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   Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF) [F51416]

Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF) [F51416]

Note: These conditions are under review by University committees and subject to change for 2015 awards.

Scholarships for International Research Fees (SIRF) awards are available to eligible overseas candidates for higher degrees by research (HDR) at The University of Western Australia ('the University') and provide course tuition fees and standard health cover only for each semester of the course in line with the scholarship tenure and conditions described below.

The requirements, regulations and benefits contained in these conditions of award apply to commencing and continuing students. The conditions are determined by the Australian Government and are subject to change from time to time.

Part 1Tuition fees, stipend and allowances

1. Tuition fees
1.1 A SIRF covers the cost of international tuition fees, and required health insurance premiums for the awardee only.

1.2 A SIRF does not cover the cost of health insurance premiums for dependants of the award holder.

1.3 A SIRF does not cover the cost of student union or amenities fees, costs associated with overseas fieldwork, living expenses, bridging English language course or travel expenses associated with the relocation of the student to take up the award.

2. Concurrent scholarships
A SIRF may be held concurrently with another external or University award provided that the conditions of the concurrent award so permit.

3. Visa entitlements and requirements
A SIRF is not an approved Australian Government funded scholarship scheme and SIRF holders are required to pay for visa application fees for themselves and their dependants.

3.2 A SIRF does not cover any medical costs associated with the issue or renewal of a student visa.

3.3 It is the responsibility of the student to ensure they hold a valid visa while in Australia.

3.4 If a visa expires, the student may be removed from Australia.

3.5 Where a SIRF holder is granted an extension to their scholarship, they may be required to renew their student visa. Further details can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

4. Health care cover
SIRF holders and their dependants are required to join the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. The University meets the cost of a standard OSHC policy for the award holder only. It is the responsibility of the award holder to pay for the cost of health cover for their dependants.

4.2 SIRF holders may wish to purchase additional OSHC if they require cover for ancillary services such as dental, optical, physiotherapy, etc. A SIRF does not cover OSHC for ancillary benefits.

Part 2Scholarship conditions

5. Definition
5.1 For the purpose of these conditions the 'head of school' is the person appointed as head, acting in that capacity or a graduate research coordinator who has been approved by the Board of the Graduate Research School to act on matters pertaining to research higher degrees.

5.2 For the purpose of these conditions an 'international applicant' is an applicant who is not an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen, or an Australian permanent resident.

6. Title
The scholarship is called the Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF).

7. Purpose
The purpose of the scholarship is to enable graduates of the University or another recognised university to undertake an HDR at the University.

8. Value and number of scholarships available
The value of the scholarship is as set out in Part 1.

8.2 The number of scholarships available each year is determined by the number awarded by the Australian Government to the University.

9. Eligibility
To be eligible to apply for a SIRF an applicant

(a) must be eligible to enrol or be enrolled as a full-time student in a higher degree by research at the University upon commencement of their scholarship;

(b) must not have commenced a higher degree by research prior to year for which the scholarship is sought unless the applicant was unable to apply for a scholarship in the last selection round due to the timing of their enrolment;

(c) must not already be in receipt of another UWA Postgraduate Research International Tuition Fee Scholarship (SIRF or IPRS) or a UWA International Living Allowance Scholarship (UIS or UPAIS);

(d) must have completed at least four years of tertiary education studies at a high level of achievement demonstrated by the award of a degree of First Class Honours standard or equivalent;

(e) must be a citizen of an overseas country, excluding New Zealand;

(f) must meet the University’s English language requirements for scholarship holders;

(g) must not have completed a degree either at the same level as, or at a higher level than, the degree for which candidature is sought;

(h) must enrol in an area of research concentration and be recommended by the head of the school in which the proposed study is to be undertaken;

(i) must not be an overseas student who is currently on an Australian Government sponsored scholarship such as Australian Awards Development Scholarship seeking to apply for a SIRF immediately following the Australian Awards Development Scholarship funded study. Such candidates must meet the terms and conditions of these awards prior to applying for future funding. This applies to students under the Australian Sponsored Training Scholarships, the Equity and Merit Scholarship Scheme (EMSS) and the Australian Development Scholarships (ADS).

10. Selection criteria and policy
SIRF must be awarded in a competitive application process, and applications must be submitted in the form approved by and on the date determined by the University.

Application procedure
Applications must be by the on-line application process at http://www.scholarships.uwa.edu.au/search by the advertised closing date.

12. Awarding body
The scholarship is awarded by the Scholarships Committee of the University.

13. Duration of award
The tenure of a full-time scholarship is

(a) up to two years for the degree of master's by research; or

(b) up to three years for a doctoral degree.

13.2 No extensions are possible for a student undertaking the degree of Master.

13.3 Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the scholarship or undertaken during suspension of the scholarship are deducted from the maximum period of tenure.

13.4 Doctoral students may apply for an extension of up to 12 months, by applying for six months only at one time, subject to satisfactory progress, provided the grounds for extension are related to their research and are beyond the control of the student.

13.5 A second six-month extension will not be approved if work has not progressed during the first extension.

13.6 Extension of tenure is conditional upon the submission of the Research Proposal and Confirmation of Candidature, and all outstanding milestone reports including Annual and Interim Reports and Travel Award Reports, if applicable.

13.7 An application for extension must include the following

(a) a completion plan detailing the work to be undertaken by the student and supervisor to achieve the submission within the specified period of the scholarship and signed by the student, the supervisor and the head of school/graduate research co-ordinator.

(b) for a second extension, Ad Hoc Scholarships proposal form confirming the provision of living allowance stipend for the duration of the scholarship with school/faculty funding details including valid Business Unit and Project Grant numbers.

14. Criteria for continuation
Continuation of the scholarship from year to year is subject to the recipient

(a) maintaining continuous enrolment at the University as a full-time student; and

(b) submitting, through their supervisor and the head of school, a satisfactory Annual Progress Report to the Board of the Graduate Research School.

15. Administering Body
The scholarship is administered by the Scholarships Office.

15.2 In administering the scholarship the University

(a) must be fair and equitable in the use of its discretionary powers;

(b) must abide by the Commonwealth Information Privacy Principles;

(c) must advise students of appropriate appeal mechanisms for the resolution of any academic dispute that might arise during their candidature;

(d) must provide the student with all entitlements due under the award;

(e) must provide the scholarship holder with adequate facilities and appropriate supervision;

(f) does not accept any liability for injury suffered or damage caused by the scholarship holder; and

(g) must make provision for Student Plan Personal Accident Insurance for all students.

16. Specific student obligations
Notwithstanding the provisions of 15.2, students must inform the Scholarships Office at least two weeks in advance if they intend to suspend, terminate or change their enrolment. Failure to provide this notice may have financial implications that become the responsibility of the award holder.

16.2 Students must diligently and to the best of their ability apply themselves to the successful completion of the degree.

16.3 Students must abide by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) codes on human and animal experimentation, guidelines established by the Australian Government's Recombinant DNA Monitoring Committee and rulings of the safety and ethics committees of the University.

16.4 Students must conform to the conditions (including disciplinary provisions) of the University.

16.5 An award holder must maintain 'international student' status for the duration of the degree or notify Student Administration, the International Centre and the Graduate Research and Scholarships Office upon being granted permanent residence status.

16.6 When at any time during or after completion of the Scholarship the award holder publishes a book, article, newsletter or other literary or scientific work which relates to research carried out under the Scholarship, the publication must acknowledge that the research was carried out while the author was a SIRF scholar in Australia (see clause 23).

17. Commencement
An award holder must commence the degree in the School specified in the letter of offer of candidature by the date set by the University or the scholarship may be withdrawn and reallocated to another applicant.

17.2 If a scholarship holder has not commenced within six months of the date of offer of the award then the scholarship may be withdrawn.

17.3 If an award holder requires an extension to the commencement date, this must be applied for in writing to the Scholarships Office for approval.

18. Conversion between master's and doctoral awards
On the recommendation of the BGRS, approval may be given for the conversion of a SIRF for the degree of master to a scholarship for doctoral studies.

18.2 A scholarship for doctoral studies can be converted to a scholarship for the degree of master.

18.3 The maximum duration of a converted scholarship becomes that for the new candidature.

18.4 In approving the conversion of a SIRF from master’s to doctoral study, the maximum period of a scholarship for a student progressing from master’s to doctoral study is three years (or three and a half years to four years if an extension is approved) from the date the student commenced the degree of master.

19. Suspension
Where students are unable to pursue the degree they must seek approval in the first instance from their supervisor and head of school for a period of suspension.

19.2 Applications for suspension must be submitted to the Scholarships Committee for consideration.

19.3 If the proposed suspension is to commence after the first six months and is of less than 12 months' duration the Scholarships Committee may, at its discretion, approve the suspension.

19.4 Failure of the award holder to resume study or to make arrangements to extend a period of suspension within the specified time will result in the scholarship being terminated.

19.5 If the proposed suspension is to commence within the first six months or the accumulated period of the suspension(s) is of more than 12 months' duration an application must be made to the Scholarships Committee to seek approval of the suspension. The application is only considered if there are exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the student.

19.6 A suspension, or accumulated periods of suspension, of more than 12 months' duration or one that commences within the first six months without the written permission of the Scholarships Committee is a breach of these conditions and the scholarship may be terminated immediately.

19.7 A scholarship holder who suspends a scholarship must suspend candidature in the degree for the commensurate period. Periods of study undertaken during suspension of the scholarship are deducted from the maximum period of tenure on scholarship.

19.8 The University endeavours to ensure that scholarship holders are advised of their option to suspend rather than relinquish their scholarships (subject also to meeting the requirements relating to suspension of candidature), thus keeping open the option of resuming their scholarships at a later date.

19.9 In exceptional circumstances a further period of suspension of not more than 12 months, subject to the approval of the Board of the Graduate Research School, may be approved.

19.10 Suspensions must not exceed two years in total under any circumstances.

19.11 International scholarship holders must seek advice from the University’s International Centre in relation to the effect that a period of suspension may have in relation to visa regulations. A SIRF holder will not be covered by Overseas Student Health Cover during a period of suspension.

20. Transfer
An award offered at the University may not be taken up at another institution.

20.2 The award may be transferred in exceptional circumstances only, such as the supervisor leaving the University and no suitable replacement being available.

20.3 As SIRF are allocated to institutions based on their research performance, any request by an award holder to transfer a scholarship requires the support of the Scholarships Committee. A request to transfer a scholarship may be refused where the Scholarships Committee ascertains that the circumstances presented do not warrant a transfer.

20.4 Transfer arrangements are agreed between institutions, subject to the award holder being offered a research degree place at the new institution.

20.5 Transfer of an award does not constitute sufficient grounds for a subsequent extension of the award.

21. Termination
The University will terminate a scholarship

(a) on submission of the thesis or the death, incapacity or withdrawal of the student or at the end of the scholarship, whichever is earlier;

(b) if in the opinion of the Scholarships Committee, the student has committed serious misconduct including, but not limited to, the provision of false or misleading information;

(c) if in the opinion of the Scholarships Committee, the course of study is not being carried out with competence or in accordance with the offer of scholarship, and no suitable alternate arrangements can be made for continuation of the postgraduate degree;

(d) when the student ceases to be a full-time student; or

(e) the scholarship holder does not resume study at the conclusion of a period of suspension, or make arrangements for an extension to the period of suspension;

(f) upon the granting of permanent resident status to the student (other than under the Permanent Resident Class 818 provisions);

(g) if the cumulative period of suspension of the award exceeds 12 months and an application for an additional period of suspension of not more than 12 months due to exceptional circumstances has not been approved.

21.2 If an award is terminated, it cannot be reactivated unless the termination occurred in error.

22. Supervision
The University has established and must abide by a Code of Good Practice for Graduate Research and Supervision. It is recommended that scholarship holders read the Code of Good Practice for Graduate Research and Supervision.

23. Publications
Any thesis, dissertation or other publication, including books, articles, television, radio programs or interviews resulting from research undertaken by the recipient while in receipt of the SIRF at The University of Western Australia must acknowledge the support of the Australian Government, the scholarship and carry the University by-line.

24. Intellectual property
Intellectual Property is governed by the University Policy on: Intellectual Property.

Part 3Leave entitlements and paid employment conditions

25. Leave entitlements
Approval of all paid and unpaid leave is conditional on scholarship holders having submitted the Research Proposal and any milestone reports such as Confirmation of Candidature, Annual and Interim Reports and Travel Award Reports which are due at the same time of the proposed leave.

26. Recreation leave
Students undertaking an HDR are entitled to four weeks' paid recreation leave per year calculated on a pro-rata basis. Recreation leave may be accumulated.

26.2 Recreation leave may be accumulated, subject to 26.3.

26.3 No more than five weeks' recreation leave may be accumulated and leave must be taken during the tenure of the scholarship.

26.4 Approval to undertake periods of recreation leave must be obtained from the supervisor and head of school before the leave is taken.

26.5 Applications for paid recreation leave will not normally be approved within the first six months of the commencement of the award or prior to the submission of the Research Proposal.

27. Sick leave
Scholarship holders are provided with up to 10 days' paid sick leave each year of their scholarship which may be accrued but cannot be taken after the scholarship has expired.

27.2 Paid sick leave is not in addition to the normal duration of the scholarship.

27.3 Scholarship holders may receive up to a total of 12 weeks’ paid sick leave which is additional to the normal duration of the scholarship.

27.4 Paid sick leave referred to in 27.2 is only for medically substantiated periods of illness lasting longer than two weeks (10 University working days).

27.5 Periods of sick leave longer than 12 weeks must be accessed through the suspension provisions set out in 19.

28. Maternity leave
On completion of 12 months of a scholarship a scholarship holder may access up to 12 weeks’ paid maternity leave in addition to the normal tenure of the scholarship.

28.2 A student is not permitted to take paid maternity leave in the first year of the scholarship; however unpaid maternity leave may be accessed through suspension provisions.

29. Parenting leave
Scholarship holders who are partners of women giving birth and who have completed 12 months of their scholarship are entitled to a period of five days’ paid parenting leave in addition to the normal tenure of the scholarship.

29.2 Paid parenting leave cannot be taken in the first year of a scholarship; however unpaid parenting leave may be accessed through the suspension provisions set out in 19.

30. Paid overseas leave
The BGRS may grant approval for paid overseas leave for scholarship holders to

(a) take annual recreation leave;

(b) to attend conferences; and /or

(c) undertake field work and conduct research towards their HDR, outside Australia.

30.2 Application for paid overseas leave for recreation or research will not normally be approved within the first six months of commencement of the scholarship or prior to the submission of the Research Proposal.

30.3 Approval of paid overseas leave is conditional on scholarship holders having submitted the Research Proposal, and having submitted any milestone reports such as Confirmation of Candidature, Annual and Interim Reports and Travel Award Reports, which are due at the time of the proposed leave.

30.4 Approval to undertake fieldwork or conduct research outside Australia is only granted where it can be demonstrated that the fieldwork or research is essential for completion of the course.

30.5 The BGRS approves paid overseas leave to undertake fieldwork or conduct research only where the student has confirmed in writing that the proposed destination has not been listed as an area to which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have advised against all travel and there is adequate supervision at the overseas institution.

30.6 The scholarship holder must maintain contact with their supervisor and remain enrolled at this University.

30.7 Students should note that in the event of war or civil disturbance breaking out in a country to which a student has travelled for the purpose of research, the University's travel insurance policies may cease to apply.

30.8 Failure to obtain approval for paid overseas leave may result in the award being suspended or terminated.

31. Research at other organisations (within Australia)
The BGRS may approve a scholarship holder conducting fieldwork or undertaking a substantial amount of research in Australia at organisations outside the higher education system provided adequate support, supervision, training and research freedom for the student is available at the other organisation.

31.2 Applications to conduct such fieldwork or research must be approved by the Scholarships Committee and on the understanding that the University remains responsible for the student.

32. Employment
The University does not require a student to undertake employment.

32.2 A scholarship holder may undertake only a strictly limited amount of paid employment during the notional standard working hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

32.3 No more than eight hours’ employment a week during notional standard working hours is permitted.

32.4 The head of school is responsible for ensuring that excessive part-time employment is not undertaken to the detriment of the student’s studies.

32.5 Working hours must be noted on the scholarship holder’s Graduate Research School Annual Progress Report.

32.6 From April 2008, international students are automatically granted permission to work when granted a student visa.

32.7 Restrictions in 32.2 and 32.3 apply to all scholarship holders, domestic and international students, enrolled full-time or part-time.

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