Victoria University is open for on-campus and online learning and research, with a ‘safety-first’ approach to on-campus activities.

To support our Higher Degree Researchers (HDR), we have compiled information about the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your research, study, presenting of milestones, scholarships and administrative tasks.

We encourage you to also refer to the information regarding the impact of COVID-19 for current students.

Research, study & professional development

If you come to campus, it’s important that you follow safe practices, including:

  • personal hygiene
  • desk hygiene (particularly around shared keyboards, phones and pens)
  • kitchen hygiene (washing your own dishes immediately)
  • social distancing (e.g. staying 1.5 metres away from another student or staff member)
  • all required check-in procedures.

If you require access to laboratory spaces, you should firstly check in with your supervisor as some spaces may require pre-booking to ensure COVID safe numbers and/or equipment access.

We encourage you to discuss your study and research arrangements with your supervisor.

VU is equipped for online meetings between students and supervisors through Webex (login to the intranet to view these instructions). You may also like to use Skype, FaceTime or Zoom.

Yes, all the coursework units will continue to be delivered.

Units in all programs will be delivered using Zoom classrooms, supported by the extensive online resources on VU Collaborate.

Virtual attendance in the Zoom sessions is essential to maximise your student experience.

If you are not able to make adequate progress because social distancing guidelines are preventing you from undertaking your research, you must discuss this with your supervisor.

Your supervisor is the most appropriate person to advise you on research risk assessment and mitigation strategies. You can also contact [email protected] and make a time to discussion candidature management options.

Yes, the Researcher Professional Development programs are still running and the majority of sessions are being delivered online using Zoom or Webex. Some special events will be held in person on campus later in 2022.

Please see the Researcher Professional Development bulletin emailed each Monday or check researcher development for up-to-date information about what is on offer.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic some projects involving data collection at government schools cannot proceed at this time. Please talk with your supervisor to check if you are affected.

Amendments to such existing projects are also affected and cannot be considered at this time.

As research in schools must be approved by both the the Victoria University Human Research Ethics Committee (VUHREC) and the Department of Education and Training Ethics Committee, such active research in which data is being collected, or participants are being recruited must now cease until such time as we hear from the Department of Education and Training.

The Melbourne Catholic Archdiocese in not accepting research projects in schools in term 1 2022.

Private education providers may be in a similar situation, and permission to conduct research will still need to be obtained from the principal of any associated school.

Ethics applications & reviews

Yes. This is very important.

COVID-19 may mean that your data collection approach, which involves/involved human contact/close physical contact with research participants/other stakeholders, may be no longer feasible in the short- or long-terms. If you have already obtained ethics approval for your research project and you are changing your data collection approach, you are required to advise the relevant Ethics committee and have your new approach approved before collecting data.

If your research questions can still be answered using secondary data to overcome the issues you are confronting, in most circumstances you must still apply for ethics approval.

Please discuss this with your supervisor who is best placed to advise you on these matters. Refer to ethics & biosafety support for more information.

Yes. This is very important.

Please discuss this with the Principal Investigator of the approved ethics application (usually one of your supervisors) and ask them to send an email to the appropriate committee advising them of the delay/amendment, referring to the approved ethics application number. They will be contacted and arrangements will be made to ensure University records are accurate.

Refer to ethics & biosafety support for more information.

Candidature milestones & extension to candidature

If it’s not possible to present your creative project as planned, you may need to think about different modes of delivery. The arts sector has been highly innovative in terms of how it is engaging with audiences using Zoom. If you are at stage where you can and want to proceed with your live performance, we encourage you to consider alternative ways to engage with your audience.

However, if you feel that this is not possible and that you cannot make adequate progress in your research, please speak with your supervisors or contact [email protected] to discuss alternative enrolment options.

Candidates have been participating in their candidature milestone presentations via Zoom- this is now the default for all candidature milestone presentations. Candidates and supervisors will be sent a Zoom meeting invitation. If you and your supervisor agree that the presentation should be held on campus (face to face), your supervisor is responsible for organising the room booking and this information must be documented on the Composition of Panel.

We understand that undertaking a candidature milestone can be an anxious time, particularly during the current climate. Please have an encouraging contact (e.g. a supportive friend or family member) available for after the meeting – someone who you can debrief with and discuss how it went.

Health, travel & administration

All HDR students have access to 10 sick leave days per year. You can use this for personal illness or if you are caring for others.

For VU Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship holders, you also have access to up to three months sick leave for medical conditions. In this case, the time taken on sick leave is added to your submission date and you continue to receive your stipend.

For non-scholarship holders or sponsored students, there is the option to take a leave of absence.

If you would like to discuss a candidature or enrolment matter, please email gradre[email protected]. We have HDR experts in the Graduate Research School to assist you to make an informed decision about your enrolment. We know that you want to complete your degree and want to support you in achieving your goal.

Please include your name, student ID, contact number and a brief outline of your query. A team member will then contact you or if requested, organise a virtual meeting.

Alternatively, the Office has two ‘drop in’ sessions per week that you may like to attend:

Refer to the weekly Researcher Professional Development Bulletin for amendments to the days and times (if applicable).

Your candidature budget may need to change to better reflect your project and its costs. The costs of travel, data collection costs/consumables etc. will likely be different to what you originally planned.

We encourage you to review your budget and consider how you can use your budget to support your research project and your professional development. Conference costs may, for example, be put towards publication costs or attendance in research professional development activities. You will need to get the support of your supervisor and approval by your research institute.

Please email your research institute to submit a variation to your budget: