Higher Degree by Research Candidature Charter - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This policy sets out HDR candidates’ minimum expectations of UQ in relation to HDR training and correspondingly UQ’s expectation of HDR candidates.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Enrolling AOU - an Academic Organisational Unit that directly enrols HDR candidates

HDR - Higher Degree by Research

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all HDR candidates, all advisors of HDR candidates, and all enrolling AOUs.

4. Policy Statement

One of the major functions of a research-intensive university is to provide education and training in research and scholarship. Indeed, universities are the only institutions that are funded to engage in research training for the purpose of awarding higher degrees by research. UQ’s goal is to produce graduates whose research skills equip them to perform successfully in both academic, research, professional and industry environments in a global context. In turn, the work of HDR candidates is essential for the intellectual vibrancy of the institution and constitutes a powerful driver of research capability for UQ, the disciplines, the professions, industry and society.

Because research training involves the active participation of both staff and candidates, the task of ensuring that it is conducted in the most efficient and effective manner is shared by all parties. UQ, its enrolling AOUs, its academic staff, its technical, professional and administrative staff and its HDR candidates, all have legitimate expectations of each other.

5. HDR Candidate Expectations

5.1 General

HDR candidates can expect UQ to ensure:

  • the opportunity to develop the overall qualities, skills, knowledge and abilities set out in the Statement of Higher Degree by Research Graduate Attributes,
  • candidate representation in relevant forums at enrolling AOU, Faculty and University levels,
  • the opportunity to form professional relationships with staff,
  • that they are informed, at the commencement of candidature, of University and enrolling AOU policies and resources relevant and available to them, including policies and procedures relating to research ethics, research conduct, and workplace health and safety,
  • access to Library and IT services and infrastructure,
  • access to academic and personal counselling,
  • access to appropriate mediation and/or resolution of grievances that are related to candidature,
  • that they are informed of the grievance resolution processes relating to candidature and examination of theses and to be able to appeal the outcomes where due process was not observed.

5.2 Education, Mentoring and Guidance

HDR candidates can expect UQ to ensure:

  • the provision and maintenance of quality mentoring and guidance towards the timely and successful submission of a high-quality thesis,
  • that advisors will discuss with them the suitability of topics and the scope, quality and originality of the research that could be expected to lead to examinable theses within the expected time frame,
  • that HDR advising can be provided by staff members (and where appropriate, outside mentors) who are engaged actively in research in the mutually-agreed field,
  • that advisors will provide guidance about the nature and scope of the research, relevant literature sources and methodology, and the expected standard of research, analysis, writing and presentation,
  • that their progress will be monitored and they will be advised in a constructive manner if their progress rate and quality fall below the expected standard,
  • access to reasonable levels of advice and support from associate advisors, in areas of particular expertise or during the absence of the principal advisor, while acknowledging that the primary responsibility for directing the research remains with the principal advisor,
  • access to professional development and skills training opportunities,
  • regular access to principal and associate advisors as agreed at the commencement of candidature and at regular reviews,
  • that they are given, at the beginning of candidature, the criteria on which a decision about confirmation of candidature will be made,
  • that advisors will encourage attendance at relevant seminars and conferences and will assist in the preparation of work for publication or other appropriate forms of dissemination,
  • that advisors will maintain a mutually-agreed level of contact and that agreed-upon submission of work can continue when either they or their advisors are away from UQ,
  • that advisors will discuss outlines, read and provide feedback on documents, including drafts, and will inform them of the acceptable standard of scholarly and technical presentation.

5.3 Enrolling AOU Support

HDR candidates can expect their enrolling AOU to:

  • investigate poor mentoring and guidance without reprisal and that valid complaints are investigated promptly,
  • be transparent in relation to the enrolling AOU’s ability to offer appropriate education, mentoring, guidance, funding for the direct research costs, and appropriate infrastructure support,
  • be informed, prior to the commencement of candidature, of all financial arrangements which might affect them and the proposed project. These could include external grant funds that will support the research and factors that might impact on funding continuity or access to other resources, including supervision,
  • participate in negotiations that will result in written agreement early in candidature with all relevant parties regarding intellectual property (IP), confidentiality and authorship considerations, and how these matters will be handled in the event that they change advisors, enrolling AOU or university, withdraw from candidature, or their candidature is discontinued,
  • be informed, prior to the commencement of candidature, of the implications that third party involvement might have for the project. These could include, for example, the rights of the third party to IP and reports, the level of commitment the third party has to continuance of the project, and the effects of the withdrawal of the third party during the course of the project,
  • provide opportunities to contribute to the collegial, intellectual and social life of the enrolling AOU.

6. University Expectations

6.1 General

UQ expects advisors and candidates to be familiar with and adhere to relevant University Rules, Policies, Guidelines and Codes of Conduct, wherever they are applicable to HDR candidature.

HDR candidates are expected to:

  • acquire, by completion of candidature, the overall qualities, skills, knowledge and abilities set out in the Statement of Higher Degree by Research Graduate Attributes,
  • take an active, self-motivated approach to research seeking input from other staff and researchers and HDR candidates when possible and appropriate,
  • follow University rules, regulations and guidelines pertaining to their degrees and to raise any questions or concerns with advisors, the enrolling AOU’s Postgraduate Coordinator, the Head of School or the Institute Director, or the Graduate School, whichever is appropriate in the context,
  • follow University rules, regulations and guidelines pertaining to any scholarships, grants or other financial assistance for their research candidature, including reporting any change in circumstance that affects their eligibility to receive further support;
  • treat all University facilities and equipment used in research with due care and in an appropriate manner,
  • obtain ethical clearances for the work wherever necessary, be aware of compliance issues and abide by work place health and safety policies and procedures as required,
  • keep abreast of the latest developments in the research field in order to be aware of any new parameters affecting their research project and to maintain a broad knowledge of the field,
  • have appropriate oral and written competence in academic English for the production of a thesis and for the reporting of research results through different media,
  • ensure that final drafts are produced and edited to an acceptable scholarly standard before submission,
  • treat other members of the University community with respect and courtesy in all interactions including online communications,
  • not engage in conduct that might reasonably be perceived as discrimination, harassment or bullying or that is otherwise intimidating,
  • treat other members of the University community in a fair and respectful manner regardless of individual differences such as gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexuality or disability.

6.2 Education, Mentoring and Guidance

HDR candidates are expected to:

  • be aware of candidature policies and procedures in terms of progression,
  • maintain a mutually-agreed level of contact with the advisory team, attend meetings prepared to make clear statements about ideas, progress and problems, and continue the agreed-upon schedule for contact and for submission of work when away from UQ on field work, research trips, or while enrolled as a remote candidate,
  • comply with the policies and guidelines for research conduct and integrity,
  • refrain from embarking on any significant variation to the topic unless agreed to by the advisory team,
  • submit regular drafts of work as agreed with the advisory team, and to negotiate with the advisory team a reasonable amount of time to read and comment in detail,
  • inform the advisor of any personal or other difficulties (without necessarily specifying the details), which have slowed or may slow progress,
  • be aware that if significant and intractable problems in the advisor-student relationship should arise that cannot be resolved within the advisory team, the Postgraduate Coordinator should be consulted in the first instance. Should a resolution still be unable to be found, the grievance should be progressed in accordance with the Student Grievance policy,
  • establish and maintain a mutually-agreed means of regular contact with their advisors,
  • not engage in conduct that disrupts the teaching, learning or research activities of other students and staff, or that interferes with others performing their duties.

6.3 Enrolling AOU Activities

HDR candidates are expected to:

  • present and attend such seminars as the enrolling AOU requires,
  • attend courses specified by the enrolling AOU,
  • treat all their colleagues (candidates, students and staff) professionally,
  • contribute to the intellectual and social life of the enrolling AOU by participation in activities such as meetings of postgraduate associations, and by attendance at research seminars and other academic functions,
  • make reasonable effort to attend and present work at relevant conferences and to publish work in appropriate scholarly outlets,
  • be aware of candidature policies and procedures, including leave entitlements and timelines for notification of leave.

6.4 University Procedures

HDR candidates are expected to:

  • pursue work diligently with a view to completing theses within the specified time,
  • comply with all regulatory requirements that affect their research,
  • maintain satisfactory progress through their candidature as demonstrated by attaining progression milestones in a timely manner,
  • fulfil all reporting obligations to funding bodies as required,
  • ensure that no plagiarism or other form of academic misconduct is committed,
  • ensure that theses meet UQ's requirements for preparation, presentation and examination of theses and follow the protocols of scholarly presentation appropriate to the discipline,
  • not engage in frivolous or vexatious complaints or grievances.
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan
Dean, Graduate School Professor Alastair McEwan