5. Eligibility

NHMRC staff will not make eligibility rulings prior to an application being submitted. It is up to the applicant, in consultation with their Research Administration Officer (RAO), to judge whether or not their application will be suitable.

To be eligible for a Postgraduate Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Only apply for one Postgraduate Scholarship per application round (regardless of the category in which they are applying).
  • Ensure they submit a complete application (including supervisor report and uploaded documents required to conduct a complete assessment of an application). Incomplete applications will be ineligible.
  • Not have previously received funding for a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship.
  • Have a proposed project that is based in Australia. Elements of the project can be undertaken outside of Australia (e.g. data gathering) but the scholar, supervisor and project must be all Australian based and located at an Australian Institution.

Category specific eligibility requirements can be found in section 6

The NHMRC reserves the right to relocate an application to the correct research category based on the research proposal, the supervisor’s expertise and/or advice from the peer review panels and, in doing so,  applications that do not meet the requirements of the category to which they have been relocated will be ineligible. 

5.1 Ineligible situations

Applicants will be ineligible if at the time of application:

  • The applicant is a current holder of an Australian Government Scholarship such as an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)
  • The applicant is in their final year of an honours degree
  • The degree proposed is not a PhD or a Research Masters degree
  • The proposed degree is not a research degree
  • The applicant has completed more than 24 months of their PhD candidature as at 1 January in the first year of funding (or 12 months of their Masters candidature if applying for a Masters Postgraduate Scholarship from 1 January in the first year of funding).

5.2 Multiple Grant Eligibility and Other Funding Sources

NHMRC Postgraduate Scholars are not able to personally receive a salary from another comparable award, full-time academic position, or other full-time position in conjunction with their NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship. NHMRC Postgraduate Scholars must inform the NHMRC if such situations arise. 

When applying for a Postgraduate Scholarship, applicants must declare the source, duration and levels of all research funding held or applied for, including all NHMRC funding, in order to ensure funding by the Commonwealth is not duplicated.

NHMRC may liaise with other funding agencies to discuss any overlap between applications in order to avoid duplication of funding (refer to section 8.3 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2017).

5.3 Citizenship

Refer to section 7.4 of the NHMRC Funding Rules 2017. Applicants who are not Australian citizens (as indicated in Part Pro-PD Personal Details of their CV in RGMS) must also indicate their Permanent Resident of Australia status in the same section, otherwise the application will be ineligible.

5.4 Time Commitment

The duration of a full-time or part-time Postgraduate Scholarship will be reduced by any periods of study undertaken towards the nominated degree prior to the commencement of the Postgraduate Scholarship. 

Example: full-time equivalent (FTE) study completed at 31 December in the year of application is six months.  Therefore the scholar will be entitled to receive 2.5 years of full-time funding (three years minus six months).

5.4.1 Full-time Postgraduate Scholarships

These are intended to provide support for scholars who are engaging in research full-time.  All Postgraduate Scholarships are funded for a maximum period of three years for a PhD and two years for a Research Masters degree.  All Postgraduate Scholarships are funded for a minimum of one year. 

5.4.2 Study Part-time Scholarship Option

Part-time Postgraduate Scholarships are available to Medical/Dental Postgraduate Scholarship holders who are undertaking dual training – postgraduate medical/dental and a PhD program.  The maximum period for which a part-time Postgraduate Scholarship can be held is six years (part-time Postgraduate Scholarships are not offered for a Masters degree, except where an applicant’s personal circumstances require this, as detailed in section 5.4.3 below). 

5.4.3 Personal Part-time Option

There are occasions when postgraduate scholars who wish to maintain a research career are unable to do so because their capacity to engage in full-time research is limited due to:

  • parental or carer responsibilities
  • personal illness

In these circumstances, scholars in all categories are able to apply for part-time support to allow them to divide their time between their personal situations and part-time research. 

Under this part-time option, non-scholarship time is intended to be dedicated to serving the needs of a scholar’s personal circumstances, and cannot be spent on other paid employment, research, teaching or administrative roles, or clinical or practitioner responsibilities.  The only exception is for scholars who already hold a scholarship on a part-time basis as described in section 5.4.2 above.  This option is available for 50-90% of a full-time position (i.e. 0.5-0.9 FTE), and is intended to be held for the duration of the award.

The length of the Scholarship may be extended to adjust for periods in which the Scholarship was taken on a part-time basis (see section 5.4).  The maximum period for which a part-time PhD Postgraduate Scholarship can be held is six years, and a part-time Research Masters is four years. 

It is important to note that NHMRC will not provide compensation for any taxation components (refer to section 8.5: Taxation).