The ARC and NHMRC have confirmed that any variations to funded “research projects and researchers that have been directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic” can be considered via their usual post-award procedures. Impacts may involve “changes in circumstances, including scope changes, personnel changes, suspensions and extensions to end dates”. The ARC and NHMRC will consider variation and extension requests on a case-by-case basis.

Researchers should consider strategies to progress your research projects during these periods of unavoidable delay, including ways to continue project development, literature reviews, meta-analyses, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation and grant application development (most grant schemes are still reviewing application as usual).

These strategies may include, moving to phone, online or virtual meetings, testing and collaboration using audio/visual tools. If strategies require changes in research protocols, project plans, budgets or ethics approvals, we can help you manage this via the usual post-award processes and by an ethics modification.

Review the latest information and communications from your funding body to check if this research can be delayed/extended. If the research can be extended and conducted at a later date and you would like to do so, notify your research team and submit the details and budget variation to the post-award team. Notify the contracts team of your proposed changes and ensure they are able to be made from a contractual perspective. If the research cannot be extended and the project must be closed down, please contact post-award.

Yes. Research that is able to be conducted remotely and that does not place researchers or research participants at increased risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection may continue as approved.

The contract milestones and timeframes in research contracts and agreements for your project will very likely be affected.  Legal issues may arise from extended time frames or changes to protocols.  The contract parties will be able to consider these changes and usually agree to an appropriate outcome.  However, you must contact the Office of Research Services (the Director, A/Prof Michael Baker and the Research Contracts Team) before you contact or make arrangements with any other party or funder for your project. 

Given the short timeframe available to complete an honours project, the indefinite period of suspension, and the uncertainty of how government action may extend, these projects should be modified to continue without the need for face-to-face data collection.

Candidates should contact their Principal Supervisor and, where appropriate, the Faculty Associate Dean Research to discuss strategies and decide an appropriate course of action for their research project.

In general, candidates whose research does not involve face-to-face interactions, or whose research can be undertaken remotely, should proceed as normal in consultation with their Principal Supervisor.

Candidates whose research project involves face-to-face interactions/contact must cease those activities and, in consultation with their Principal Supervisor, consider strategies to progress their research during these periods of unavoidable delay. Strategies may include literature reviews, meta-analyses, data collection, data analysis (as appropriate).

If appropriate and in discussion with their Principal Supervisor, a candidate may apply to vary their candidature the HDR Regulations.

In line with advice from Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) on 1/5/2020 if a candidate has experienced circumstances that have “materially adversely impacted their research activities” as a result of CoVid-19, then the University can approve extraordinary variations to their candidature. These extraordinary variations are outside of the standard provisions of the Higher Degree Research Regulations and, if appropriate, the Research Training Program Scholarship Policy and consideration of the use of extraordinary variations will be made on a case by case basis.

Candidates who are not experiencing adverse material impacts on their research activities can apply for variation under the existing provisions in the HDR Regulations.

Requests to vary candidature should be submitted as normal via Orion. Following a review of the request, the candidate will be notified of the outcome and will be advised if the variation is classified under standard provisions or extraordinary provisions.

All requests to suspend or vary a HDR stipend scholarship require consideration on a case-by-case basis as a decision depends upon the source of the funding, conditions of award, and how far the student has progressed in their candidature.

In line with advice from DESE on 1/5/2020, if a candidate has experienced circumstances that have “materially adversely impacted their research activities” as a result of CoVid-19, then the University may consider extraordinary variations to a stipend scholarship.

Extraordinary variations are outside of the existing provisions of the HDR Regulations and the RTP Scholarship Policy, and consideration of the use of extraordinary variations will be made on a case by case basis and will depend upon the source of the scholarship funding.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please note that our team in the Office of Research Services will be managing a very high volume of changes to research projects; your patience is appreciated.

In line with advice from DESE on 1/5/2020 if a candidate has experienced circumstances that have “materially adversely impacted their research activities” as a result of CoVid-19, then the University can approve extraordinary variations to their candidature and scholarship.

Extraordinary variations are outside of the standard provisions of the HDR Regulations and the RTP Scholarship Policy, and consideration of the use of extraordinary variations will be made on a case by case basis and will depend upon the source of the scholarship funding.

Due to visa requirements, International HDR Candidates may not currently apply to suspend their candidature.

Any other requests to vary candidature should be submitted as normal via Orion. Following a review of the request, the candidate will be notified of the outcome and will be advised if the variation is classified under standard provisions or extraordinary provisions.
For information relating to Confirmations of Enrolment and Student Visas refer to the ‘CoVid FAQs for International Students’.

Many ethics applications are reviewed and approved by other organisations and registered with ACU. In these cases, we recommend that researchers defer to the COVID-19 protocols being instituted by the lead or sponsoring organisation, which in most cases will align with ACU’s protocols.

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