must be made within 18 months of a full-time research doctorate student’s commencement, or 36 months for a part-time student.
23. How often do HEPs need to report end-user engagement in TCSI?
HEPs are required to report HDR end-user engagement once per student upon the completion of their HDR. HEPs will be able to enter instances of end-user engagement in the HDR end-user engagement packet throughout a student’s HDR if they prefer.
If a research doctorate student has undertaken multiple internships throughout their HDR, there can be no overlap in the recorded dates of attendance when multiple industry internships are undertaken. FAQ 14 contains more information on TCSI reporting when a HDR student has an overlap in their internship dates.
24. Are HEPs required to re-report HDR end-user engagement information previously reported to HEIMS/TCSI when industry internships have been completed?
Revised arrangements for reporting HDR end-user engagement data to TCSI for the RTP internship weighting will take effect for reporting 2022 data onwards.
Internship data reported previously (throughout the course of their HDR) for research doctorate students who complete from 2022 will need to be re-reported in TCSI under elements 593, 609, 610 and 798.
25. When will reporting through the revised and new TCSI elements commence?
From 1 January 2022 TCSI element 593 will be turned off. The revised and new elements are expected to be open for reporting by March 2022.
As reporting for the RTP internship weighting commences in 2022, HEPs should collect the required HDR end-user engagement information for students completing in 2022 so that it can be reported once the TCSI elements are live.
From 1 January 2023, HEPs will be expected to report all HDR end-user engagement within 7 days of course completion, as per usual TCSI reporting requirements.
26. Do industry internships count towards the maximum 4 years of RTP funding for a research doctorate student?
Yes. In accordance with paragraph 1.6.5 of the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017, if an industry internship is undertaken outside of a period of suspension and the research doctorate student receives RTP scholarship funding during that period, it will count towards the maximum period of support.
27. Where can I find information about intellectual property issues to inform general internship arrangements undertaken with a research end-user?
HEPs and research end-users may wish to draft intellectual property agreements in relation to industry internships. Current resources include the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Mini IP Toolkit (suggested for projects with an estimated value of less than $100,000), and IP Toolkit (for projects over $100,000 or with a high degree of risk) may provide support for HEPs, students and research end-users seeking to enter such arrangements.