Review of the Research Training Program (RTP): Is it fit for purpose?

Download: Review of the Research Training Program (RTP): Is it fit for purpose?

Inflation and increasing cost of living are the product of the COVID pandemic, disrupted global supply chains affecting everyday Australians, and HDR students are no exception. Based on statistics shared by Universities Australia, approximately 60% of PhD students do not start their research degrees with a stipend scholarship leaving the remaining 40% with a minimum stipend living allowance of $554.88 a week for the year 2022.

In this report, we outline the current financial conditions of HDR students and the long-term economic benefits of PhD graduates to Australia’s future. We argue that the lack of state and federal government support over the years has deprived students of the basic needs required to perform at a highly intellectual level required during their research training. This will have long-term consequences for Australia’s innovative capacity and economic prosperity. 


  1. That the minimum stipend rate of the Research Training Program be updated with a minimum increase of 15-20% for 2023 to ensure it remains above the poverty line.
  2. Subject to means testing, full-time non-RTP stipend recipients should be eligible for Austudy and ABSTUDY and/or should at least be eligible for a healthcare card.