Policy Research Education Higher Degree by Research Code of Practice

Higher Degree by Research Code of Practice

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One of the major functions of a university is to provide education and training in research and scholarship. Indeed, universities are the only institutions that are funded directly by the Australian Government to engage in research training for degree purposes. The institutional purpose is to graduate students whose research skills equip them to perform successfully in both academic and industrial environments in a global context. In turn, the work of research higher degree candidates (HDR candidates) is essential for the intellectual vibrancy of the institution and constitutes a powerful driver of research capability.

University research training involves the active participation of both staff and HDR candidates. The task of ensuring that research training is conducted in the most efficient and effective manner is shared by all parties: the institution, its academic staff and HDR candidates all have legitimate expectations of each other. University policy in the area of research and research education is designed to provide a set of principles and statements of good practice with respect to matters such as supervision, college management, infrastructure support, monitoring of progress, and examinations. The policies incorporate reasonable student expectations about their research training. The completion of a research higher degree represents a considerable investment from several sources that always include the HDR candidate, their family, and the University, and may also include industry partners, and Australian and/or other governments. The purpose of this document is to set out the HDR candidate’s expectations of University research higher degree training, and the corresponding expectations that the University has of its HDR candidates.

1. HDR Candidate Expectations

1.1 General

HDR candidates can expect:

1.1.1 Representation in relevant forums at college, division and University levels;

1.1.2 Opportunities to form scholarly relationships with staff in an environment of mutual respect and trust;

1.1.3 Information on University, division and college policies on matters such as enrolment, resources, research and professional ethics, intellectual property, and workplace health and safety;

1.1.4 Access to library support, information services and IT infrastructure;

1.1.5 Access to training in the skills necessary to complete their thesis and to prepare them for their chosen career in research, academia or industry;

1.1.6 Equitable access to the basic resources required for their project;

1.1.7 Access to academic and personal counselling;

1.1.8 Appropriate mediation and/or resolution of grievances that are related to candidature;

1.1.9 Information on the appeals processes relating to candidature milestones and the examination of theses and to be able to appeal the recommendations of these processes where there is some doubt or suggestion that due process was not observed. (see Student Review and Appeals Policy)

1.2 Relationship with the Advisory Panel

HDR candidates can expect:

1.2.1 To be supervised by a staff member who is engaged actively in research in the general field;

1.2.2 That high quality supervision can be provided and maintained throughout the research period;

1.2.3 That Advisors will assist them in selecting their topics and planning the study program, including career planning and professional development;

1.2.4 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;

1.2.5 That Advisors will, on behalf of the college and the University, monitor the HDR candidate’s progress relative to the standard required for the degree, and constructively advise the HDR candidate when progress falls below the standard generally expected;

1.2.6 To have access to reasonable levels of ongoing advice and support from all members of their Advisory Panel, bearing in mind that primary responsibility for their candidature remains with the Primary Advisor;

1.2.7 To have regular access to all members of the Advisory Panel as agreed at the beginning of candidature, preferably via a formal agreement between candidate and advisors;

1.2.8 To be given, at the beginning of candidature, the criteria on which decisions about each of the candidature milestones will be made;

1.2.9 That Advisors will encourage attendance at relevant conferences and will assist in the preparation of work for publication or other appropriate forms of dissemination. (The University will provide assistance to attend relevant conferences in accordance with the Minimum Standard of Resources and Facilities and other Support Provided for HDR candidates procedure; (https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/forms-and-policies/hdr-minimum-standard-or-resources,-facilities-and-other-support-procedure)

1.2.10 That Advisors will maintain a mutually-agreed level of contact and that agreed-upon submission of work can continue when members of the Advisory Panel or the HDR candidates is away from the University campus;

1.2.11 That Advisors will discuss outlines and read drafts of theses to advise the student about the acceptable standard of scholarly and technical presentation in a timely manner, preferably agreed in a formal agreement between the candidate and advisors.

1.3 College Support

HDR candidate can expect:

1.3.1 To be able to identify poor supervision without reprisal and to have valid complaints investigated promptly;

1.3.2 Frankness in relation to the college’s ability to offer appropriate supervision, funding for direct research costs, and appropriate infrastructure support;

1.3.3 To be informed prior to enrolment of all financial and supervisory arrangements which might affect them and the proposed project. Such arrangements could include external grant funds and externally funded scholarships, factors that might impact on funding continuity and foreseeable interruptions to the availability of members of the Advisory Panel;

1.3.4 To be informed at the time of enrolment of intellectual property, confidentiality and authorship considerations and how these matters will be handled in the event that candidature is terminated, the HDR candidate changes Advisors, college or university, or the HDR candidate withdraws from candidature;

1.3.5 To be informed, prior to enrolment, of the implications that third party involvement might have for the candidate’s project. These could include, for example, the rights of the third party, 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;

1.3.6 To receive resources for their project at least at a level, which accords with the University’s approved policy on the Minimum Standard of Resources and Facilities and other Support Provided for HDR candidates (https://www.jcu.edu.au/graduate-research-school/forms-and-policies/hdr-minimum-standard-or-resources,-facilities-and-other-support-procedure);

1.3.7 To be advised as soon as possible of any changes to funding arrangements that may affect the conduct of their research and/or stipend support.

2. University Expectations

2.1 General

The University expects advisors and HDR candidate to be familiar with and adhere to relevant University rules, policies, guidelines and codes of conduct, wherever they are applicable to postgraduate work. In particular students should be familiar with policies on Student Conduct, Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, conduct of research, intellectual property, work health and safety, and the requirements for data lodgement.

2.1.1 The JCU Code of Conduct states that staff must “avoid placing [themselves] in direct positions of responsibility relating to the employment or studies of a person, where [they]{ have, or have had, a close personal relationship with that person”. Hence Advisory Panel members must not have a marital, de facto, sexual or close family relationship with the candidate, nor should there be any reason to believe that there is such a relationship between an Advisor and a HDR Candidate. If such circumstances arise during the candidature, both parties must inform one of the ADRE, Dean of College or Dean, Graduate Research within 10 working days to make consequential changes to the Advisory Panel and any other necessary arrangements.

2.2 HDR candidates can be expected to:

2.2.1 Take an active, self-motivated approach to research seeking input from other staff and HDR candidate when possible; and, while acknowledging that the Advisors’ input and guidance are crucial, accept final responsibility for the research and the thesis;

2.2.2 Follow University guidelines and regulations pertaining to their degrees, in particular to comply with the contents of any guidelines or handbook for HDR Candidates, and the contractual obligations associated with any third party funding of their research to raise any questions or concerns with Advisors, Associate Dean Research Education in their college, College Dean, or Dean or Deputy Dean of Graduate Research, as appropriate in the context;

2.2.3 Develop their transferable skills in the context of their career aspirations and University policy on professional development for HDR candidates;

2.2.4 Treat University facilities and equipment used in research with due care and in an appropriate manner;

2.2.5 Obtain ethical clearances or permits for their research wherever necessary and abide by workplace health and safety policies and procedures as required;

2.2.6 Keep abreast of the latest literature in the research field in order to be aware of any developments affecting the project and to maintain a broad knowledge of the field;

2.2.7 Conduct their research in an ethical manner;

2.2.8 Accede to reasonable requests from relevant university staff with respect to their candidature and research;

2.2.8 Have verbal and written competence in academic English at a level appropriate for the production of a thesis and for the reporting of research results;

2.1.10 See that final drafts are proofread and edited to an acceptable scholarly standard for submission;

2.2.11 Lodge a copy of their aggregate data in the college in which the data were generated.

2.3 Relationship with the Advisory Panel

HDR candidates can be expected to:

2.3.1 Maintain a mutually agreed level of contact with their Advisory Panel, preferably as agreed through a formal agreement between the candidate and advisors, 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 the University campus on field work or research trips;

2.3.2 Refrain from embarking on any significant variation to the topic unless agreed with the Advisory Panel;

2.3.3 Submit regular drafts of work as agreed with the Advisory Panel, and to allow their Advisors a reasonable amount of time to read and comment in detail, (preferably as defined in a formal agreement between the candidate and advisors). Written work should be submitted before advisory meetings;

2.3.4 Inform the Advisory Panel of any personal or other difficulties (without necessarily specifying the details) which have slowed or may slow progress;

2.3.5 Be aware that if significant and intractable problems in the Advisory Panel- HDR candidate relationship should arise which cannot be resolved by discussion, the Associate Dean Research Education in their college in the first instance and if necessary the Dean of College and the Dean or Deputy Dean of Graduate Research should be consulted;

2.3.6 If they are off-campus students, establish and maintain a suitable means of regular contact with their Advisory Panel.

2.4 College Activities

HDR candidate can be expected to:

2.4.1 Present and attend such seminars as required;

2.4.2 Attend such courses as are specified by the college;

2.4.3 Treat all colleagues, HDR candidate, students and staff with respect;

2.4.4 Contribute to the intellectual and social life of the college by participation in activities such as meetings of the Postgraduate Student Committee and by attendance at research seminars, discussion groups and other academic functions;

2.4.5 Wherever possible attend and present work at relevant conferences and to publish work in appropriate scholarly outlets.

2.5 University Procedures

HDR candidate can be expected to:

2.5.1 Pursue work diligently with a view to completing their thesis within the specified time, and with a minimum of interruption;

2.5.2 Submit timely and accurate progress reports as required;

2.5.3 Ensure that no plagiarism or other form of academic misconduct is committed;

2.5.4 Ensure that the presentation and format of their thesis meets the University's requirements as set out in the current Graduate Research School procedures; and to submit their thesis in a form suitable for examination, that follows the protocols of scholarly presentation appropriate to the discipline and is, as far as possible, free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors.

2.6 Compliance with HDR Code of Practice

2.6.1 The University is committed to providing HDR Candidates and their Advisors with access to education and training in relation to the requirements of this code.

2.6.2 Where uncertain about the application or interpretation of this code, HDR Candidates and their Advisors should consult with the Associate Dean Research Education in their college in the first instance and if necessary the Dean of College and the Dean or Deputy Dean of Graduate Research as appropriate.

2.6.3 Failure to comply with this code may lead to disciplinary action, and in serious cases may lead to termination of candidature and/or criminal prosecution.

Related Documents

Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research

Health, Safety and Environment Policy

Intellectual Property Policy and Procedure

Research Data Management

Student Review and Appeals Policy

Student Code of Conduct

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

DVC Research

Approval authority:

Academic Board

Date for next review:


Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date



18-301/11/201803/12/2018Minor amendment to reflect establishment of Student Appeals PolicyChair of Academic Board
18-2 30/04/2018

Changes made to reflect headline restructure 30/04/2018.

Quality, Standards and Policy
18-123/02/201823/02/2018Changed name of document from HDR Code of Conduct to HDR Code of Practice to differentiate from ' Student Code of Conduct'Graduate Research School




Amendments made in light of procedural and cultural changes, title amended to HDR Code of Conduct and changes to clause 2.2.2.

Graduate Research School




Approved by Academic Board





Approved by University Council