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
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:
- Other Grant Guidelines (Research) Amendment (No.1)
- Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines (Research) Amendment (No.1) 2019
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.
|Year||Full-time base RTP stipend rate ($)||Full-time max RTP stipend rate ($)|
Historical Australian Postgraduate Award stipend rates are also available.
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.