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Higher Degree by Research - Collaborative Course Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Some Higher Degree by Research (HDR) courses, including joint or dual-award courses, enable candidates to develop an affiliation with more than one institution. These collaborative HDR programs are designed to facilitate productive research collaborations between the University and other research institutions. These programs also enable candidates to benefit from the resources, standing, and capabilities of each institution and enhance the skills, progress, and prospects of these candidates.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This document outlines University objectives regarding collaborative research with other institutions and the procedures the University applies while designing and implementing a collaborative HDR course.

(3) This policy does not detail the contents of specific agreements, but sets out the principles that underlie these agreements and stipulates the minimum requirements for any such agreements.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This policy applies to HDR course and program agreements the University undertakes or is preparing to undertake with other organisations, including other universities and research institutions.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Collaborative HDR courses facilitate collaborations with other research institutions. These collaborations:

  1. facilitate the exchange of knowledge, innovations, and perspectives—and thus enhance the skills, insights, and practices of HDR candidates and other researchers;
  2. diminish the duplication of resources and operations across institutions, improving the efficiency of research at the University; and
  3. enable HDR candidates and other researchers to develop more extensive networks of collaborators, exposing these individuals to more opportunities in the future.


(6) The University can establish collaborative HDR courses with both Australian and international research institutions. However, the University will establish these programs only when:

  1. the partner institution has developed a strong collaborative association with the University over several years;
  2. the partner institution awards postgraduate degrees;
  3. the academic standing of this partner institution is comparable to the academic standing of the University; and
  4. the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation approves the collaborative HDR course.

Establishment of a Dual-Award HDR Course

(7) A Dual-Award PhD refers to an arrangement in which:

  1. a PhD candidate receives supervision from one Principal Supervisor at the University and one Principal Supervisor at the partner institution;
  2. the PhD candidate must fulfill the minimum requirements to be awarded a PhD of both the University and partner institution; and
  3. the PhD candidate receives two PhD awards, one from each institution.

(8) Similarly, a Dual-Award Masters by Research applies the same principles, except the candidate fulfills the minimum requirements to be awarded Masters by Research courses.

(9) A Cotutelle arrangement is equivalent to a Dual-Award arrangement, except some universities apply this term only to collaborations with a French university.

(10) Before the candidate enrols, the University and partner institution develop an agreement to support the progress and development of a specific HDR candidate. Although the agreement revolves around the needs of a specific HDR candidate, the arrangement is intended to facilitate the collaborative association between the University and partner institution more broadly.

Establishment of a Joint HDR Course

(11) A Joint HDR course refers to an arrangement in which:

  1. the University and a partner institution collaborate to design a HDR program that integrates the resources and capabilities of each organisation;
  2. the University and a partner institution construct an agreement that delineates the minimum requirements that HDR candidates must fulfill to be awarded the degree; and
  3. HDR candidates that fulfill these requirements are awarded one degree that includes the badge of both institutions.

(12) Collaborative HDR courses should accord with all University policies and procedures, unless the Academic Board approve exceptions. Agreements to develop collaborative HDR courses must establish:

  1. procedures concerning admission, enrolment, scholarships, conditions, supervision, submission, examination, conferral, and termination that are specific to this program;
  2. the minimum amount of time that candidates must be located at each institution;
  3. any milestones and training that candidates must complete;
  4. processes for managing problems with candidate progress and supervision;
  5. how the institutions will collaborate to evaluate and to enhance the program over time;
  6. how agreements around intellectual property, data management, research ethics, and other matters will be managed; and
  7. how expenses and funding will be distributed across the institutions.
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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(13) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(14) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(15) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.