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Terms of Reference (Vice-Chancellor approved) - Graduate Research Committee

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Section 1 - Overview

(1) The Graduate Research Committee is established as a working committee of the Research Committee of the University.

(2) These Terms of Reference of the Graduate Research Committee prescribe:

  1. the members and observers of the Graduate Research Committee, and members’ method and term of appointment;
  2. the functions and terms of reference of the Graduate Research Committee; and
  3. other matters in connection with the Graduate Research Committee and its operation.

(3) The provisions of these Terms of Reference take effect under the authority of Council.

(4) The delegation of Council powers under these Terms of Reference are actions authorised under Section 17 of the University of New England Act 1993.


(5) The Graduate Research Committee functions as a management advisory body, advising the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and supporting the Academic Board by reporting to the Research Committee in relation to the following:

  1. the design, development, approval, statutory compliance, standards (threshold, admissions, discipline, assessment and qualifications), monitoring, review, revision and accreditation of the University’s higher degree by research programs of study (awards) and pathways;
  2. academic rules, policies procedures and guidelines to assure the quality of design, approval, admissions, compliance, monitoring and review of the University’s higher degree by research awards, higher degree research supervision, research training, and research student experience.
  3. proposals for new, amended and disestablished HDR awards;
  4. admissions and candidature progress, and the award of higher degrees by research;
  5. matters relating to HDR supervisors and HDR supervision;
  6. the allocation of Research Training Program Scholarships and other major research postgraduate scholarships; and
  7. policies and procedures relating to research training and the research student experience.
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Section 2 - Graduate Research Committee Membership

(6) The members of the Graduate Research Committee are:

  1. Chair
    1. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, or nominee.
  2. Membership
    1. Associate Dean (Research) from each Faculty, or delegate;
    2. Higher Degree Research Coordinators from each School
    3. One professional staff member whose duties are predominantly engaged in HDR administration, appointed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research;
    4. Deputy Director Graduate Studies;
    5. A member of academic staff well-versed in higher degree research or a Higher Degree by Research student who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
  3. Observer (non-voting)
    1. Senior HDR Support Officer.
    2. At the discretion of the Chair, observers may be invited to attend regular or individual meetings and to contribute to the discussion but not to vote.

In Attendance

(7) The Graduate Research Committee can co-opt where needed any members required to achieve or maintain gender balance, where the membership does not include at least two women and two men. The Committee can also invite individuals as observers to provide additional appropriate expertise as necessary.

Acting ex officio members

(8) An ex officio member of the Graduate Research Committee includes a person who has been appointed on an ‘acting’ basis to the role.

Term of Office

Ex officio members

(9) The ex officio members will be Graduate Research Committee members while they hold their primary office.

Co-opted members

(10) Members co-opted under clause 7 of these Terms of Reference shall have tenure for one year renewable to a maximum of three years.


(11) The Graduate Research Committee will be Chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research or their nominee.

Gender Representation Objectives

(12) Gender representation shall accord with the Gender Representation on Decision-Making and Advisory Committees Policy. The objective will be to ensure, so far as is practicable, that the membership of the Graduate Research Committee includes at least two members of each gender.

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Section 3 - Graduate Research Committee Functions


(13) The functions of the Graduate Research Committee are:

Approval functions

(14) Review and endorsement of new, amended and disestablished higher degree by research courses and course rules, subject to co-approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer.

(15) Approval of academic procedures and guidelines relating to higher research degrees and the admission, candidature and supervision of HDR students, subject to final approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.

(16) Allocation of Research Training Program Scholarships and other major research postgraduate scholarships.

(17) Matters relating to higher degree research candidature management, subject to final approval by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research.

Monitoring Functions

(18) Higher degree by research programs and pathways.

(19) Matters relating to higher degree by research supervisors and supervision.

Advisory Functions

(20) Admissions and candidature progress, and the award of higher degrees by research.

(21) Rules, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to research training (eg. higher degree by research courses, standards, admission, candidature, training, assessment, issuing of medals and prizes), the research student experience, and higher degree research supervision.

(22) Rules, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to research integrity and research risk management and mitigation.

(23) National codes and protocols for the conduct of research at Australian universities and institutions.

Communication functions

(24) Effective two-way communication and exchange of ideas between the Faculties, Research Services, senior management and academic governance in relation to all higher degree by research matters.


(25) To seek data and information from the University through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research to meet the Graduate Research Committee’s duties and functions.

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Section 4 - Delegations

Delegation from the Council

(26) The Graduate Research Committee has delegated authority from the UNE Council to perform on its behalf the approval, advisory, monitoring and communication functions set out in the Terms of Reference above, and all matters ancillary to those functions.

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Section 5 - Conduct of Graduate Research Committee Business

Reporting to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and to the Research Committee

(27) The Chair of the Graduate Research Committee reports to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and to the Chair of the Research Committee.


(28) The Graduate Research Committee meets eight times per year or as required in order to perform its functions.

Business Papers

(29) Unless the Chair directs otherwise, Graduate Research Committee business papers are distributed to committee members and official attendees at least seven days prior to the meeting, or such shorter period as is practicable in the circumstances.

(30) Because of the confidential nature of the business of the Graduate Research Committee, there should be no public disclosure of business papers, minutes, or other information associated with the work of the Committee.


(31) At any meeting of the Graduate Research Committee, one half of the voting membership plus one constitutes a quorum.

Use of technology

(32) For its business papers, meetings and otherwise to conduct its business, the Graduate Research Committee and its members may use technology including telephone, video-conferencing, telepresence, email and internet as arranged by the Chair and/or Committee Secretary.


(33) The Graduate Research Committee may pass a resolution by ‘flying minute’ provided that the resolution has been approved by a simple majority of the Committee members at the time the resolution is made.

Confirmation of Minutes

(34) Draft minutes will normally be circulated to members for comment promptly after each meeting. Next, the minutes (with any necessary changes) will be circulated for adoption by the Graduate Research Committee. The minutes will be finalised and adopted when they have been approved by a majority of the members that were present at the relevant meeting. Alternatively, the minutes may be included in the business papers for the next Committee meeting and considered and adopted by the Committee at that meeting.


(35) Once annually the Graduate Research Committee shall devote part of one meeting to the review of its policies, practices and procedures over the preceding twelve months.

Secretary to the Graduate Research Committee

(36) Research Services will provide secretarial and administrative support to the Graduate Research Committee.

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Section 6 - Interpretation

(37) This document should be interpreted using the following principles:

  1. Where Graduate Research Committee membership is defined by reference to an office held (eg. ‘Chair of Academic Board’), that office-bearer is a member ex officio and has all of the same rights and responsibilities (including voting) as other Committee members whilst holding the office specified.
  2. This document does not override or otherwise affect:
    1. the Authority Retained by Council Rule, or
    2. the Functions of the Vice-Chancellor Rule,
    3. however, it operates as a delegation of certain authorities that have been retained by Council.

(38) Graduate Research Committee Governing Documents

(39) The existing terms of reference, constitution, and any other documents governing the Graduate Research Subcommittee or Higher Degree Research Committee at the time of these new Terms of Reference are approved, are replaced and have no further operation.