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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 University Committee to support the maintenance of effective frameworks and functions of Graduation Research at UNE.  

(2) The key objectives of the Committee are:

  1. to provide advice to the Director/Dean of the Graduate School and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (consistent with delegations) on operational/management matters relating to graduate research at UNE; and 
  2. to report to the Research Committee of Academic Board on academic governance matters relevant to the Committee’s functions.

(3) These Terms of Reference 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. the operation and authority of the Graduate Research Committee.
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Section 2 - Membership

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

  1. Ex-officio Members
    1. Director/Dean, Graduate Research, or their delegate (Chair);
    2. Associate Dean, Research from each Faculty, or their delegate;
    3. Director, Research Services; and
    4. Chair Graduate Research Examination Board.
  2. Members appointed by the Chair:
    1. One Director of a Research Centre involved in HDR Candidate supervision;
    2. One member of academic staff who identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, appointed by the Chair after an expression of interest process;
    3. One Current HDR Student appointed by the Chair after an expression of interest process; and
    4. The Graduate Research Committee may appoint or co-opt up to 2 individuals (academic staff well-versed in higher degree research) as additional appointed members so as to achieve or maintain gender diversity.

(5) In attendance: Observers (non-voting)

  1. One professional staff member whose duties are predominantly engaged in HDR administration, appointed by the Chair to act as Secretary to the Committee;
  2. Senior HDR Support Officer; and
  3. At the discretion of the Chair, the Committee can also invite non-voting individuals as observers to attend meetings, provide appropriate expertise as necessary and contribute to discussion upon invitation by the Chair. 

Term of Office

Ex-officio members

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

Appointed and Co-opted members

(7) Members appointed to the Committee shall have tenure for a two‐year term unless a shorter term is agreed by the Chair and potential member. The Member may stand for reappointment for up to three terms.

(8) Members co-opted to the Committee shall have tenure for one-year renewable to a maximum of three years.


(9) The Director/Dean, Graduate Research or their delegate is an ex‐officio member and Chair of the Committee. A temporary Deputy Chair may be appointed from the voting members for a specific meeting if the Chair or delegate is unavailable.

Gender Representation Objectives

(10) 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

Advisory functions

(11) The Graduate Research Committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Chair and to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, consistent with delegations, with regards to:

  1. alignment of Graduate Research functions or activities and UNE strategy and research outcomes;
  2. business cases for new, amended or disestablished Higher Degree Research awards;
  3. development and/or review of Higher degree by Research programs and pathways;
  4. allocation of Research Training Program Scholarships and other major research postgraduate scholarships;
  5. changes or updates to policies or associated information relating to graduate research and HDR Students (approval of these policy instruments will be subject to endorsement or approval by academic governance or management consistent with delegations); and
  6. other matters relating to higher degree research candidature or facility management or operations.

(12)  The Graduate Research Committee will provide recommendations to the Research Committee in regards to:

  1. proposals for new, amended or disestablishment of higher degree by research courses and course rules;
  2. proposed new or reviewed policies relating to:
    1. research training (e.g. higher degree by research courses, standards, admission, candidature including progress, training, assessment, issuing of medals and prizes),
    2. the research student experience;
    3. higher degree research supervision; and
    4. research integrity, research risk management and mitigations as it relates to Graduate Research at UNE and with third parties/centres and institutes.

Monitoring functions

(13) The Graduate Research Committee will monitor and will report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and/or Research Committee of Academic Board consistent with delegated functions, with regard to

  1. the conformance of Graduate Research activities at UNE with:
    1. UNE policies and practice relating to Graduate Research at UNE;
    2. Agreed framework for allocation of postgraduate scholarships and prizes; and
    3. National codes and protocols for the conduct of graduate research at Australian universities and institutions;
  2. Information and metrics relevant to the performance and quality of Graduate Research at UNE including:
    1. measures of candidate progress and performance evidenced in student/graduate quality assurance surveys and/or candidate progress reporting;
    2. measures of student and/or student cohort outcomes compared to institutional and or sector benchmarks;
    3. measures of supervisor activities including number of active supervisions, engagement in training/scholarship, and maintaining research active status;
    4. types of complaints and issues including relating to HDR Students and HDR supervisors; and
    5. other information and metrics confirmed by the Chair as relevant to the Committee’s functions.

Communication functions

(14) The Committee will aim to Support an effective two-way communication and exchange of ideas between the Faculties, UNE Graduate School, Senior Management and Academic Governance regarding all matters relating to higher degree by research.


(15) The Chair may seek data and information from the University through Research Services to meet the Graduate Research Committee’s duties and functions.

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Section 4 - Delegation

(16) The provisions of these Terms of Reference take effect under the authority of Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer consistent with the Section 28(1)(a) of the University of New England Act 1993 (NSW). The Graduate Research Committee has delegated authority from the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer to perform on its behalf the 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

(17) The Chair of the Graduate Research Committee will report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (DVCR) on operational matters considered by the Committee, and report to the Research Committee on matters of policy, procedure and governance.


(18) The Graduate Research Committee will meet six times per year or as required to perform its functions.

Business Papers

(19) 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.

(20) Business of the Graduate Research Committee may be confidential and any disclosure of business papers, minutes, or other information associated with the work of the Committee will only be done so with the permission of the Chair or DVCR.


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

Use of technology

(22) 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.


(23) 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

(24) 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.


(25) 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

(26) UNE Graduate School will provide secretarial and administrative support to the Graduate Research Committee.

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Section 6 - Interpretation

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

  1. Where Graduate Research Committee membership is defined by reference to an office held (eg. ‘Director, Research Services’), 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 UNE Delegations Framework Rule, or
    2. the Vice-Chancellor Functions Rule.

(28) The existing terms of reference, constitution, and any other documents governing the Graduate Research Committee, 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.