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HDR End-user Engagement Reporting

The Australian Government Department of Education and Training (DET) has introduced new HDR indicators to be collected from 2018 under the Higher Education Data Collection program. The aim of the new data requirement is to improve monitoring of the research training system and to support new research block grant funding arrangements in response to the Australian Council Of Learned Academies (ACOLA) Review of Australia's Research Training System. The University has to report every time a Higher Degree by Research student engages with an industry or is supervised by someone from an industry or is funded by someone from an industry.

A research end‑user is defined as an individual, community or organisation external to academia that will directly use or directly benefit from the output, outcome or results of the research.

The reporting for HDR end-user engagement has five components:

  • Research internship with a research end‑user
  • Joint supervision by a research end‑user
  • Jointly funded or fully funded by a research end-user
  • Formal training on industry engagement
  • Other commercialisation and engagement activities

Specific exclusions of research end‑user are:

  • Other higher education providers
  • Organisations that are affiliates, controlled entities or subsidiaries (such as Medical Research Institutes) of a higher education provider
  • Equivalents (international or domestic) of the above exclusion.

Definitions and Examples of the components:

Research internship is defined as a temporary position with a research end‑user where a student has undertaken research and development (R&D) related to their higher degree by research (HDR). A research internship must be for a period of at least 30 days, can be either paid or unpaid, and can form part of the enrolment or be undertaken during an HDR period of suspension.

Example 1:

A student is undertaking a research internship with a research end-user organisation and the period is 30 days, where the student is attending 5 days a week.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as internship.

Example 2:

A student is undertaking a research internship with a research end-user and the period is less than 30 days.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as other commercialisation or engagement activities.

Example 3:

Student is undertaking a research internship with multiple research end-users, but the period is not continuous 30 days with one provider.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as other commercialisation or engagement activities.

Example 4:

Student is undertaking a research internship with multiple research end-users where the student is attending 31 days for one internship and 14.5 days for the other

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as internship for the 31 attendance days and other commercialisation or engagement activities for 14.5 attendance days.

Jointly supervised by a research end–user is defined as an HDR student that has at least two HDR supervisors, with at least one supervisor from a research end‑user organisation. The supervision arrangements must be endorsed by the HDR student's HEP and the research end‑user supervisor must be actively engaged in the student's HDR.

‘Actively engaged’ should be interpreted as those formally approved by the HEP as part of the supervisory team or panel.

  • Research end-user is any individual from industry partners, including private, government, not-for-profit or community groups. This excludes staff in affiliated research institutes, adjuncts.
  • Mentors and external supervisors for whom there is no direct benefit are considered out of scope.

Example 1:

A student has one of the supervisors in the supervisory panel members who is based at the End-user organisation and is actively involved in the student’s research project.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as jointly supervised by a research end-user.

Example 2:

An advisor from a research end-user organisation student has provided guidance and considerable input into the student’s research but the advisor is not listed on the student’s supervisory panel.

Reporting: This engagement will not be reported as jointly supervised by a research end-user.

Example 3:

A member from the student’s supervisory panel works for a research end-user organisation that benefits from the student’s research project.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as jointly supervised by a research end-user.

Jointly funded or fully funded by a research end–user is where a research end‑user contributes financially to the cost of an HDR student's course of study or to other costs borne by the student during their study (such as a stipend for general living costs). The arrangement must be awarded specifically in relation to an HDR student rather than a general HEP research project that a student may be involved with.

'Direct to the student' includes stipends, living costs, travel allowances, equipment, PD, materials, equipment (directly for their use). 

  • Funders that engage in the research outcomes of the project are in scope. For example, a philanthropist that funds the student to improve water quality, with the intention of investing in the solution.
  • Funders that do not directly engage in the outcomes (e.g. NHMRC, ARC) are not in scope.

Example 1:

A domestic student receives a stipend scholarship from an industry (research end-user) for the entire period of her course. The stipend was awarded to the student by the University following an internal merit-based selection by members of the University. The industry was not involved in selecting the student.

Reporting- This does not meet the reporting requirement and so will be reported as NONE

Example 2:

An international student receives a stipend scholarship from a research end-user for the entire period of the course. The stipend was awarded to the student by the University following a merit-based selection by members of the University and by members of research end user organisation.

Reporting – This engagement is reported as funded by a research end-user.

Example 3:

A student is employed full-time (salary) by a research end-user and his research project is related to his employment. He completes his research for his project outside of work hours, at approximately 1 day per week.

Reporting – This engagement is reported as internship (more than 30 days total over the reporting period) and not funded by research end-user.

Example 4:

A student is employed full-time (salary) by a research end-user and his research project is related to his employment. He spends approximately two days per week of his employment researching for his project.

Reporting – This engagement reported as internship (more than 30 days total over the reporting period) and funded by research end-user.

Example 5:  

A student has completed research project work in collaboration with the University of Sydney, for 2 weeks. It was unpaid.

Reporting – This engagement is not reported because Higher Education Providers (HEPs) are excluded as research end-users.

Formal training on end‑user engagement is defined as any formal training recognised by the HEP that focusses on preparing a student for work with a research end‑user. This includes intellectual property, management/leadership, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and research commercialisation. Training can be administered by a research end‑user organisation or by the HEP.

  • It's not formal training on end-user engagement, it’s any training which prepares candidates to work with end-users.
  • Any transferable skills training to be included in this indicator, excluding core research skills. This excludes research methods, academic writing, statistics, research integrity.
  • Universities who use the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) would exclude activities mapped to domain A, for example.
  • Training can be administered by anyone.

Example 1:

A student attends a free, half a day session for in-house training workshop provided by the University of Canberra.

Reporting: This engagement is reported as non-funded formal training.

Example 2:

A student attends a one-day training workshop paid for and provided by research end-user.

Reporting: This engagement is reported as funded formal training.

Other commercialisation and engagement activities is defined as an arrangement with a research end‑user that enables experiential learning related to the student's HDR. This includes practicums or performances, R&D consultancy work, R&D commercialisation work, entrepreneurship, community engagement/outreach, and research extension work either with or for a research end‑user.

These activities can be paid or unpaid, and no minimum amount of learning days applies. The activities exclude research internships unless they are shorter than 30 days and exclude joint funding arrangements.

Example 1:

A student conducts interviews with a research end-user organisation for a research project or conducts some fieldwork which will benefit the research end-user from the output or the results of the research.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as other commercialisation and engagement activities.

Example 2:

A student has a meeting with a research organisation or an industry in relation to the research project, but this does not benefit the research organisation.

Reporting: This engagement will not be reported as other commercialisation and engagement activities.

Example 3:

A student has a paid employment with a research end-user that allows research related to the student’s project to be undertaken outside of paid work hours.

Reporting: This engagement will be reported as other commercialisation and engagement activities.