The Defence Science Institute’s Research Higher Degree (RHD) Student Grant Scheme provides funding to support postgraduate research students undertaking research projects consistent with the Institute’s technology themes.

It helps to

  • Support capability development and capacity building in research areas where Defence has an interest;
  • Facilitate defence-relevant research engagement between universities, industry, DSTO, Defence and/or research organisations

by providing stipend support for students undertaking their research higher degree on defence-related projects and/or Defence-industry placements as part of their study.

RHD Student Grants can be used to support any student working on a project that meets the defined criteria.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.


$15,000 is available to be used as stipend support for RHD students working on collaborative, defence-relevant projects that align with DSI’s technology themes.

The grant is awarded to the Primary Supervisor of the student for payment by their university as a living stipend.

The grant may be awarded for projects where the student will study part-time while also working within a defence relevant business.

The grant can be awarded for projects where the student is already enrolled or has not yet been identified, subject to the award conditions below.

The receiving institution is responsible for ensuring any enrolment requirements, legal agreements and IP arrangements that may be required for the collaboration are in place.

DSI takes no interest (unless otherwise specified) in IP.


  • Are you an academic at a DSI Participating university?*
  • Are you wanting to supervise an RHD student project that matches our key themes?
  • Could your student project include formal or informal co-supervisor/s from industry, Defence or a university other than your own?
  • Does you student qualify for a full postgraduate scholarship?

If the answers to these questions are YES, then you are eligible to apply for a DSI bursary.

The DSI can work with you to strengthen your application by helping to find potential collaborative partners, helping you to understand Defence research priorities and providing guidance on the development of the proposal.

Your application will be assessed against the criteria below on a competitive basis and if it is judged suitable you can receive $15,000 of funding to support your proposed student’s project.

*If your University has committed to participation in the DSI but not yet signed the Participation Agreement you can still apply for a grant, however you will not be notified of the results of your application until it has been signed. Please ask your DSI contact for more information.


Applications for funding will be assessed by the DSI Executive and members of the DSI Research Leaders Forum against the following selection criteria:

  • Defence relevance
  • Alignment to DSI technology themes
  • Supervisors’ home organisations – Preference will be given to for co-supervisors in industry or DSTO
  • Opportunities for the student to undertake a placement with the co-supervisor or elsewhere with industry


  • The student must be an Australian Citizen
  • If already enrolled, the student must be within 3 months of commencement at the time of application
  • If not enrolled, the student must be enrolled within 6 months of the Student Grant agreement being signed. If a student is not enrolled within this time, the grant will be relinquished.
  • The grant will be paid in instalments based on student enrolment and successful confirmation.
  • The Primary Supervisor must adhere to the reporting requirements of the Student Grant agreement.
  • The student must conform to the university’s usual conditions regarding eligibility, satisfactory progress, research integrity and related matters.
  • The student must attend at least one DSI Annual Conference during their candidature.
  • The grant cannot be used to support DSTO employees as students on the project.


  • Applications for RHD Student Grants will be accepted at any time and reviewed at one of up to four funding rounds per year – February, May, August and November.
  • Application is via the DSI RHD Student Grant Application Form