Canberra – The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is dismayed to learn that the government has chosen to continue with the its $173.7M cut to the Research Training Scheme (RTS) in the 2015-16 Federal Budget.
“Cutting the Research Training Scheme by $173.7M and expecting them to foot the bill through a fee on research degrees is a gross undervaluing of this critical human resource. Postgraduate students are more valuable to a university and Australia’s research capacity than the tuition fees they may bring in,” said National President Harry Rolf.
Postgraduate students make up over 50 per cent of the human resources devoted to Research and Development at Australian universities and in some cases they contribute nearly 70 per cent. Universities’ research success depends on the contributions these ‘researchers-in-training’ make.
“A postgraduate student actively contributes to research at a university, they write publications, teach, take on lab duties and participate in many administrative and social activities which benefit the institution. They form a cornerstone of the university research workforce. A cornerstone the government is chipping away at.”
“The governments pursuit of these unfair reforms is damaging the confidence of current and future postgraduate students. Many will be asking themselves the question ‘will the benefits outweigh the costs of doing a research degree at an Australian university and will there be any opportunities for me to pursue a career in research upon graduation’” concluded Harry Rolf.
The government has also belligerently committed to fully deregulating higher education by January 2016, despite its reforms package having been rejected by the Senate on two separate occasions since being introduced into the Parliament in 2014.