Media releases

MEDIA RELEASE: Postgraduate students the unpaid backbone of Australia’s R&D

23 May 18

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) renews their call for research students to be paid for their work, as latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures confirm that postgraduate students comprise the majority of human resources dedicated to research.

According to yesterday’s ABS release on resources devoted to research and development, the contribution of postgraduate students remains steady at 57% of total time spent on research.

Despite postgraduate students putting in the majority of research-hours, in many cases, they are not paid for their work. Domestic research students are not entitled to any Centrelink study payments regardless of level of poverty, and can only obtain income support through securing a competitive scholarship.

CAPA once again calls on the Government to begin to address this situation by committing to income support payments for all domestic postgraduate students.

“Postgraduate students are integral to Australia’s research output. It is unacceptable that research and development relies so heavily on exploiting students through unpaid labour,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.

CAPA furthermore notes that international research students are working under even more difficult circumstances. Those who do not have a scholarship are not only contributing to the national research output without pay, they are also forking out for extortionate course fees. A longer-term solution would involve all doctoral students receiving living allowance stipends to support their research activities.

For further comment:
CAPA National President
Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993