Change to RTP to encourage internships

May 2021

The 2021-22 Federal Budget announced measures impacting on the higher education sector, including changes that will be made to the Research Training Program (RTP) element of Research Block Grants.  The RTP is being refocused to reward universities for research PhD students that graduate having undertaken a three-month industry internship, commencing within the first 18 months of enrolment.

Essentially completion weightings will increase from 4.7 to 6.7 for high cost PhDs with a 3 month internship commenced within the first 18 months of candidature and from 2 to 4 for low cost PhDs with an internship.

ACGR is keen  to ensure that these changes are designed and rolled out in the most effective manner, generating good experiences and outcomes for both candidates and industry partners.

Conscious of the potential unintended outcomes of this change, ACGR has already responded to DESE and will certainly take up an invitation from DESE to help them frame the definition of internships appropriately (inclusive ‘industry’; continuous & discontinuous 3 month internships, possible extension of time frame for commencing the internship etc) and determine the best possible mechanisms for data collection and reporting.

We will also seek  government (federal & state) support to help universities  meet this agenda, particularly drawing on insights of sustained government funding in countries where this has worked and, working in partnership with our industry connections, advocate for support and incentives for business/industry to engage in these internships.