The Defence Science Centre (DSC) Research Higher Degree Student Grant (RHDSG) provides funding to students working on collaborative Defence relevant projects and/or undertaking defence industry placements as part of their study. It is awarded to the primary supervisor of the student for payment by the enrolling institution as a living stipend for the student.

Nature of RHDSG

The RHDSG is a mechanism to encourage students to consider the potential Defence or defence industry applications of their research, and gives students the opportunity to explore career pathways in Defence and the defence industry. The RHDSG develops research linkages among universities, Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) and defence sector businesses, supports capacity-building in research areas where Defence has an interest, and promotes new defence related research collaborations among universities.

Applications for the RHDSG are made by the student’s project supervisor. Grants can be awarded for proposed RHDSG projects where a student has not yet been identified, as well as those where a student is enrolled, subject to the conditions below.

Funding amount is determined by enrolment.

  • Where the project is to be undertaken by a student in a PhD program the funding amount is $15,000 payable in two instalments.
    1. $10,000 on enrolment or execution of the Funding Agreement, whichever is the latter, and;
    2. $5,000 on receipt of the six month progress report.
  • Where the project is to be undertaken by a student in a Masters by Research program, Masters by Coursework program, the fourth year of an Engineering degree, or Honours program, the funding amount is $7,500 payable in two instalments.
    1. $5,000 on enrolment or execution of the Funding Agreement, whichever is the latter, and;
    2. $2,500 on receipt of the six month progress report.

Up to fifteen (15) grants will be available for appropriate projects in round two of the RHDSG. It is expected that five (5) grants will be awarded to students enrolled in PhD programs, and ten (10) grants will be awarded to students enrolled in Masters by Research, Masters by Coursework, fourth year of an Engineering degree or Honours programs. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis.


  • The RHDSG is open to academic staff of DSC Member Universities.
  • The research project must be aligned to the themes of the current round of the RHDSG. These are:
  1. Maritime maintenance and sustainment, or;
  2. Reducing the cost of on the job training, or;
  3. Any one of the Next Generation Technology Fund priorities.
  • Projects can be undertaken within any discipline provided alignment to a theme can be demonstrated.
  • Where the grant will support a student who has already commenced on the project, it is preferred that they be within 3 months of commencement at the time of application.
  • The primary supervisor must be employed by, and the student must be enrolled in, a DSC member university. It is desirable for the student to have at least one co-supervisor at either an industry partner, the DST or another university.
  • The student must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Employees of DST Group are NOT eligible for support as students on these projects.


Selection Criteria

Applications for funding will be assessed against the following selection criteria:

Criterion 1: Alignment to the themes of the RHDSG, and the contribution the research is expected to make to the relevant fields, including potential applications to Defence and/or the defence industry.

Criterion 2: Nature/Strength of collaboration, including opportunities for the student to undertake an industry/DST Group internship as part of their study.

Criterion 3: Collaborative Supervision – Primary supervisor to be from a DSC member university, preference will be given for co-supervisors from industry or DST Group. Where supervisors are at different universities, preference will be given to new collaborations.

Criterion 4: The applicant’s personal statement—why the applicant is interested in the RHDSG for the student and their University.


Conditions of Award 

  • Unless already enrolled, the student must commence within 6 months of the execution of the Grant Agreement. In the event that a suitable student has not been identified and enrolled within this period, the grant will be rescinded.
  • Payment of the first instalment of the grant is conditional upon enrolment of the student, or signing of the Grant Agreement by both parties, whichever is the latter.
  • Payment of the second instalment of the grant is conditional upon receipt of the six month progress report.
  • The DSC must be provided with a project abstract, completed by the student, within one month of the execution of the Grant Agreement or the enrolment of the student, whichever is the latter. In the event that an abstract of suitable quality (as determined by the DSC) is not provided, the grant may be rescinded and any funds received by the applicant will need to be repaid.
  • The student must conform to the usual requirements of the enrolling university in regards to eligibility, satisfactory progress, research integrity, ethics and other related matters.
  • The supervisor must provide reports regarding the student’s progress on the project, including a six-month project report and a final project report, submitted one year after the commencement of the project. The student must also complete a longitudinal survey to measure outcomes of the RHDSG. The survey template provided by the DSC, and is to be submitted to the DSC approximately one year after the final project report is submitted.
  • Copies of any research publications arising from the project within the funding year must be provided to the DSC.
  • DSC support must be acknowledged within any such publication.
  • As part of print and online promotion of the RHDSG, grant applicants must consent to (and have authority to consent to) the DSC publishing high-level details of the research supported by the RHDSG, including project title and project description. As part of the RHDSG reporting requirements, a description of research findings, suitable for an educated lay audience, must be provided at project completion. This description may be used for promotional purposes.

For further details about the RHDSG conditions, please see the Research Higher Degree Student Grant Agreement.

Getting help 

If you require assistance or guidance to complete this application, or support to connect with potential collaboration partners please email the team at We will respond to your email within two working days, or for urgent assistance please call (08) 6277 3000.


Submitting your application

All applications to the DSC are to be made via the Research Higher Degree Student Grant form. Applications must be submitted to No other way of submission will be accepted.


Closing date and timeframes

Applications close 1pm, 30 September 2020. No late applications will be accepted.  

Recommendations for RHDSC approvals will be considered by the DSC Advisory Board in November.

The DSC will establish Funding Agreements with the successful applicants for signature by December.



telephone: (08) 6277 3000

Required forms