Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Health Literacy

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1.       Background

a.       A Postgraduate Research Scholarship in Health Literacy has been developed to support outstanding researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Health (School of Public Health) to implement and evaluate a co-designed health literacy program for new parents (Parenting Plus). This includes leading a program of research to support socially-disadvantaged parents to access and participate in the Parenting Plus program, and evaluate the impact of the program for this cohort. This will involve working with a multi-disciplinary research team, healthcare providers across three NSW Local Health Districts and new parents over a period of 3.5 years and applying a mixed-methods evaluation approach under the supervision of Professor Kirsten McCaffery and Dr Danielle Muscat.

b.       This research is supported by Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.

2.       Eligibility

a.       Applicants must be an Australia Citizen, New Zealand Citizen, or an Australian Permanent Resident.

b.       Applicants must hold an unconditional offer of admission to undertake PhD on a full-time basis at the Faculty of Medicine and Health (School of Public Health) of University of Sydney.

c.       Applicants must also hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a First Class Honours Equivalent Degree or a Master’s degree with a substantial research component in a relevant area of study (psychology, public health, medicine, allied health, or similar).

d.       Applicants must be undertaking research under the supervision of Dr Danielle Muscat and Professor Kirsten McCaffery.

3.       Selection Criteria

a.       The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the basis of:

i.          demonstrated academic achievement,

ii.         demonstrated research experience preferably in the field of health literacy, maternal and child health, health equity and/or health program evaluation,

iii.         curriculum vitae,

iv.         feedback from two academic referees,

v.          area of study and/or research proposal demonstrating a strong interest in the field of health literacy, maternal and child health, health equity, and/or health program evaluation,

vi.        a background in health science (psychology, public health, medicine, allied health, or similar) and,

vii.       sound understanding of quantitative and/or qualitative research methods and analysis.

viii.      interview

b.       The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship by the Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships Sub-Committee (HDRSSC) on the recommendation of Dr Danielle Muscat and Professor Kirsten McCaffery.

4.       Value

a.       The Scholarship provides an RTP stipend (living allowance) of $35,629 per annum (indexed on 1st January) for up to 3.5 years for PhD candidates.

b.       No extension is possible

c.       Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the Scholarship, will be deducted from the maximum duration of the Scholarship.

d.       The Scholarship cannot be deferred or transferred to another area of research.

e.       No other amount is payable.

f.        The Scholarship will be offered subject to the availability of funding.

5.       Eligibility for Progression

a.       Progression is subject to passing the annual progress evaluations, and maintaining satisfactory progress in coursework.

6.       Leave Arrangements

a.       Holders of the Scholarship receive up to 20 working days recreation leave every 12 months of the Scholarship and this may be accrued.  Any unused leave when the Scholarship is terminated or completed will be forfeited.  Recreation leave does not attract a leave loading. The supervisor’s agreement must be obtained before leave is taken.

b.       Holders of the Scholarship may take up to 10 working days sick leave every 12 months of the Scholarship and this may be accrued over the tenure of the Scholarship.  Students with carer responsibility may convert up to five days of their annual sick leave entitlement to carers leave on presentation of medical certificate/s.  Students taking sick leave must inform their supervisor as soon as practicable.

c.       Holders of the Scholarship may receive additional paid sick leave of up to a total of twelve weeks during their scholarship for medically substantiated periods of illness where the student has insufficient sick leave entitlements available under Clause 6b above.  Students applying for additional paid sick leave must do so at the start of absence or as soon as practicable.  Periods of additional paid sick leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship.

d.       Once female holders of the Scholarship have completed twelve months of their award, they are entitled to a maximum of twelve weeks paid maternity leave during the tenure of the Scholarship if she is the person who gives birth.  Students applying for paid maternity leave should do so at least four weeks prior to the expected date of confinement.  Periods of paid maternity leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship. Holders of the Scholarship who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity leave through the suspension provisions.

e.       For non-birth giving scholarship holders, upon completed twelve months of their award, they are entitled to a maximum of 5 days paid paternity leave. Periods of paid paternity leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship. Holders of the Scholarship who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity leave through the suspension provisions.

7.       Research Overseas

a.       The Scholarship recipient may not normally conduct research overseas within the first six months of award.

b.       The Scholarship holder may conduct up to 12 months of their research outside Australia. Approval must be sought from the student’s supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC) and will only be granted if the research is essential for completion of the degree. All periods of overseas research are cumulative and will be counted towards a student’s candidature. Students must remain enrolled full-time at the University and receive approval to count time away.

8.       Suspension

a.       Holders of the Scholarship cannot suspend their award within the first six months.

b.       Holders of the Scholarship may apply for up to 4 research periods suspension for any reason during the tenure of their award.  Periods of suspension are cumulative and failure to resume study after suspension will result in the award being terminated.  Approval to suspend must be given by the Head of the Department/School concerned.  Periods of study towards the degree during suspension of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum tenure of the Scholarship.

c.       Female holders of the Scholarship are entitled to up to an additional 4 research periods suspension (less any period of paid maternity leave) following each birth.  The Scholarship holder should apply for the suspension within four weeks of the expected date of confinement.

9.       Changes in Enrolment

a.       The Scholarship recipient must notify HDRAC and their supervisor promptly of any planned changes to their enrolment including but not limited to: attendance pattern, suspension, leave of absence, withdrawal, course transfer, and candidature upgrade or downgrade. If the award holder does not provide notice of the changes identified above, the University may require repayment of any overpaid stipend.

10.   Termination

a.       Unless terminated according to provisions specified in earlier clauses, the Scholarship will be terminated:

I.       upon submission of the thesis or at the end of the award;

II.      on resignation or withdrawal of the student from their HDR program;

III.     if the student ceases to be a full-time student and prior approval has not been obtained to hold the Scholarship on a part-time basis;

 IV.     upon the student having completed 14 research periods full-time study for a PhD,

 V.     if the recipient receives an alternative stipend scholarship whose value exceeds 75% of the stipend value of this scholarship.

VI.     does not resume study at the end of a period of approved leave, or;

VII.     if the student ceases to meet the eligibility requirements specified for this Scholarship, (other than during a period in which the Scholarship has been suspended or during a period of approved leave);

b.       The Scholarship may also be terminated by the University before this time if, in the opinion of the University:

I.        the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the terms of this offer;

II.       the student fails to maintain satisfactory progress, or;

III.      the student has committed misconduct or other inappropriate conduct. 

c.       Stipend payments will be suspended throughout the duration of any enquiry/appeal process.

d.       Once the Scholarship has been terminated, it will not be reinstated unless due to University error.  

11.   Misconduct

a.       Where during the Scholarship a student engages in misconduct, or other inappropriate conduct (either during the Scholarship or in connection with the student’s application and eligibility for the Scholarship), which in the opinion of the University warrants recovery of funds paid to the student, the University may require the student to repay stipend amounts and any other payments made to the student in connection with the Scholarship.  Examples of such conduct include and without limitation; academic dishonesty, research misconduct within the meaning of the Research Code of Conduct (for example, plagiarism in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, or failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interests), breach of the Code of Conduct for Students and misrepresentation in the application materials or other documentation associated with the Scholarship. 

b.       The University may require such repayment at any time during or after the Scholarship period.  In addition, by accepting this Scholarship, the student consents to all aspects of any investigation into misconduct in connection with this Scholarship being disclosed by the University to the funding body and/or any relevant professional body.



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