Policy Academic Governance HDR Scholarship Scoring Procedure

HDR Scholarship Scoring Procedure

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This procedure has been established to specify how James Cook University (JCU; the University) Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Scholarships are allocated to HDR candidates, based upon the following principles:

  • Scholarships are awarded primarily to enable research training for HDR candidates.
  • Scholarships must be awarded on merit as well as consideration of the full range of pathways and experiences candidates from diverse backgrounds can bring to their HDR candidature at JCU.
  • Scholarships will be allocated in alignment with the JCU Research Strategy.
  • Consideration should be given to advancing underrepresented groups.

This procedure addresses HESF Standards 1.1: Admission, and 4.2: Research Education.


This procedure applies to applicants for HDR Scholarships offered by the University, and to relevant University staff involved in the application assessment process.

HDR Scholarships that are 100% funded from an external funding source will be covered under a separate funding agreement and awarded as defined in that agreement.

This procedure does not apply to tuition fee only scholarships.


Terms mentioned in this document not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.

HDR Scholarships: the priority, and competitively awarded scholarships from the centrally funded pool which are paid as a living allowance stipend to HDR candidates. HDR Scholarships are awarded across all campuses.


1. The process for submitting an application for scholarship can be found on the Graduate Research School’s (GRS) How to Apply webpage. Timing and closing dates for scholarship application rounds are as per the HDR Scholarships webpage.

2. Where an applicant is not already enrolled as a HDR candidate at JCU, upon receipt of an application for scholarship the GRS will process the application for entry into the PhD as per the HDR Application Procedure.

3. Priority scholarships in the following categories are allocated prior to consideration of scoring for the remainder of available budget, contingent upon approval of the candidature application by the College:

a. For grant applicants/fellowship awardees as per online information.

b. For those with external co-funding as per HDR Co-funded Scholarship Procedure and

c. For applicants who graduated (or will graduate) from JCU with Honours Class I, Master of Philosophy, or a Postgraduate degree (coursework Masters, Graduate Certificate/Diploma Research Methods with a research component of 6 months FTE and a course GPA of >85% for the thesis component) will be offered a Research Training Program Scholarship (RTPS) or James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship (JCUPRS) . Note:a JCU GPA of 6 out of a maximum of 7 is equivalent to 85%.

4. If there are more candidates for priority scholarships than there are scholarships available in the categories listed under clauses 3 a-c, or if awarding a scholarship will breach any other clause in this Procedure, the competitive process via the Scholarship Selection Panel will apply.

5. HDR Scholarship applicants will be considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible, starting with that of the highest value through to that of the lowest value.

6. HDR Scholarship applications will be assessed and ranked by a Scholarship Selection Panel appointed by the Dean, Graduate Research, which will include academic staff of relevant organisational units and where relevant, external partners.

7. The Scholarship Selection Panels will assess applications against the framework in Appendix 1, and make a recommendation to the Dean, Graduate Research of the successful recipients.

8. Where application numbers are more than double the number of scholarships available, the GRS may advise Colleges of the number of applicants to submit for panel ranking. Colleges may rank applicants based on College strategy.

9. The Dean, Graduate Research on the advice of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Research may direct scholarships towards specific JCU research missions or strategies.

10. Selection panel members must not assess any application for which they are on the proposed advisory panel. Any other actual or perceived conflicts of interest must be managed via the Declaration of Conflict of Interest Form and relevant Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedure.

11. Scholarship applicants who are eligible for the Indigenous RTPS Scholarships (RTPSI) must also be endorsed by the DVC Indigenous Education and Strategy prior to the scholarship being offered. If not endorsed, applicants will be returned to the pool of scholarship applicants for consideration for other scholarships.

12. A Primary Advisor cannot be the Primary Advisor of more than two new competitively awarded HDR scholarship awardees in any single year.  This excludes “priority” scholarships outlined in clause 3, meaning a primary advisor may take on up to two competitively awarded scholarship awardees in one year, plus any awardees of a priority scholarship.

13. JCU reserves the right to alter or deviate from this Procedure if required to respond to external factors beyond the control of JCU or changes to JCU’s Research Strategy.

14. The outcome of scholarship applications, including formal offers, may only be sent to candidates by the GRS.

15. No individual scholarship applicant’s rank will be released to any party.

16. Associate Deans, Research Education and Primary Advisors will be notified by the GRS when scholarship offers are made to candidates of their College.

17. All correspondence relating to HDR Scholarship Applications must be directed to grs@jcu.edu.au.

18.  All applications are managed in accordance with the University’s Information Privacy Policy.

19. The University will obtain consent of the successful applicants before publishing or promoting outcomes.

20. Records of all decisions made throughout the establishment, administration, application and selection process must be kept in accordance with the University’s Records Management Policy.

21. Students dissatisfied with an outcome made under this Policy or associated Procedure may make a complaint under the University’s Student Complaints Policy.

Related documents

Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedure

HDR Application Procedure

HDR Co-funded Scholarship Procedure

HDR Requirements

Information Privacy Policy

Records Management Policy

Student Complaints Policy


Appendix 1 – Scholarship Applicant Assessment Framework


Note: Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Domain Academic Governance
Policy Sub-domainResearch Education

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next major review


Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date


24-115/04/202429/04/2024Major review.Manager, Graduate Research School
23-1 15/06/2023 15/06/2023 Minor amendment to Clause 1 to remove outdated scholarship deadline and instead direct reader to HDR Scholarships webpage.  
22-2 2/6/2022 6/6/2022 Review for 2023 Applications  
22-1 1/3/22 1/3/22 Administrative change: Scholarships granted by this method must be taken up in the year of award to allow for the new cohort of grant recipients in the subsequent year.  
21-2 26/10/21 26/10/21 Administrative change: Added "NHMRC Investigator Grant" to clause 14.  




Review for 2022 Scholarships





Review for 2021 Scholarships





Domestic Prestige scholarships disestablished, not fit for purpose. Funds used for MPhil or “Equity” group scholarships or top ups.

Confirmation of Candidature removed as a scoring mechanism,  current students scored as per others





New procedure for scholarship Applications 2019



29 June 2017

4 July 2017

New procedure for scholarship Applications 2018



20 May 2016

1 July 2016

New procedure for scholarship  Applications 2017

Contact personManager, Graduate Research School