What is research funding and how does it work?

How to pay for your PhD
There are many different types of funding available to you as a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student, from government stipends to industry grants.

Some postgraduate research funding is awarded on academic merit, while some grants may only be available if you’re conducting research in a specific research area or faculty.

Primary funding to start a HDR degree

Domestic students

Thanks to the Commonwealth Government’s Research Training Program, domestic research students don’t pay tuition fees. Domestic students who are accepted into a PhD or master's by research program are awarded an RTP Fees Offset Scholarship.

When you complete your application form, you’ll be asked if you’d like to be considered for research scholarships (say yes!). This can take the form of an RTP Stipend – a highly competitive scholarship that provides an allowance to cover living costs while you undertake your research – which is awarded through participating universities when you apply for your program.

International students

International students can apply for the Research Training Program – it’s highly competitive, with approximately 30 scholarships awarded each year. This scholarship can include both a fee offset and a living allowance stipend.

Be aware…

If you’re awarded an RTP Stipend, it’s important to know that you can receive more than one scholarship, as long as the living allowance component is no more than 75% of the value of your RTP Stipend. The 75% rule doesn’t include funding for things like travel allowance, establishment allowance or insurance.

Supplementary funding as a HDR student

Once you’ve begun the HDR journey, there’s a huge range of supplementary funding available to help support you attend conferences, travel for research, give you access to resources and equipment, and offset other costs associated with conducting your research.

Did you know?

If you miss out on a stipend when you commence your degree, you can apply again in the following round –particularly if you publish a paper or present at a conference.

Crowd holding Singapore flags

Travel and conference funding

The Postgraduate Research Support Scheme (PRSS) provides University funding to attend conferences around the world. It can also support your fieldwork or research overseas. Speak to your supervisor about the conferences you might want to attend, then read the eligibility and when to apply.

You may also consider applying for Grant-in-Aid. Usually, these grants exclude funding for conference attendance, but a canny student may be able to coordinate a research visit in a city or country near the conference venue, thus maximising the potential for the trip. Note that some grants-in-aid have nationality or discipline restrictions imposed by the bequest.

Microscope against blue background

Equipment funding

Did you know you can apply to use the University’s core research facilities and all their equipment for free? Speak to your supervisor and apply for the User Access Scheme for access to some of Australia’s best research infrastructure, including the Hybrid TheatreMRI machines and mass spectrometry imaging.

Specific research scholarships

Depending on what your research topic is, extra funding may be available to support your work in specific areas. Search the Research Scholarships Database for funding according to your area of expertise and faculty.

27 March 2019

Related articles