UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Guidelines

UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Guidelines

Timeline

  • Application process opens for Scholarships commencing in 2018: 26 May 2017
  • Deadline for prospective applicants to contact supervisors regarding support: 21 July 2017
  • Deadline for supervisors to nominate names and email addresses of a maximum of 2 applicants: 28 July 2017
  • Scientia team to contact nominated applicants and invite them to apply via 'UNSW Apply Online' admission system: 4 August 2017
  • Closing date for nominated applicants to submit full application: 1 September 2017
  • SHARPest Committee Meeting to select successful applicants for 2018: 3 November 2017
  • Offers to be made to successful applicants: 6 November 2017

The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme

The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme aims to attract the best and brightest people into strategic research areas and provide them with an enhanced culture of research excellence, mentoring, career development, leadership and community. The Scheme provides 4 years of funding for the candidate to complete a PhD at UNSW. The awards will be made across all Faculties in areas of identified research strengths and the scheme will ensure that candidates reflect the disciplinary, gender and cultural diversity of UNSW.  In contrast to our other prestigious UNSW scholarship schemes, the UNSW Scientia scheme is targeted and applicants must apply to a specific research area with an identified supervisory team.

There are 125 scholarships available this round.

Distinctiveness
The key distinctive features of the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme include:

  1. Prestigious Scholarship Package - UNSW Scientia PhD scholars are awarded a scholarship package of $50,000 per annum, comprising a tax-free living allowance of $40,000 per annum for 4 years, and a support package of up to $10,000 per annum to provide financial support for career development activities
  2. Outstanding supervision combined with exceptional research environments - all successful candidates will be supervised by teams of UNSW’s best researchers aligned with UNSW research strengths, who will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated capacity in excellence in research and high quality supervision, plus their commitment to developing and mentoring PhD scholars
  3. Engagement – all successful candidates will have a strong commitment to making a difference in the world with demonstrated potential for contributing to the learning and teaching excellence, social engagement and/or global impact pillars of the 2025 strategy
  4. Career and Development - all successful candidates will be provided with career coaching and development throughout the 4 years of candidature, and encouraged to engage with knowledge exchange activities.

Application Process

  • Step 1 Applicants identify a UNSW Scientia Scholarship Scheme project and supervisory team that they would like to be involved with
  • Step 2 Applicants complete the self-assessment form which will provide the academic with some key data on applicant's background
  • Step 3 Applicants submit an expression of interest to the supervisory team via Apply website
  • Step 4 If an applicant's experience and skills match the supervisory team expectations, they will contact applicant to discuss the project and the next steps to take
  • Step 5 Supervisory team nominates up to 2 candidates for consideration
  • Step 6 Nominated candidates will be invited to submit a full application, which should be done in consultation with the supervisory team    
  • Step 7 Applicants must use the Apply Online system to complete their application and upload the application form.
  • Step 8 Applications assessed by Faculties and SHARpest Committee
  • Step 9 Applications ranked and allocations made. Offers will be made in early November.

The Strategic Hires and Retention Pathways educational stipend Committee (SHARP- est) supports the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship scheme.

Selection of Research Areas and Supervisors

  • The selection of research areas is carried out via an Expression of Interest process, which allows supervisory teams to put forward projects for consideration
  • Prospective teams were asked to identify a strategic area that aligned with UNSW’s strategic initiatives
  • A supervisor can only be listed as the primary or joint supervisor for one research project but can also be named as a secondary supervisor on another project
  • Supervisory teams were selected on the basis of their demonstrated capacity in excellence in research and high quality supervision, plus their commitment to developing and mentoring PhD scholars
  • The SHARP-est committee reviews the EOIs and produces a final list of approved research areas and supervisory teams that is used in the call for applications.

Recruitment

  • UNSW will disseminate a call for applications in the approved research areas with the supervisor contacts for prospective candidates to approach
  • The final list will be posted on the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship scheme website, with a short description of the project and summary of the supervisory team
  • Potential applicants will be able to contact the primary supervisor via the website to express their interest. It is expected that the supervisor will have further material on the research area, which they can distribute to interested applicants and engage in further discussion to determine the suitability of the applicant for the position
  • Potential applicants will have to submit a Self-Assessment document that provides a summary of their degree studies and any research outputs. This information should help supervisors to identify whether the applicant qualifies for admission to the degree.  

Nomination of Applicants

  • Supervisors can only select a maximum of 2 nominated applicants that they wish to support.
  • Supervisors will be asked to provide a supporting statement for why the nominee was selected.
  • They must confirm that the nominees are eligible for admission to the PhD program and should consult the Admission to Higher Degree Research Programs Procedure and/or the Postgraduate Coordinator of their School.
  • The procedure for how to submit a nomination will be distributed separately.

Selection Criteria
The criteria for selection of candidates will be aligned with the core principles of the scheme. These will rely on matching candidates with our best researchers in targeted areas of research strength and with demonstrated capacity and excellence in supervision.

  1. Excellence – candidates must demonstrate their capability to carry out high quality research, using a combination of qualifications, experience and outputs.
  2. Research Area – the proposed research must be of the highest quality and be closely aligned with the nominated research areas in the round. It should also align with the goals of the UNSW 2025 Strategy.
  3. Global impact and Social engagement – candidates must demonstrate a strong commitment to making a difference in the world with evidence of potential for contributing to the learning and teaching excellence, social engagement and/or global impact pillars of the 2025 Strategy. This may encompass such themes as knowledge exchange, equity and diversity or specific initiatives relating to indigenous communities, global development and disability.
  4. Career and Development – candidates must demonstrate a strong commitment to how they will use the resources provided to develop their careers and to engage with knowledge exchange activities.

Application

  • Nominated applicants will be provided with a UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Application Form which must be completed by the candidate. The form requires the applicant to fully address the selection criteria with supporting statements
  • It is expected that the form will be filled in consultation with the supervisors
  • Guidance will be provided to the supervisors on what is expected in the application form
  • Once complete, the applicant will be invited to apply through UNSW Apply Online and will be required to upload their completed UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Application Form as part of the admission process
  • Only applications with the official application form will be accepted and any submissions that do not follow this will be declared ineligible
  • If an application is received that has not been approved by the SHARP-est committee, it will be declared ineligible and not assessed
  • Nominations of applicants that are not eligible for admission to the PhD program will be declared ineligible and not be assessed.

Ranking and Allocation

  • Guidance on the assessment procedures will be distributed after the nomination process is complete.
  • Scoring guidelines will be provided to Faculties
  • Applications will be ranked by Faculties
  • There will be moderation of the Faculty scores, which will be carried out by 2 members of the SHARP-est Committee.  The moderation will ensure that there is consistency in assessment across the disciplines.  Any differences in scores between the scorers and the moderators will be discussed in the SHARP-est Committee allocation meeting and scores may be adjusted based on these discussions
  • The final allocation of scholarships is conducted by the SHARP-est Committee
  • A reserve list will be generated, based on order-of-merit and ranking of the research area. Reserve applicants will be informed that they are on the reserve list and will be offered places if there are any offers declined
  • Successful candidates will be informed and given instructions on how to enrol
  • Unsuccessful applicants who are viewed to be competitive within UNSW’s other prestigious scholarships will be considered in Round 4 of those schemes.

Eligibility

  • The scheme is open to domestic and international candidates
  • To be able to apply to the scheme, potential applicants must be nominated by a team of approved UNSW supervisors
  • Due to the structured program, only new* PhD candidates qualifying for direct entry to the PhD will be eligible for entry into the scheme
  • The minimum requirement for admission to the Scheme is:
    • an appropriate four year degree of Bachelor with at least upper second class Honours, or
    • a completed Masters by Research including a substantial research component, or
    • qualifications at a level considered equivalent to either of the above
  • All nominees must be eligible for admission to the PhD program as described in the  Admission to Higher Degree Research Programs Procedure
  • Successful candidates should be able to meet all of the selection criteria (listed below) at the highest level
  • All successful applicants must be located on a UNSW campus for a minimum of 2 years and this must include the first year of the program.

*currently enrolled PhD candidates are not eligible to apply

Supervisory Teams

  • The supervisory team must consist of three supervisors and the team can consist of the following combinations:
    • Primary supervisor and two secondary supervisors, or
    • Primary supervisors, one joint supervisor and one secondary supervisors
  • A supervisor can only be listed as the primary or joint supervisor for one research project but can also be named as a secondary supervisor on another project
  • UNSW’s Higher Degree Research Supervision Policy, Procedure and Guidelines on supervision must be followed at all times
  • Roles of the supervisory team
  • Primary supervisor – this person takes primary academic responsibility for the candidature and the appointment will dictate the School and Faculty through which the academic decisions on candidature will be made
  • Joint supervisor – appointment of a joint supervisor is not required but the nature of the research may necessitate such an appointment
  • Secondary supervisor – this person has specific expertise that is useful to the candidate’s research and will act as an advisor to the candidate
  • As mentoring is a critical part of the Scientia scheme, it is expected that a secondary supervisor would act as a career mentor with a primary responsibility to work with the candidate on refining their development plan throughout the candidature.  

Scholarship and Support Package

  • Scientia PhD candidates will be awarded a $40,000 per annum stipend for 4 years (full-time). If enrolment is full-time, this stipend will be tax free
  • International scholars will be awarded a tuition fee scholarship for 4 years (full-time) in addition to the stipend
  • No scholarship extensions for overtime study (over 4 years full-time equivalent) will be provided
  • Each successful candidate will be provided with a career and development package of up to $10,000 per annum to allow them to pursue their career and professional development. In addition to this, the following items may be covered using this package:
    • relocation allowance for costs associated with relocating themselves, their spouse and dependents to Sydney when this is necessary to undertake the study
    • thesis allowance for costs associated with the production of the PhD thesis
    • payment of Visa Charges at the time of Visa application.

Career and Professional Development

A significant part of the Scholarship scheme is that each awardee will be provided with professional and career development and will be provided with a travel/support package of up to $10,000 per annum to enable to achieve their goals.

UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship holders will be supported through personalised development plans and activities. They will be expected to lead by example and contribute directly to a culture at UNSW of improving and transforming lives through excellence in research, outstanding education and a commitment to advancing a just society.

Development opportunities selected from formal courses, development modules in areas such as mentoring and knowledge exchange, teaching, industry internships or other identified development opportunities can be incorporated into the 4 year plan.

One of the nominated secondary supervisors will act as a career mentor with primary responsibility for working with the candidate on refining their development plan and planning how to use the support package.

Research excellence and outputs - Engagement in at least one national and one international opportunity for presentation of research is required and participation in Three Minute thesis development and competition at Faculty level is also expected. Candidates will be expected to provide a plan for publication and presentation in the first year of their candidature.