Policy Directory


Date approved:

April 2006

Date Policy will take effect:

April 2006

Date of Next Review:

November 2014

Approved by:

Director, Research Student Centre

Custodian title & e-mail address:

Kim Callaway, Director, Research Student Centre



Kim Callaway, Director, Research Student Centre

Responsible Faculty/
Division & Unit:

Research Student Centre, Research & Innovation Division

Supporting documents, procedures & forms of this policy:

Draft Offshore Agreement (Appendix 1)

References & Legislation:




Expiry Date of Policy:


Submit your feedback on this policy document using the Policy Feedback Facility.


1 Introduction / Background 2

2 Application Process 2

3 Off-shore Agreement 3

4 Fee Setting 5

5 Approval Process 5

6 Roles & Responsibilities 5

7 Version Control Table 5

Appendix 1 Offshore Postgraduate Student Agreement 7

    1 Introduction / Background

    • 1. These guidelines, endorsed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) outline the process for dealing with off-shore Higher Research degree applications.
    • 2. The University will normally only consider applications for off-shore candidates in exceptional circumstances. Those circumstances are:
          • a. Applications from members of academic staff at the Dubai campus; or
          • b. Where the candidature is part of a larger strategic international alliance and where there is clear evidence of a suitable academic environment in the host institution.
    • 3. Off-shore candidature normally applies to overseas full-fee paying students who:
          • a. are applying for a research higher degree, AND
          • b. are applying as individuals (rather than under a group or program initiative), AND
          • c. are undertaking research which will require an overseas location with input from an overseas institution, which may include co-supervision, facilities, equipment, and library access, AND
          • d. wish to pursue most or all of their research overseas.
    • 4. Domestic students (Australian citizens or permanent residents) who meet these criteria are also covered by these guidelines.
    • 5. Academic units are advised that under the DEST funded Research Training Scheme (RTS) no Commonwealth funding will flow from overseas full-fee paying off-shore completions. Deans should thus consider carefully the comparative costs and benefits of Off-shore candidature in terms of supervisory load. NB: Domestic students admitted under the Off-shore guidelines would be identified as ‘Distance Education On-shore students’ for the purposes of DEST load reporting and their completion would thus be counted.
    • 6. The purpose of this document is to give guidance to academic units and UniAdvice in relation to:
          • a. setting appropriate fee structures; and
          • b. ensuring provision of adequate supervision and resources.

    2 Application Process

Academic Unit Assessment (Applicants from Dubai Campus will follow standard processes for HDR Applicants)

    • 1. In its initial assessment of the application, the academic unit should consider the following:
        • Does the applicant possess the appropriate educational background, qualifications and research potential to pursue a higher research degree?
        • Does the applicant’s proposed area of research match the research interests of the academic unit and its affiliated research units?
        • Does the academic unit have appropriate supervision in the proposed research area?
        • Is there an external person with appropriate expertise to work with the student?
        • Does the applicant have access to an appropriate research library at the off-shore location?
        • Does the applicant have access to appropriate research facilities (including laboratory facilities) at the off-shore location?
        • What are the financial implications associated with the University of Wollongong Supervisor’s travel and other costs?
    • 2. Having assessed the application, if the Head of academic unit believes that the applicant should be considered for admission, they should advise the Dean.
    • 3. The Dean will then advise Research Student Centre who will initiate a formal agreement between the University, the applicant and any external parties (e.g. external supervisor, overseas institution). Section 3 (below) outlines the information that should be included in such an agreement. Research Student Centre will notify the Dean once the agreement has been signed. The student will be asked to sign and return with their acceptance form.
    • 4. All Off-shore Higher Research Degree applications that the Faculty has assessed and agreed to accept, must be sent in the first instance to the Research Student Centre for approval by the Dean of Research. If approved by the Dean of Research applications will then follow the normal admissions process through UniAdvice. The Off-shore agreement will be sent to the student with their letter of offer. Unsuccessful applications will be sent directly to UniAdvice for normal processing.

    3 Off-shore Agreement

    • 1. An agreement with institutions should be signed between the Dean of Research and the applicant in relation to Off-shore candidature.
    • 2. All agreements must contain information on the following aspects of candidature.

Location of research

    • 3. The academic unit must be assured that the remote location provides an adequate research environment, infrastructure and expertise to enable the student’s project to proceed smoothly. If another institution is involved, an agreement must be in place detailing any cost-sharing in the pursuit of the research as well as cost-sharing and ownership of any intellectual property that may arise from the research. Workplace health and safety standards and ethical clearance procedures must be within accepted University of Wollongong practice.

Appointment of a co-supervisor

    • 4. Unless specifically exempted by the Head of Postgraduate Studies, a co-supervisor must be appointed at the remote location. It is the responsibility of the academic unit to ensure that the remote co-supervisor is informed of the University’s rules and policies governing PhD candidature, as outlined in the University Calendar – Course Rules and the Code of Practice – Supervision and relevant Course Rules. A Memorandum of Understanding should be drawn up between the University and the co-supervisor.

Residency requirement

    • 5. Academic units should make a determination on the period of local residency (if any) required. In addition, they should determine the frequency and mode of direct supervisor-student interaction; attendance at research training seminars; and preparation, discussion and presentation of research proposals. Such factors should also be considered in the preparation of an appropriate fee schedule.


    • 6. The agreement should detail the effective means and frequency of regular and interactive communication between the candidate and the internal supervisor.

Research Proposal Review

    • 7. As with internal PhD candidature, Off-shore candidates must complete a formal Research Proposal Review. Academic units should detail how the research proposal will be presented, including provisions for the oral presentation, in line with the Code of Practice – Supervision and relevant Course Rules.

Annual Progress Report

    • 8. As with internal PhD candidature, Off-shore candidates must complete an Annual Progress Report. Failure to complete this review may result in a suspension of candidature. Continuation of enrolment is subject to satisfactory progress reported in the Annual Progress Report. The Annual Progress Report includes an additional section for the co-supervisor to report on the progress of the student. Academic units may request more regular reports if required.

Full-time candidature

    • 9. If the candidature is to be full-time, the academic unit must be satisfied that the candidate is able to devote full attention to the research project. Documentation should be sought to support the applicant’s claim to be studying full-time.

Student Representation

    • 10. The academic unit should give due consideration to issues of student representation in relation to the needs and interests of Off-shore candidates. In particular, the academic unit should demonstrate how adequate student representation will be provided in relation to the presentation of the research proposal and disciplinary action (including probation).

Financial Implications

    • 11. The financial implications of the student’s research project must be negotiated, clarified and agreed upon between the Faculty and the applicant.

Domestic students studying Off-shore

    • 12. Australian citizens or permanent residents would normally be offered a domestic non-RTS fee-paying place as their completion will count towards DEST allocations. They would be HECS exempt but would have to pay student body fees as well as fees to cover the supervisor’s travel costs etc as noted in point 4 below.

International students studying Off-shore

    • 13. The fee structure for international overseas students should remain flexible, so that Deans can decide on an appropriate tuition fee depending on the proportion of funds to be allocated between the overseas partner (if applicable) and the University. The decision would be based on the services and resources provided at each location, including supervision.

International academic staff employed at the Dubai Campus

    • 14. As there are no requirements for Wollongong academics to supervise these students, they are granted a fee waiver.

Ethics Clearance

    • 15. As with all on-campus research candidates, Off-shore research candidates who undertake research involving animals must complete an application for ethical clearance under the University’s Animal Ethics Committee. Similarly, research involving humans or genetically manipulated organisms must not proceed without University Human Ethics or Biosafety Committee approval. Off-shore institutions may impose additional ethical requirements.

Intellectual Property

    • 16. The University's Intellectual Property Policies set out guidelines for determining ownership and exploitation of intellectual property. The onus is on the supervisor to inform the student fully, in writing before enrolment, of any aspects of the research which are likely to result in the generation of intellectual property. As part of the annual review process, students and supervisors should also report on whether there have been any changes to the research program which may have resulted in commercially viable intellectual property. When the University asserts its proprietary interest in intellectual property developed by staff in the course of their employment, and by students enrolled in the University and using its resources, it will offer a range of services to assist with commercialisation of that intellectual property.

Access to Data and Authorship

    • 17. The University’s Code of Practice – Research, and Authorship Policy set out guidelines for determining access and retention of data, and authorship in relation to research publications. Academic units should ensure that Off-shore candidates are aware of their obligations in relation to these policies, and should endeavour to retain a copy of research data within the Academic Unit.

    4 Fee Setting

    • 1. The financial implications of the student’s research project must be negotiated, clarified and agreed upon before an offer is made. The following guidelines should assist Deans in setting an appropriate fee structure for Off-shore applicants.

Australian citizens and permanent residents

    • 2. Domestic students admitted under the Off-shore guidelines are identified as non-RTS fee-paying students. There is no tuition fee (HECS exempt) for such students, but Deans should determine an appropriate fee structure for the cost of supervision, including:
          • a. Airfares for supervisor to visit student at off-shore location;
          • b. Local transportation, meals, incidentals, sundries, accommodation at off-shore location for supervisor during visit; and
          • c. Estimated salary cost of supervisor’s time to travel to off-shore location.

Citizens of other countries

    • 3. Under the Research Training Scheme (RTS) no Commonwealth funding will flow from overseas full-fee paying off-shore completions. The only income derived from these students is therefore the fee charged. Deans should consider carefully the comparative costs and benefits of Off-shore candidature in terms of supervisory load.
    • 4. In setting an appropriate fee for overseas off-shore candidates, the Dean should include:
          • a. Current on-shore international student tuition fee for that course (or part-time equivalent if appropriate);
          • b. Airfares for supervisor to visit student at off-shore location;
          • c. Local transportation, meals, incidentals, sundries, accommodation at off-shore location for supervisor during visit; and
          • d. Estimated salary cost of supervisor’s time to travel to off-shore location.

    5 Approval Process

    • 1. Once an application has been assessed by the Academic Unit, it must be sent to the Dean for approval. Final approval of an Off-shore candidate rests with the Dean of Research.

    6 Roles & Responsibilities

    • 1. Roles and Responsibilities are as detailed in these Guidelines.

    7 Version Control Table

Version Control

Date Effective

Approved By



April 2006


First version


25 Jan 2012

Director, Research Student Centre

Migrated to UOW Policy Template for inclusion in the Policy Directory.


30 Nov 2012

Vice-Principal (Administration)

Updated to reflect change from OHS to WHS.

    Appendix 1 Offshore Postgraduate Student Agreement

THIS AGREEMENT is made on day of [Year].


      UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG (ABN: 61 060 567 686) of Northfields Avenue, Wollongong in the State of New South Wales (“UOW”).



      A. [STUDENT NAME] is a joint Research Fellow at the [home institution]

      [Student Name] wishes to undertake Ph.D. studies with the [school/faculty], at UOW on a full-time basis as an offshore Higher Degree Research student. The proposed Ph.D. dissertation topic is [insert research topic.]

      B. This agreement sets out the terms and conditions whereby [student name] will undertake their studies with UOW, whilst continuing in their roles with the [home institution] and later in Wollongong for their final year.


      1. Conduct of PhD Studies


      1.1 [Student name] will be enrolled as a full time Ph.D. candidate at UOW for three years commencing from the beginning of the [Autumn/Spring] session [insert year].

      1.2 [Student name] must reside in Australia for one year commencing [Autumn/Spring] session [insert year].

      1.3 [Student name] will be subject to and must comply with the same conditions of enrolment and UOW policies and procedures applicable to all postgraduate students of UOW including but not limited to:-

        (a) Code of Practice – Research,

        (b) Research Misconduct Policy, and

        (c) Authorship Policy.


      1.4 Student name will be supervised as follows:

        (a) Principal academic supervisor is [Title], [Name], [Faculty], [School]

        (b) Co supervisor is [name], UOW;

        (c) Associate supervisor, on site advisor and [home institution] liaison between [school/faculty] and [student name] will be [name], [location] [Insert contact details].

      Location of Studies

      1.5 [Student name] will undertake their studies at [home institution] in [Year] and [Year] and at UOW in [Year]. It is expected that they will visit UOW at least twice during the period of PhD candidature to present work-in-progress seminars and interact directly with their UOW supervisors. Travel, accommodation and related costs for visits to UOW shall be borne by [student name].

      Communication between [student name] and UOW

1.6 [Student name] and their academic supervisors at UOW should be in regular contact by e-mail.

      [Student name] should meet regularly with [Associate supervisor name] and reports from these meetings should be forwarded to the academic supervisors at [insert location] by e-mail.

Academic Progress – Reports

      1.7 Milestones for the first year will be mutually agreed upon and formally documented in the UOW Higher Degree Research student Commencement of Candidature Form.

      1.8 Within the first 12 months of candidature, UOW and [student name] will enter into mutually convenient arrangements for the formal Research Proposal Review to be completed by [student name] commensurate with the requirements set out in UOW’s Code of Practice – Supervision [or alternative arrangements at external organisation].

      1.9 The compulsory annual Higher Degree Research annual progress report should be initially discussed via e-mail and/or phone conference, and then completed on-line via the appropriate UOW web site. Further communication should be organised as necessary to maintain communication between the academic supervisors and [student name].


      1.10 [Student name] will have the following resources [insert list]. [Student name] will require the following special research facilities [insert details].

      Intellectual Property

      1.11 [Insert agreed IP Arrangements].

      1.12 [Student name] will provide the University with access to and copies of all research data relevant to the PhD thesis.

      2. Fee structure

2.1. UOW will:-

        (a) provide [Student name] with a higher degree research tuition fee exemption scholarship for three years; and

        (b) provide [Student name] with a scholarship of [amount] for the academic year at UOW commencing in [year], to be paid pursuant to usual UOW practices.

      3. Notices

      3.1 Relevant addresses for the giving of any notice under this agreement shall be as follows or as may from time to time be specified in writing between the parties.

              For UOW Professor Tim Marchant

              Dean of Research

              University of Wollongong NSW 2522

              Tel: (61 2) 4221 3861

              For [Institution] [institution supervisor contact details]

              [Student] [contact details]

      4. Disputes

      4.1 Any disputes relating to the academic progress of [Student name] must be handled pursuant to usual UOW higher degree student policies, procedures and/or rules.

      4.2 Any disputes regarding this agreement shall as far as possible be settled by agreement between the parties. If the dispute is not resolved, then the dispute is to be referred to the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre for mediation or any other agreed venue which conducts mediation.

      5. Term and Termination

      5.1 This agreement shall commence on the date of last signature and continue until [Student name] has completed their studies toward the award of a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at UOW unless earlier terminated.

5.2 Either UOW or [Student name] may immediately terminate this agreement if:

        (a) [Student name] fails to make satisfactory progress toward their studies for the award of a Ph.D. at UOW and, in accordance with UOW policies and procedures, is excluded by UOW from continuation of their studies.

        (b) In accordance with UOW’s policies and procedures, [student name] is found to have committed student misconduct.

        (c) [Student name] fails to pay the fee on the due date.

      6. General

      6.1 Amendment - This agreement may only be amended or varied by mutual agreement of the parties in writing.

      6.2 Governing Law and Jurisdiction - This agreement is governed by the laws of New South Wales and the parties submit to exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales.

      6.3 No Assignment -Neither this agreement nor any part of it shall be assignable by either party.

      6.4 No Partnership or Agency - For the purpose of this agreement, both parties shall be and shall be deemed to be independent contractors and not agents or employees of the other. Neither party shall have authority to make any statements, representation or commitment of any kind or to take any action that will be binding on the other party.

      6.5 Entire Agreement - This agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties with respect to its subject matter. It sets out the only conduct relied on by the parties and supersedes all earlier conduct by and agreements between the parties with respect to its subject matter.

      6.6 Severability - If any one or more of the provisions of this agreement are held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, the validity, legality or enforceability of the remaining provisions of this agreement shall not in any way be affected or impaired.

      6.7 Waiver - No delay or indulgence by a party in enforcing this agreement will prejudice or restrict the rights of that party, nor will a waiver of those rights regarding a breach operate as a waiver of a subsequent breach.

      6.8 No disadvantage - No part of this agreement is to be construed to the disadvantage of a party because that party was responsible for its preparation.

      6.9 Counterparts - This agreement may be executed in any number of counterparts. All counterparts taken together will be taken to constitute one agreement. An executed counterpart may be delivered by facsimile or other electronic means.

      THIS AGREEMENT EXECUTED the day of [Year]

      EXECUTED for and on behalf of


      By its authorised representative

      (Signature) (name and position)

      (Signature of witness) (Print name of witness)

      (Date of Signatures)

      EXECUTED by


(Signature of individual)

      (Signature of witness) (Print name of witness)

      (Date of Signatures)

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