Scholarship Program Guidelines 2020

New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program Guidelines 2020 Round

Opening date:

17 June 2019

Closing date and time:

11.30pm AEST on 21 August 2019 ('Closing Time')

Commonwealth policy entity:

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Administering Entity

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Department of Education and Training

Enquiries:

If you have any questions, contact ncp.secretariat@dfat.gov.au

Questions should be sent no later than 5.00pm AEST on      7 August 2019 

Date guidelines released:

15 February 2019

Type of grant opportunity:

Targeted or restricted competitive

Contents

1. New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program: 2020 Round processes

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship Program is designed to achieve Australian Government objectives

This scholarship opportunity is part of the above grant program which contributes to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Portfolio Budget Statement Outcome 1: The advancement of Australia’s international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian Government foreign, trade and international development policy priorities. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) works with the Department of Education and Training (Education) and other stakeholders to plan and design the grant program according to the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs).

The scholarship opportunity opens

DFAT publishes the NCP Scholarship Guidelines on GrantConnect and Australian Universities nominate eligible candidates.

You complete and submit an Application

If you are nominated by your Home University, you will be invited to apply for a Scholarship. To apply, you complete the application form and address all of the Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria to be considered for a Scholarship.

We assess all Applications

We assess the Applications against the Eligibility Requirements and notify you if you are not eligible. We assess eligible Applications against the Selection Criteria including an overall consideration of value with money and compare it to other Applications. We invite shortlisted Applicants to attend an interview.

Selection panels make recommendations

Selection panels provide advice to DFAT on the merits of each recommended Applicant.

Grant decisions are made

The decision maker decides which Applications are successful.

We notify you of the outcome

We advise the nominating Australian Universities and you of the outcome of your Application. We may not notify unsuccessful Applicants until Scholarship Agreements have been executed with successful Applicants.

We enter into a Scholarship Agreement

We will enter into a Deed (if required) and a Project Schedule with you if successful.

NCP Scholars undertake their Scholarship Program

You undertake the Scholarship Program in accordance with your Scholarship Agreement. A Support Services Organisation will work with you to assist with arrangements, monitor your progress and make payments.

Evaluation

We evaluate the specific Scholarship activity and the NCP Scholarship Program as a whole. We base this on information you provide to us and that we collect from various sources.

1.1 Introduction

These Guidelines contain information relating to:

  1. the process for selecting Australian undergraduate students for the 2020 round of Scholarships for the NCP Scholarship Program ('the NCP Scholarship Program'); and
  2. the conditions of the award of Scholarship Programs for the NCP Scholarship Program.

You must read these Guidelines before filling out an Application.  

Applicants should consider these Guidelines together with the 'Advice to Applicants' available on New Colombo Plan Website. These Guidelines take priority to the extent of any inconsistency with the Advice to Applicants.  This document sets out:

This document sets out:

  1. the purpose of the NCP and Mobility Project opportunity;
  2. the Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria;
  3. how Applications are considered and selected;
  4. how Scholars will be monitored and evaluated; and
  5. how Mobility Projects will be monitored and evaluated; and
  6. responsibilities and expectations in relation to the opportunity.

Capitalised terms used in these Guidelines are defined in Section 14.

2. About the grant program

The NCP is a signature initiative of the Australian Government, which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in the region.  It is part of DFAT’s PBS Program 1.6: New Colombo Plan - Transforming Regional Relationships. 

The NCP was launched in 2014 as a pilot in a limited number of Host Locations.  Since then it has expanded to 40 Host Locations. 

The NCP involves a prestigious scholarship program for study of up to 19 months and a flexible mobility grant program for both short and longer term study. Both programs prioritise opportunities for Internships and Language Training in addition to study.

The total cost of the NCP is $152.8 million (2018/19 – 2020/21); $51 million per annum ongoing from 2019/20. 

DFAT and Education administer the NCP according to theCommonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs)[1].

2.1 Strategic objectives of the NCP

The NCP aims to:

  1. lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia, by increasing the number of Australian undergraduate students undertaking study, language training and internships in the region;
  2. deepen Australia's people-to-people and institutional relationships with the region, through the engagement of students, universities, businesses and other stakeholder networks in the NCP;
  3. establish study in the Indo-Pacific as a 'rite of passage' for Australian undergraduate students, and as an endeavour that is highly valued by the Australian community; and
  4. increase the number of work-ready Australian graduates with experience in the Indo-Pacific region.

The NCP is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other stakeholder links.

2.2 About the NCP Scholarship Program

The NCP Scholarship Program objectives (the 'Objectives') are to:

  1. provide around 120 prestigious and highly-competitive Scholarships to a diverse range of Australian undergraduate students studying a breadth of disciplines;
  2. support more study experiences in a broad range of Indo-Pacific locations;
  3. encourage Scholars to undertake longer term study, language study and an Internship and/or Mentorship;
  4. engage Scholars, Australian Universities and other stakeholders in public diplomacy and outreach; and
  5. continue to develop an active Scholar alumni community for previous Scholars to share their experiences, promote the NCP and continue to develop knowledge of and professional links with the Indo-Pacific region.

To achieve these Objectives, the NCP application and selection process prioritises programs that demonstrate a strong commitment to high quality education experiences which build greater understanding of the Indo‑Pacific region among a diverse range of students.

2.3 Legislative authority

The arrangement under which public money is, or may become payable by the Australian Government for the NCP Scholarship Program can be found in Item 9, Part 2 of Schedule 1AB of the Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Regulations 1997 (Cth).

2.4 Role and responsibilities of the Australian Government

DFAT and Education administer the NCP Scholarship Program together.

DFAT is responsible for strategic leadership and setting the policy direction for the NCP. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade manages the NCP budget and matters related to business liaison, Internships, Mentorships, public diplomacy and alumni. 

Education coordinates the Application process and the administration of online systems, and is the first point of contact for Applicants and Australian Universities on administrative matters, including eligibility for the NCP Scholarship Program, nominations, Applications and attendance at interview. 

DFAT and Education jointly manage the Guidelines and selection processes, and review direction and implementation of the NCP Scholarship Program. Departmental officers and third party providers may be involved in the selection processes and have commensurate skills and experience to assess Applications.  To ensure the integrity of the selection process, these personnel are required to complete a declaration to cover issues associated with Conflicts of Interest.

Applicants should note that DFAT and Education are not responsible for arranging Study Components, Internships, Mentorships, Language Training, travel arrangements (including visas), or logistics in Host Locations (including accommodation).  They will not direct Host Institutions, Host Organisations, Language Training Providers, or Scholars about the manner in which the approved Scholarship Programs are carried out. These matters are for Home Universities, Host Institutions, Host Organisations, Language Training Providers and Scholars to determine.

Section 13.2 provides contact details for the Education.

2.5 Role and responsibilities of Australian Universities

Each Australian University is invited to identify and nominate up to ten Applicants for the 2020 round of the NCP Scholarship Program. In doing so, it is the responsibility of the Australian University to obtain consent from Applicants for their personal details to be provided to DFAT and Education as part of the nomination process. It is also the responsibility of the Australian University to ensure that the email addresses provided for the nominees are up-to-date and accurate.

Following the nomination process, the Australian University is responsible for confirming that their nominated Applicant(s) have received Australian Government guidance on the Application process (including a copy of these Guidelines). The Australian University must also confirm that the nominees’ proposed Study Component is credit-bearing. The Australian University is requested to assist nominees to obtain the required evidence of acceptance by a Host Institution and are encouraged to support Applicants to arrange Internships, Mentorships and Language Training.

Interested Australian Universities are requested to nominate a NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships (and an alternative contact, where possible) who will submit nominations on behalf of the Australian University and receive updates throughout the selection process. The NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships must provide consent for their name and contact details to be published on the New Colombo Plan Website and to be contacted by the Australian Government in regards to the NCP Scholarship Program.

Each participating Australian University must work with Applicants to undertake risk assessments of Host Locations proposed by Applicants (see Section 5.5.4).

2.6 Role and responsibilities of Applicants

It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their complete Application, including supporting documentation and referee reports, is submitted by the Closing Time. Applications not submitted by the Closing Time will not be considered. Applicants must meet any costs associated with preparing and lodging their Application.

The decision to apply for and, if successful, accept a Scholarship is the responsibility of the Applicant. The Australian Government will not be liable for any loss, damage, injury or harm that might be suffered during, or in connection with, the Scholarship Program. Successful Applicants are responsible for obtaining the correct visa(s) for the duration of their Scholarship.

Applicants should make their own inquiries about the risks involved in overseas travel, including travel to the Host Location(s), and be fully informed about the risks at all times. Applicants are required to read carefully the travel advice for their Host Location(s) and other relevant travel information pages on the Smartraveller website (such as ‘Studying overseas’) for information about risks overseas and how they can prepare for overseas travel.

Applicants must not propose study components in locations where Smartraveller travel advice advises “Do not travel” or “Reconsider your need to travel”, unless, in the case of “Reconsider your need to travel” an exemption has been sought and granted by the NCP Secretariat following the approval of the relevant Australian diplomatic mission. Successful Applicants must subscribe to the relevant travel advisories and register their contact details on Smartraveller prior to Commencement of their Scholarship.

Applicants are required to exhibit professional behaviour throughout the selection process and, if successful, will be expected to act as ambassadors for Australia and the NCP during their Scholarship Program. Evidence of unprofessional behaviour, including but not limited to, misrepresentation of the truth in an Application or at an interview, or inappropriate social media posts or public commentary referencing the NCP Scholarship Program can be grounds for not awarding or for cancelling an awarded Scholarship. Further requirements are set out in the Scholarship Agreement.

2.7 Role and responsibilities of the Support Services Organisation

The Support Services Organisation is responsible for allocating a Case Manager and providing high quality assistance and program management for each Scholar. The services provided by the Support Services Organisation include, but are not limited to, providing Scholars with:

  1. pre-departure support;
  2. a briefing pack of important information;
  3. the Scholarship allowances;
  4. advice and guidance during the Scholarship;
  5. assistance with Scholarship variation requests; and
  6. assistance with a Scholar’s return to Australia on completion of the Scholarship.

3 Grant amount and grant period

3.1 NCP funding commitment

Funding for the NCP supports:

  1. a prestigious Scholarship Program for up to 19 months of study, Language Training, Internships and/or Mentorships; and
  2. a flexible Mobility Grant Program for both short and longer-term study, Language Training, Internships, Mentorships and research.

Total funding for the NCP from 2019-20 is outlined below. It covers all aspects of the NCP administration, including Mobility Program funding.

2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
$50,933,000 $50,933,000 $50,933,000

Further information regarding specific Scholarship Benefits is set out in Section 5.8.

3.2 Grant period

An Applicant's proposed Scholarship Program must be for a Scholarship Term:

  1. of between three and 19 months in duration; and
  2. commencing on or between 1 January 2020 and 15 December 2020. 

4. Eligibility criteria

4.1 Who is eligible to apply for a Scholarship?

To be eligible for a Scholarship, and to remain eligible during the Scholarship Program if a Scholarship is awarded, you must:

  1. have been nominated for the NCP Scholarship Program by your Home University (see Section 4.2);
  2. be an Australian citizen;
  3. not be a current or previous citizen or permanent resident of your proposed Primary Location or any Secondary Location;
  4. be enrolled, until completion of all Study Components, in at least one Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree unit at an on-shore campus of an Australian University;
  5. be undertaking, until completion of all Study Components, at least one Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree;
  6. be between 18 and 28 years of age (inclusive) on 1 January 2020;
  7. have achieved a minimum 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for your undergraduate course at the time of Application, as determined by the nominating Home University; and
  8. not be a previous recipient of a Scholarship under the NCP Scholarship Program.

Successful Applicants are not permitted to commence another Australian Government funded off‑shore scholarship or mobility grant (including under a NCP Mobility Program grant) while undertaking their Scholarship Program.

4.2 Nominations

Applicants must be nominated by their Home University in order to apply for a Scholarship. Eligible Applicants who are interested in applying for a Scholarship should contact the NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships or the international office of their Home University. A list of NCP Liaison Officers for Scholarships is available at the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.

Each Australian University is invited to nominate up to 10 students enrolled at that Australian University (nominees are not ranked in any order by the Australian University).  Each Australian University will determine its own process for making nominations, but is encouraged to consider the Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria when conducting its nomination process. We strongly encourage Australian Universities to ensure that their nominees are representative of the diversity of the Australian undergraduate population.

Nominations from Australian Universities must be submitted online through New Colombo Plan Online. Education will provide the Australian University’s NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships with instructions on how to submit nominations and access the online platform (see Section 13.2 for contact details).

Applicants should be aware that the following details will be requested from their Home University in the online nomination form:

  1. name;
  2. Gender;
  3. date of birth;
  4. email address;
  5. mobile phone;
  6. degree in which the nominee is enrolled;
  7. Academic Transcript (official);
  8. intended Primary Location (where known);
  9. equity group (if relevant); and 
  10. confirmation that a police check has been conducted for the purpose of the Application.  The Australian University is required as part of the nomination process to forward any adverse findings from that police check to the NCP Secretariat.

All Applicants are required to undergo a police check prior to submitting their Application. It is an important consideration of the Australian Government that a Scholar will enhance the reputation of Australia and the NCP overseas. A criminal record will not automatically disqualify an Applicant from receiving a Scholarship. However, if a successful Applicant is found to have a criminal record or conviction then DFAT, may revoke or refuse to grant a Scholarship to the Applicant. 

The Australian University is required to ensure that it has appropriate policies in place relating to the handling of Personal Information, and has obtained the Applicant’s express consent to deal with and provide the Applicant’s Personal Information to DFAT and Education for the purposes of the NCP Scholarship Program. 

Applicants are also required to agree to the terms of use of such Personal Information (which are set out in these Guidelines) when submitting their Application.

4.3 Who is not eligible to apply for a Scholarship?

You are not eligible to apply if you do not satisfy each of the Eligibility Requirements in Section 4.1.

5. What the grant money can be used for

5.1 Eligible Scholarship Program activities

To be an eligible Scholarship Program, the Applicant's proposed Scholarship Program must: 

  1. include at least one Study Component which must commence within three months following the Scholarship Program Commencement date;
  2. be for a Scholarship Term:
    1. of between three and 19 months in duration; and
    2. commencing on or between 1 January 2020 and 15 December 2020; and
  3. at all times during the Scholarship Term, involve the Scholar undertaking either:
    1. a Study Component;
    2. a Full Time Internship Component;
    3. Full Time Language Training; or
    4. a Permitted Gap.
  4. In addition to meeting the requirements in Section 5.1(a) to (c) above, Scholarship Programs may also include, as set out in this Section 5:   

  5. an Internship Component undertaken concurrently with a Study Component;
  6. a Mentorship undertaken concurrently with a Study Component, Full Time Internship Component or Full Time Language Training; or
  7. Language Training undertaken concurrently with a Study Component, or Full Time Internship Component.

5.2 Study Component

5.2.1 General

As set out in Section 5.1(a), it is mandatory to undertake at least one Study Component as part of a Scholarship Program.  To qualify as a Study Component, a course of study must:

  1. be at least one Full Time study 'period', which is either a semester or trimester as defined by the Host Institution;
  2. except via a research-based honours program, be undertaken through attendance at face-to-face course delivery, on the Host Institution premises or such other physical premises that the Host Institution has approved for delivery of the teaching component of the course (and not via online, pre-recorded or other remote technology);
  3. be a course undertaken at the Host Institution, for which the Applicant's Home University has agreed to grant full-time academic credit towards a Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree.  Courses that provide whole or partial credit towards a Concurrent Diploma (in addition to full-time academic credit towards a Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree) are also permitted; and
  4. for Scholars studying a research-based honours program, be supervised by an academic from their Host Institution (and Scholars are required in their Application to describe the benefits of undertaking their research program at their chosen Host Location).

Scholarship Programs are permitted to have up to one Academic Year of Study Components.  However, each study period as part of the Academic Year is regarded as a separate Study Component.  If the Scholar is not undertaking a Full Time Internship or Full Time Language Training in the relevant period, they will need to apply and have a Permitted Gap approved for any period between one Study Component finishing and the next Study Component commencing.

5.2.2 Host Institutions

Study Components must be undertaken at a Host Institution that is established and has its primary headquarters in the Host Location where the Study Component is undertaken, unless otherwise approved. Generally a Study Component will not be approved to be undertaken at an offshore campus of a Host Institution that is established or headquartered outside of the Host Location. However, undertaking Study Components at offshore campuses of a Host Institution established in or headquartered outside of the Host Location will be considered for approval on a case by case basis, where:

  1. there is a demonstrated benefit to the overall NCP Scholarship Program:
  2. the body is established or has its primary headquarters in another eligible Host Location; or
  3. in respect of offshore campuses of Australian Universities, the Home University provides confirmation that:
    1. there are no local Host Institutions in the proposed location that offer relevant courses that would receive credit from the Home University; and
    2. the offshore campus offers a genuine local experience, where Australian students are the minority of the student body and Scholars are taught predominantly by local and international academics.

5.3 Internship and Mentorship

In addition to at least one Study Component, where Host Location visa requirements permit, Scholars are strongly encouraged to propose to undertake one or more Internships or Mentorships as part of their Scholarship Program.

Internships and Mentorships do not need to be confirmed at the time of Application. 

Once awarded the Scholarship, Scholars will be able to access the NCP Internship and Mentorship Network to identify Internship and Mentorship opportunities made available by registered organisations, although Internships and Mentorships do not have to be arranged through the network.

5.3.1 Internship Component

An Internship is a professional work experience in which a Scholar has learning goals relevant to their academic qualification and professional development. Internships can include clinical placements, practicums or artist residencies.  Internships comprise an opportunity that enables Scholars to have immersive experiences in work environments at the Host Location.

To be eligible as an Internship Component as part of a Scholarship Program, an Internship:

  1. must be undertaken:
    1. on a Full Time basis (which means for between 22 and 38 hours per week) for a maximum of up to six months, prior or subsequent to a Study Component; or
    2. on a part-time basis concurrent with a Study Component; and
  2. must be undertaken in the Primary Location, or in a Secondary Location in accordance with Section 5.5.

An Internship must be undertaken face to face.  An Internship is not permitted to be undertaken online or remotely. 

An Internship may be paid or unpaid. An Internship must not incur a cost - attending informal and formal paid courses does not count as an Internship.

Scholars are encouraged to seek academic credit for their Internship, but this is not mandatory.

5.3.2 Mentorship

A Mentorship is a developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person, relevant to work, career, or professional development.  Mentorships may only be undertaken concurrently with a Study Component, Full Time Internship Component, or Full Time Language Training.

5.4 Language Training

In addition to at least one Study Component, Scholars are strongly encouraged to undertake Language Training.  To be eligible as part of a Scholarship Program, Language Training must:

  1. be undertaken in the same Host Location as a Study Component or a Full Time Internship Component;
  2. be in an official language of the Host Location where it is undertaken;
  3. be delivered formally and in person by a bona fide training provider (as assessed by DFAT in its sole and absolute discretion) ('Language Training Provider'); and
  4. be for a period of up to six months, undertaken either:
    1. Full Time, which means for a minimum of 15 contact hours per week; or
    2. part time concurrently with a Study Component or a Full Time Internship Component.

Scholars are encouraged to seek academic credit for their Language Training, but this is not mandatory.

5.5 Eligible locations

5.5.1 Approved Host Locations

Scholarship Programs may be conducted only in the following Host Locations:

  • Bangladesh        
  • French Polynesia             
  • Maldives             
  • Pakistan              
  • Sri Lanka
  • Bhutan Hong Kong         
  • Marshall Islands               
  • Palau    
  • Taiwan
  • Brunei Darussalam         
  • India     
  • Mongolia            
  • Papua New Guinea         
  • Thailand
  • Cambodia           
  • Indonesia           
  • Myanmar           
  • Philippines         
  • Timor-Leste
  • China    
  • Japan   
  • Nauru  
  • Republic of Korea            
  • Tonga
  • Cook Islands      
  • Kiribati  Nepal   
  • Samoa  Tuvalu
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Laos      
  • New Caledonia 
  • Singapore           
  • Vanuatu
  • Fiji         
  • Malaysia             
  • Niue     
  • Solomon Islands              
  • Vietnam

5.5.2 Primary Locations

A primary location is the Host Location for which the Scholarship is awarded ('Primary Location'). A Primary Location must be where the Scholar undertakes the most substantial study component and the majority of their Scholarship Program. Study Components and/or Internship Components undertaken by a Scholar at other locations must not exceed the time spent at the Primary Location. 

5.5.3 Secondary Locations

There is a strong preference that Scholarship Programs be conducted in a single eligible Host Location (with all Study Component(s) at a single Host Institution).  However, Applicants may apply to undertake their Scholarship Programs in more than one eligible Host Location and/or at more than one Host Institution or Host Organisation. 

Where an Applicant proposes to undertake a Scholarship Program in more than one Host Location ('Secondary Location'), the Applicant must nominate a Primary Location on their Application. DFAT and Education will consider requests for a Secondary Location on a case by case basis.When proposing a Secondary Location, Applicants should detail how this helps to achieve the Objectives.

Approval of a Secondary Location does not entitle a Scholar to receive an additional Travel Allowance or Establishment Allowance (see Section 5.8.3).

5.5.4 Travel requirements

Scholars are responsible for making their own travel arrangements, including obtaining visas and ensuring visa eligibility requirements are met for each Host Location in which the Scholar will undertake their Scholarship Program.  If a Scholar is having difficulty in arranging a relevant visa, the Scholar should approach their assigned Case Manager to obtain further information on obtaining visas in the relevant Host Location based on past experience. Scholars should obtain travel medical advice, including any necessary vaccinations, prior to commencement of travel.

Scholars must not travel to a Host Location or region within a Host Location for which the Australian Government’s Smartraveller travel advice recommends ‘Do not travel’ or ‘Reconsider your need to travel’. Where there are exceptional circumstances, the NCP Secretariat may consider an exemption in the case of ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ locations, subject to the approval of the relevant Australian diplomatic mission.

Applicants must acknowledge in their Scholarship Agreement (see Section 10.1) that they have considered the risks carefully and investigated safety precautions before deciding to travel to any Host Location.  This includes the Applicant working with their Home University to address the issues identified in the risk assessment for Host Locations undertaken under Section 2.5.

5.6 Eligible locations

During the Scholarship Term, gaps may be approved on the terms set out in the Scholarship Agreement ('Permitted Gaps'), during which the Scholar is not required to undertake the Scholarship Program on a Full Time basis in accordance with Section 5.1(c). 

A Permitted Gap must not result in the Scholarship Term exceeding 19 months; or include any additional costs to the NCP Scholarship Program, the Service Provider, the Host Institution(s), the Host Organisation(s) (if any) or Language Training Provider (if any).

A Permitted Gap is:

  1. Gap Leave - is for when there is a gap between the end of and subsequent commencement of a Study Component(s), Full Time Language Training or Internship Component(s) and is for a maximum of:
    1. in the first 12 month period of a Scholarship Program, four weeks; and
    2. in any subsequent period of a Scholarship Program, up to two weeks (in addition to any unused Gap Leave under Section 5.6(a)(i)).
  2. When applying for Gap Leave, Scholars must demonstrate it is reasonably necessary in order to complete their Scholarship Program, with no reasonable alternatives.  Scholars must apply for Gap Leave as soon as possible on becoming aware of the requirement for Gap Leave.  Scholars must remain in one of the eligible Host Locations during any period of Gap Leave.

  3. Leave of Absence - for a maximum of:
    1. in the first 12 month period of a Scholarship Program, two weeks; and
    2. in any subsequent period of a Scholarship Program, up to one week (in addition to any unused Gap Leave under Section 5.6(b)(i)).
  4. A Leave of Absence must be for personal or professional development, compassionate and compelling reasons, or for issues relating to the Scholar's safety and security.

  5. Suspension - a suspension may be applied for on the terms set out in the Scholarship Agreement, including where a Scholar has exhausted their entitlement to apply for a Leave of Absence.  DFAT may also require a Suspension in accordance with the process in the Scholarship Agreement.

Except in relation to the Insurance, Scholarship Benefits are unaffected by approved Gap Leave or a Leave of Absence.  During any period of Suspension, there is no entitlement to or payment of Scholarship Benefits (and no amounts are payable following the Suspension for costs incurred during the Suspension).

A Permitted Gap may impact on a Scholar's entitlement to Insurance under the relevant policy terms.  Scholars are responsible for informing themselves of the policy terms for the Insurance and taking out any appropriate alternative or additional insurance cover where the Insurance is impacted by a Permitted Gap.

5.7 Community engagement and advocacy

The Australian Government, including through its network of diplomatic missions and offices overseas, may invite Scholars to participate in a range of events during their Scholarship.

These activities are in addition to the formal eligibility requirements for the Scholarship Program. Scholars are encouraged to share the experiences of their Scholarship Program with the NCP Secretariat, other students and their community, including through engaging with the NCP alumni community and through social media. They are encouraged to participate in activities that will encourage others to participate in the NCP and to advocate for the NCP and its Objectives, including promoting the benefits of studying and undertaking work placements in the Indo-Pacific region. 

5.8 Scholarship Benefits

5.8.1 Overview

Scholars are responsible for their own financial circumstances while undertaking their Scholarship Program.  Before applying for a Scholarship, Applicants must consider their personal financial circumstances and ensure that undertaking a Scholarship Program will not overextend them financially. In particular, Applicants should be aware that exchange rates can fluctuate.

Scholars may receive the Scholarship Benefits described in Sections 5.8.2, 5.8.3 and 5.8.4 during the Scholarship Term, depending on their Scholarship Program and whether they continue to meet the requirements for each Scholarship Benefit in the Scholarship Agreement.

The terms on which Scholars will receive Scholarship Benefits are further set out in the Scholarship Agreement.  In most cases the Scholarship Benefits are either paid as a reimbursement to the Scholar or directly to the Host Institution, Host Organisation, Language Training Provider or relevant third party, and not to the Scholar in advance. Any Scholarship Benefits received must only be used for the purpose of the Scholarship Program and not for any other purpose. 

All amounts set out in this Section 5.8 or the Scholarship Agreement are expressed in Australian dollars.  Where amounts are converted into foreign currency (including where an invoice is paid on behalf of the Scholar, or the Scholar's eligibility for a reimbursement needs to be determined), the then current exchange rate will be applied, as determined by DFAT.  

Not all expenditure on your Scholarship Program may be eligible for grant funding. The Program Delegate makes the final decision on what is eligible expenditure and may give additional guidance on eligible expenditure if required.

5.8.2 Tuition Fees

Tuition Fees are payable directly to the relevant Host Institution and any Language Training Provider up to the maximum amount for each activity set out in the following table.  The Scholar will be responsible for any tuition fees in excess of the per activity maximum amount.

Item  Activity Length of activity Expenses payable under the Tuition Fees Maximum amount of expenses payable as Tuition Fees for the activity 
1 Study Component Any period up to a maximum of two semesters or three trimesters (as defined by the Host Institution)
  1. Course fees at the Host Institution where the Scholar is a fee paying international student.

    The Tuition Fees only cover course fees at the Host Institution if no current exchange agreement place relevant to the Scholar's field of study is available between the Home University and the Host Institution.  The Scholar's entitlement to payment of course fees is considered and approved as part of the initial acceptance of Applications.  Any requested changes after Applications have been submitted are subject to consideration and approval on a case by case basis as a variation request under the Scholarship Agreement, in accordance with the process in Section 10.2.

  2. Applicable student service and amenities fees at the Host Institution.
  3. Other amounts payable to the Host Institution where all of the following requirements are met:
    1. the total of the costs are more than $200;
    2. the costs are not covered under an applicable exchange agreement place;
    3. the Host Institution certifies in writing that the costs are mandatory for completion of the Study Component; and
    4. an invoice for the relevant amount is issued by the Host Institution.
Up to $10,000 per semester or $6,666 per trimester
2 Full Time Language Training More than one month in total to a maximum of six months

 

Full Time Language Training may be undertaken in blocks, provided that the total cumulative duration does not exceed six months

Fees for the Language Training payable to the Language Training Provider Up to $10,000
3 Full Time Language Training Up to or equal to one month duration in total

 

Full Time Language Training may be undertaken in blocks, provided that the total cumulative duration does not exceed one month

Fees for the Language Training payable to the Language Training Provider Up to $1,500, minus any amount paid under item 4. 
4 Part Time Language Training Any period Fees for the Language Training payable to the Language Training Provider Up to $1,500, minus any amount paid under item 3.

The maximum amount that the Scholar will be paid as Tuition Fees for all activities undertaken during a Scholarship Program is $20,000 ('Tuition Fees Cap').  Once the Tuition Fees Cap is reached, the Scholar will be responsible for the balance of any outstanding tuition fees. 

5.8.3 Allowances

  1. A Travel Allowance of $2,500 paid as a reimbursement to the Scholar ($1,250 on travel to the Host Location and $1,250 on return to Australia at the end of the Scholarship Term) to contribute to costs associated with the Scholar’s eligible travel to and from the Host Location.
  2. An Establishment Allowance of $2,500 paid to the Scholar to contribute to the costs associated with the Scholar settling into their Host Location. Fellows (see Section 6.3) will receive an additional payment of $1,000 ('Fellows Allowance') to purchase study materials for use during their Scholarship.  Scholars that are appointed as a Fellow under more than one applicable award will receive a Fellows Allowance of $1,000 for each position.
  3. A Scholarship Allowance paid to the Scholar as a monthly stipend during the Scholarship Term of up to $2,500 to contribute to the Scholar’s basic living costs in their Host Location.
  4. A Mental Health Allowance of $1,000 paid to the Scholar as a reimbursement to contribute to the cost of providers of Mental Health Services.  The Mental Health Allowance provides reimbursement in relation to the cost of any provider of Mental Health Services, including professionals who are qualified or registered to assist (such as psychologists and social workers) with specific personal issues, such as coping with life changes and fostering mental wellbeing.

5.8.4 Other Scholarship Benefits

Scholars also receive:

5.8.4.1 Insurance

Health and travel insurance while outside of Australia, under an existing policy of cover and subject to certain terms and exclusions (the 'Insurance').  On a case by case basis, the Scholar may also be considered for, and receive additional insurance cover for, an existing condition that is not typically covered by the standard terms of insurance.

5.8.4.2 Allocation of Case Manager

A dedicated Case Manager from the Support Services Organisation for the duration of their Scholarship Term who provides services including pre-departure briefings, advice on health and travel insurance, advice and assistance relating to accommodation, and payment of Scholarship Benefits.

5.8.4.3 Private Sector Sponsorship

Scholarships may also be sponsored by private sector organisations (i.e. not DFAT or Education).  

DFAT has entered into sponsorship agreements with Private Sector Organisations (each a 'Sponsor') for the provision of in-kind benefits to the NCP. Sponsors are able to associate their brand with the NCP through selected Scholarships, such as the NCP (Business Name) Scholarship for (Location). This is known as a 'Sponsored Scholarship'. Benefits can be directed to Scholars and may include enhanced Internship packages, training opportunities (such as leadership training) and other benefits. Agreements will be put in place regarding Scholar benefits and obligations under the Sponsored Scholarship. 

All Scholars are eligible for Sponsored Scholarships.

In determining Sponsored Scholarships, Sponsors provide DFAT with a set of criteria based on discipline, location, Host Institution/Home University, or other relevant factors. For example, the Sponsored Scholarship may be for top ranked business students studying in Singapore.

Following the selection process set out in Section 8, DFAT will prepare a shortlist of successful Applicants who have accepted the NCP Scholarship, and who meet the criteria for any Sponsored Scholarship. With the consent of the Scholar on the shortlist, DFAT will provide the Scholar’s contact details to the relevant Sponsor. Sponsors will contact the Scholars directly, and determine who from the shortlist will be the recipient of the Sponsored Scholarship.

Scholars who have been selected to receive a Sponsored Scholarship will negotiate directly with the Sponsor on the timing of the receipt of any additional benefits – such as training opportunities.

6. The assessment criteria

6.1 Assessment criteria

In addition to meeting the Eligibility Requirements, Applicants will be assessed in accordance with the process set out in Section 8 and on the basis of the following assessment criteria (for both the written Application and further based on the Applicant's performance at interview) ('Selection Criteria').

6.1.1 Academic excellence at the tertiary level (40 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to:

  1. the Applicant’s graded average achieved in tertiary studies (based on Home University grading); and
  2. ungraded academic achievements, such as academic awards and commendations, publications, or other examples of academic excellence at the tertiary level.

The Applicant’s communication skills, higher-order cognitive and critical thinking skills, and engagement in learning will also be assessed. High School academic achievements will not be considered.

6.1.2 Leadership and engagement in the community (30 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the Applicant’s demonstrated leadership in the community, including volunteer and not-for-profit roles and/or activities they have undertaken in their local community, nationally, overseas and/or in their university.

6.1.3 Adaptability and resilience (15 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the Applicant’s demonstrated ability to adapt to change, thrive in a different environment, and resilience in the face of challenges.

6.1.4 Ability to contribute to NCP Objectives (15 per cent weighting)

Assessment of this criterion will relate to the Applicant’s demonstrated understanding of the Objectives, and how the Applicant and their proposed Scholarship Program would contribute to the Objectives.

6.2 Other considerations

Where Applicants have similarly meritorious claims in relation to the Selection Criteria, preference may be given to:

  1. Applicants proposing:
    1. longer periods of Study Components;
    2. an Internship Component or a Mentorship;
    3. a period (or longer periods) of Language Training; and/or
    4. a Scholarship Program with correlation across the proposed Study Component, Language Training and Internship Component;
  2. achieving diversity of placement across Host Locations;
  3. representation from diverse student groups including but not limited to, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, students from a Low Socio-economic Status background, students from Regional/Remote areas or universities, students from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds, students across the Genders, female students in non-traditional fields, or students with a Disability;
  4. diversity across fields of study and Home Universities; or
  5. Applications that demonstrate a better achievement of the Objectives.

6.3 Additional Selection Criterion for Language Training Grant as part of a Semester-based Mobility Project (if sought)

Applicants may be appointed as Fellows under the NCP on a merit basis.

The top-ranked Applicant for each Host Location will be acknowledged as a NCP fellow ('Fellow').

Subject to the Applicant’s agreement, the top-ranked Indigenous Applicant will be acknowledged as the NCP Indigenous Fellow.

DFAT and Education may establish further categories of Fellows at their discretion.

Fellows are encouraged to play a strong leadership role in promoting the NCP while on their Scholarship Program, and as part of the alumni network following completion of their Scholarship Program.

7 How to apply

Before applying, you must read and understand these Guidelines and the sample Scholarship Agreement.

These documents may be found at GrantConnect. Any alterations and addenda[2] will be published on GrantConnect and by registering on this website, you will be automatically notified of any changes. GrantConnect is the authoritative source for grants information.

7.1 Overview

Education will contact individuals nominated by Australian Universities by email and provide instructions on how to submit the Application.

To apply you must:

  1. complete the online application form available from a link provided to you by Education, accessible via New Colombo Plan Online;
  2. provide all the information requested;
  3. address all Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria;
  4. include all necessary attachments; and
  5. submit your Application online through New Colombo Plan Online by the Closing Time.

In applying, each Applicant must submit a single Scholarship Program proposal. Multiple proposals will not be considered. An Applicant cannot change their Primary Location in their Application once it has been submitted.

You are responsible for ensuring that your Application is complete and accurate. Applicants should note that giving false or misleading information is a serious offence under the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).  Applications may be excluded from consideration, offers revoked or a Scholarship Program terminated if it is the belief of Education, in consultation with DFAT, that false or misleading information has formed a component of an Application.  Further terms relating to the termination or cancellation of a Scholarship are set out in the Scholarship Agreement.

If you find an error in your Application after submitting it, you should contact us immediately via email at ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au. We do not have to accept any additional information, nor requests from you to correct your Application after the Closing Time.

If we find an error or information that is missing, we may ask for clarification or additional information from you that will not change the nature of your Application. However, we can refuse to accept any additional information from you that would change your Application after the Closing Time.

You should keep a copy of your Application and any supporting documents.

We will acknowledge that we have received your Application via an automatically generated email once you have submitted your Application on the system.  

7.2 Written Applications

The main component of the written Application involves answering questions related to the Selection Criteria. The Application also requires Applicants to provide details of their proposed Scholarship Program, including the mandatory Study Component, any proposed Internships, Mentorships or Language Training, and the Host Location(s) in which they intend to complete their Scholarship.  The Primary Location must be decided at the time of Application.

7.3 Referee reports

Applicants must supply two referee reports when submitting their Application. At least one report must be prepared by an academic referee.
Each referee must:

  1. be able to comment substantively on the Applicant’s abilities and experience with respect to the Selection Criteria; and

  2. hold a position that gives their comments credibility (e.g. a position in the Applicant’s Home University, workplace or community).

Applicants should consider carefully their referees, as their reports should add considerable value to the assessment of an Application against the Selection Criteria.

7.4 Attachments to the Application

Applicants must submit all of the following documentation in addition to a completed Application form:

  1. evidence of Australian citizenship (copy of birth certificate, current Australian passport or citizenship certificate);
  2. a letter of current enrolment from their Home University, including expected completion date for the course the overseas study program will be credited towards;
  3. a current, complete-to-date official Academic Transcript from their Home University;
  4. the following evidence of affiliation with their Host Institution, which should demonstrate that the Applicant has begun the application process with their proposed Host Institution:
    1. if intending to apply for an exchange place for the Study Component under an arrangement in place between the Applicant's Home University and the Host Institution; evidence of the affiliation demonstrated by:
      1. a copy of a partnership agreement between the Applicant’s Home University and the Host Institution, or a letter from the Applicant’s Home University outlining partnership arrangements to allow for Commencement on or between 1 January 2020 and 15 December 2020; and
      2. an email or letter from the Applicant or the Applicant’s Home University to the proposed Host Institution indicating the student is in the process of applying for the NCP Scholarship Program and, if successful, would be seeking to undertake a study program at that proposed Host Institution under the relevant exchange place arrangement; or
    2. if intending to apply for a course fee paying position:
      1. evidence in the form of correspondence that the Applicant has begun the process of applying with the Host Institution; and
      2. confirmation from the Home University that no current exchange agreement is in place between the Host Institution and the Home University (as described in item 1 of the table at Section 5.8.2); and
    3. a letter from the Applicant's Home University faculty, endorsed by the Home University's NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships, attesting to the feasibility of the Applicant's proposed Study Component, with reference to the requirements set out in Section 5.2.

Applicants must liaise with their Home University’s NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships or international office to obtain this evidence. 

You should only attach requested documents. DFAT and Education will not consider information in attachments that have not been requested.

7.5 Timing of grant opportunity processes

The table below summaries the indicative key dates and steps in the selection process.

The Departments may amend the timeline at any time by posting a notice on GrantConnect.

Table 1: Expected timing for this grant opportunity

Activity Timeframe
Guidelines published on GrantConnect 15 February 2019

Australian Universities nominate students.
Nominations must be made via New Colombo Plan Online.

17 June – 22 July 2019
Application round closes at 11.30pm AEST ('Closing Time'). 22 July 2019
Nominated students receive an invitation to complete an online Application. Applicants complete and submit their Application and supporting documentation. 23 July – 21 August 2019
Applications close at 11.30pm AEST ('Closing Time'). 21 August 2019
Applications are shortlisted and shortlisted Applicants are notified. September 2019
Shortlisted Applicants are interviewed. September – October 2019

Selections are finalised and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Education and Training are notified of selection outcomes.
All successful and unsuccessful Applicants are notified of the outcome of their Application.

November 2019
Scholars are announced and their details published on the New Colombo Plan Website. December 2019
Scholars commence their Scholarship. 1 January 2020 – 15 December 2020

7.6 Questions during the Application process

If you have any questions during the application period, please direct them to the NCP Secretariat in writing via ncp.secretariat@dfat.gov.au.

The NCP Secretariat will endeavour to respond to emailed questions within three working days.  If applicable, answers to questions will be posted on GrantConnect.    

DFAT will not respond to any questions received after 5.00pm AEST on 7 August 2019

8. The grant selection process

8.1 Assessment of Applications

Your Application must be submitted by the Closing Time to be considered.  We cannot accept late Applications.

We first review your Application against the Eligibility Requirements. Only eligible Applications will move to the next stage. We consider eligible Applications through a competitive process.

A comparison will be made of your Application and performance at interview against the Selection Criteria and against other Applications. Your Application will be considered on its merits, based on:

  1. how well it meets the Selection Criteria;
  2. how it compares to other Applications; and
  3. whether it provides value with relevant money.[3]

When assessing the extent to which the Application represents value with relevant money, we will have regard to the other considerations in Section 6.2.

8.2 Who will assess Applications and the selection process

Applications will be assessed in accordance with the following stages.

Stage 1: Initial screening

DFAT (or its agent) will be responsible for reviewing Applications to ensure that they comply with the Eligibility Requirements. Applications that do not meet these requirements will be excluded from further assessment.

Stage 2: Detailed assessment of written Applications against Selection Criteria

A panel of external assessors will assess and score Applications on the basis of the Selection Criteria weighting (see Section 6.1) and provide an order of merit to the NCP Secretariat. The panel will comprise individuals with experience in the assessment of Commonwealth grant applications or similar assessment processes managed by Commonwealth government departments.

The NCP Secretariat Delegate (Director NCP Secretariat) will determine which Applications are shortlisted on the basis of the order of merit proposed by the assessment panel and other considerations outlined in Section 6.2. 

Stage 3: Interviews  

Shortlisted Applicants will be advised that they are shortlisted and invited to attend an interview in accordance with the timetable set out in Section 7.5.

Interview panels will comprise members drawn from the following: senior government officials, private sector, experts on Indo-Pacific affairs, and/or the education sector. 

Panels will rank each Applicant as Highly Recommended, Recommended or Not Recommended on the basis of the Selection Criteria and other considerations outlined in Section 6.2. The NCP Secretariat will moderate the panel recommendations and present the findings to the Program Delegate (see Section 8.3) to decide on the award of Scholarships.

8.3 Who will approve the award of Scholarships?

The Program Delegate (the DFAT Deputy Secretary responsible for the NCP Secretariat), or their delegate, will decide on the award of Scholarships to approve taking into account the recommendations of the interview panels and the availability of grant funds for the purposes of the grant program.

The Program Delegate’s decision is final in all matters, including:

  1. the approval of the Scholarship;
  2. the grant funding amount to be awarded; and
  3. the terms and conditions of the Scholarship.

There is no appeal mechanism for decisions to approve or not approve a Scholarship.

9. Notification of application outcomes

DFAT and/or Education will advise you of the outcome of your Application via email. If you are successful, we will advise you of any specific conditions attached to the Scholarship.  

If you are unsuccessful, you can submit a new Application for the same grant (or a similar grant) in any future grant opportunities under the NCP. You should include new or more information to address any weaknesses that may have prevented your previous Application from being successful. Please note that addressing feedback does not guarantee success in a future round.

9.1 Feedback on your application

There may be a number of reasons why an Application is not successful. Please see the New Colombo Plan website after the conclusion of the round for the most common reasons why Applications were not successful.

Individual feedback will not be provided to unsuccessful Applicants.

9.2 Offer and acceptance processes

Offers of a Scholarship are subject to Applicants accepting and signing a Scholarship Agreement and being able to satisfy the visa requirements of their Host Location.

10. Successful grant applications

10.1 Scholarship Agreement

A legally binding Scholarship Agreement must be entered into with the Commonwealth before any Scholarship Benefits can be paid to the Scholar or a third party and before the Scholar commences the Scholarship Program.

The Australian Government will not be liable for any costs incurred by the Scholar or a third party in relation to a Scholarship Program before a Scholarship Agreement is entered into.

The Scholarship Agreement will detail the Scholar's responsibilities in relation to the Scholarship Program and the Australian Government's commitment to providing the Scholarship Benefits.  The version of the Guidelines in place when you submitted your Application will apply to your Scholarship Program.

Applicants should ensure they have read the sample Scholarship Agreement before submitting their Application.

Your Scholarship Agreement may have specific conditions determined by the assessment process or other considerations made by the Program Delegate.

We will identify these in the Scholarship Agreement.   

The Commonwealth may recover grant funds if there is a breach of the Scholarship Agreement.

10.2 Variations to Scholarship Programs

At any time after being notified they are successful, Scholars may apply to vary their Scholarship Program to:

  1. incorporate a new Internship or Mentorship opportunity;
  2. increase the duration of the Study Components, Language Training or Internship Component; or
  3. change any other aspect of their Scholarship Program where exceptional circumstances prevent them from completing the Scholarship Program as initially proposed.

Any request for a variation must be made by way of a Program Variation Request Form provided by their Case Manager, at least one month in advance of the proposed variation commencing, or such shorter period as required by the circumstances. 

The decision to approve a variation to a Scholarship Program will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Support Services Organisation or by DFAT, in its sole and absolute discretion.  Without limitation, DFAT may consider:

  1. the merits of the request (and funding being available if required) in respect of achieving the Objectives;
  2. demonstrated coherence across the Study Components, and any Language Training and Internship Components of the Scholarship Program; and
  3. ensuring that the Scholarship Program remains consistent with the Eligibility Requirements.

Scholars will be liable for any financial commitments made by them in relation to their proposed change of Scholarship Program where those commitments are made before receiving formal advice granting the Scholarship Program variation.

10.3 Specific legislation and policies

Scholars are required to be compliant with all relevant laws and regulations, in Australia as well as in Host Locations once on Scholarship.  This includes compliance with policies in relation to child protection.

DFAT has a zero tolerance approach to child exploitation or abuse and is committed to promoting the interests and safety of children at all times. Scholars must comply with the Support Services Organisation's Child Protection Policy, which will set out expectations in relation to appropriate behaviours and reporting requirements for Scholars. 

10.4 How we pay the grant

The Scholarship Agreement sets out the times and manner in which Scholarship Benefits will be provided to Scholars. 

Certain Scholarship Benefits will be paid to the Scholar directly.  Other Scholarship Benefits, such as Tuition Fees, will be paid directly to the Host Institution or Language Training Provider, as relevant. 

Applicants should refer to the sample Scholarship Agreement for further information. 

10.5 Taxation

Grant payments provided to Scholars should be exempt from income tax in accordance with item 2.1A of the table in section 51-10 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth). We recommend you seek independent professional advice on your taxation obligations or seek assistance from the Australian Taxation Office.[4] DFAT and Education are not able to provide advice on your particular taxation circumstances.

11. Announcement of grants

DFAT and Education may make public details of individual Scholarships and Scholars, including, but not limited to:

  1. the names of successful Scholars, their Home University, Host Location(s), Host Institution, Host Organisation and Language Training Provider;
  2. a brief description of the Scholarship Program being supported (and timing);
  3. the amount of funding awarded; and
  4. photographs of successful Applicants taken at the award ceremony.

12. How we monitor your grant activity

The requirements and expectations for the monitoring of your Scholarship are set out in the Scholarship Agreement.

12.1. Keeping us informed

You should let the Support Services Organisation know if anything is likely to affect your ability to undertake your Scholarship Program, in accordance with the Scholarship Agreement.

12.2 Reporting

You must submit reports in line with the Scholarship Agreement.

12.3 Evaluation

NCP Scholarship Program reporting and evaluation are ongoing activities within the Government. As such, DFAT, Education, and the Support Services Organisation can use any information collected for performance monitoring and management of the NCP.

The Support Services Organisation, Education and DFAT will conduct performance monitoring and management online through: New Colombo Plan Online. Information about Applicants, Program outcomes and performance (including reports) will also be collected.

Program stakeholders, including university representatives, interview panel members, nominees and Scholars may be asked to participate in evaluating the NCP Scholarship Program.

NCP Scholar alumni are also expected to participate in ongoing surveys and other program monitoring and evaluation activities after completion of their Scholarship Program, as required by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

13. Probity

The Australian Government will make sure that the grant opportunity process is fair, according to the published guidelines, incorporates appropriate safeguards against fraud, unlawful activities and other inappropriate conduct and is consistent with the CGRGs.

These Guidelines may be changed from time-to-time by DFAT. When this happens, the revised Guidelines will be published on GrantConnect.

13.1 Complaints and feedback

In relation to feedback on your Application, see Section 9.1.

Inquiries and complaints in relation to the processing and selection of Applications should be sent to ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au.

If an Applicant, or any other person, is dissatisfied with the administration of the NCP Scholarship Program they can raise their concerns with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will generally prefer that the Departments (DFAT and Education) be given an opportunity to deal with the complaint in the first instance.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman may be contacted on:

Phone (Toll free): 1300 362 072
Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au
Website: www.ombudsman.gov.au

Or by post at:

The Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
CANBERRA
ACT 2601

The Australian Government is not responsible for any misunderstanding arising from the failure by an Applicant to comply with these Guidelines, or arising from any ambiguity, discrepancy or error contained in an Application.

13.2 Further information

For further information on NCP Scholarship Program administrative matters, including eligibility for the NCP Scholarship Program, Applications and funding arrangements please contact Education at ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au.

For other matters including business liaison, Internships, Mentorships, public diplomacy and alumni, DFAT can be contacted through ncp.secretariat@dfat.gov.au.

13.3 Conflicts of Interest

An Australian University that makes a nomination must disclose any Conflict of Interest in relation to a nomination in writing to ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au at the time of submitting the nomination form or when the Conflict of Interest arises or is likely to arise. Australian Universities must take such steps as reasonably required by DFAT or Education to resolve or otherwise deal with any Conflict of Interest.

Applicants must disclose any Conflict of Interest in relation to an Application in writing to ncp.scholarships@education.gov.au at the time of submitting the Application or when the Conflict of Interest arises or is likely to arise. Applicants must take such steps as DFAT or Education reasonably require to resolve or otherwise deal with any Conflict of Interest. Obligations for the management of Conflicts of Interest by Scholars are set out in the Declaration of Acceptance.

13.4 Privacy

DFAT and Education and their contractors are bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ('Privacy Act'), including the Australian Privacy Principles ('APPs'), which prescribe rules for the handling of Personal Information.

Personal Information is collected by DFAT and Education (including from Home Universities and other third parties) in relation to Applications under the NCP.  In addition to uses permitted under the Privacy Act, the information collected may be used by DFAT and Education for the purpose of administering the NCP, including the following purposes:

  1. assessing Applications;
  2. administering and performance monitoring of the NCP;
  3. promoting the NCP, including to Scholarship recipients and to media representatives and in promotional material, information and publications in hardcopy and/or on the internet; and
  4. congratulating and/or inviting successful Applicants/Scholars to functions and events held in Australia or overseas, before, during or after the Scholarship Term.

DFAT and Education may also disclose Personal Information in relation to Applications under the NCP Scholarship Program for the purposes listed above, including:

  1. to other Australian Government departments and agencies, including Austrade, the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet;
  2. to State and Territory Governments;
  3. to Australian Parliamentary members and committees of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia;
  4. to contractors and agents of DFAT and Education;
  5. to Australian Universities, including to the NCP Liaison Officer for Scholarships;
  6. to potential Internship/Mentorship Host Organisations, Language Training Providers, Host Location governments/authorities or non-government organisations. These may be foreign organisations (noting that they may not be bound by Australian privacy legislation or equivalent privacy legislation in their own countries);
  7. to Scholarship sponsors, including but not limited to companies or professional bodies;
  8. to media representatives, including foreign media representatives; and
  9. in publicly available promotional material, information and publications in hardcopy and/or on the internet.

For more information on privacy, including handling of Personal Information, accessing or correcting Personal Information, or how to make a complaint, Applicants should go to:

  1. Department of Education and Training – Privacy Policy or contact privacy@education.gov.au and/or
  2. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Privacy or contact privacy@dfat.gov.au.

13.5 Confidential Information

Other than information available in the public domain, you agree not to disclose to any person, other than us, any Confidential Information relating to the Application and/or Scholarship Agreement, without our prior written approval. The obligation will not be breached where you are required by law, Parliament or a stock exchange to disclose the relevant information or where the relevant information is publicly available (other than through breach of a confidentiality or non-disclosure obligation).

We may at any time, require you to arrange for you to give a written undertaking relating to nondisclosure of our Confidential Information in a form we consider acceptable.

We will keep any information in connection with the Scholarship Agreement confidential to the extent that it meets all of the three conditions below:

  1. you clearly identify the information as confidential and explain why we should treat it as confidential;
  2. the information is commercially sensitive; and
  3. revealing the information would cause unreasonable harm to you or someone else.

We will not be in breach of any confidentiality agreement if the information is disclosed to:

  1. Commonwealth employees and contractors to help us manage the NCP Scholarship Program effectively;
  2. employees and contractors of DFAT or Education for the purpose of research, assessment, monitoring and analysing the NCP Scholarship Program;
  3. employees and contractors of other Commonwealth agencies for any purposes, including government administration, research or service delivery;
  4. other Australian Government agencies for law enforcement purposes, where the disclosure will serve the Australian Government’s legitimate interests and, if necessary, to substantiate an Applicant’s claims;
  5. other Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government agencies in NCP Scholarship Program reports and consultations;
  6. the Auditor-General, Ombudsman or Privacy Commissioner;
  7. the responsible Minister or Parliamentary Secretary; or
  8. a House or a Committee of the Australian Parliament.

The Scholarship Agreement may also include any specific requirements about special categories of information collected, created or held under the Scholarship Agreement.

13.6 Freedom of information

All documents in the possession of the Australian Government, including those about this grant opportunity, are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 ('FOI Act').

The purpose of the FOI Act is to give members of the public rights of access to information held by the Australian Government and its entities. Under the FOI Act, members of the public can seek access to documents held by the Australian Government. This right of access is limited only by the exceptions and exemptions necessary to protect essential public interests and private and business affairs of persons in respect of whom the information relates.

All freedom of information requests must be referred to the Freedom of Information Coordinator at DFAT immediately via email at foi@dfat.gov.au. DFAT will consult Education on FOI requests as required.

14. Glossary

Term Definition
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander a person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which they live, or formerly lived.
Academic Transcript an official document issued by the Home University as a record of all completed units and results throughout the student’s enrolment.
Academic Year the annual period of study sessions of a Home University and/or Host Institution.
Administering Entity when an entity that is not responsible for the policy, is responsible for the administration of part or all of the grant administration processes.  
Applicant a person who is applying or has applied for a Scholarship.
Application  an application for a Scholarship under the NCP Scholarship Program.
Australian Qualifications Framework  is available at: https://www.aqf.edu.au/.
Australian University a registered higher education provider for the purposes of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth) that is registered in a provider category that permits the use of the word 'university'.
Bachelor Degree undergraduate studies at a Bachelor Level 7 as defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Bachelor Honours Degree undergraduate studies at a Bachelor Honours Level 8 as defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Case Manager a staff member of the Support Services Organisation who is assigned to a particular Scholar and who is responsible for providing the Scholar with information and support services to undertake their Scholarship Program.
Closing Time the date and time specified as such in the timeline at Section 7.5, beyond which Applications will not be accepted.
Commencement the date in the Application that the Scholar is required to commence their Scholarship Program.
Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs) establish the overarching Commonwealth grants policy framework and articulate the expectations for all non-corporate Commonwealth entities in relation to grants administration. Under this overarching framework, non-corporate Commonwealth entities undertake grants administration based on the mandatory requirements and key principles of grants administration.
Concurrent Diploma undergraduate studies at a diploma level as defined in the Australian Qualifications Framework, undertaken concurrently with a Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Honours Degree.
Confidential Information information which satisfies the three criteria listed at Section 13.5 or is designated by the Australian Government as confidential or that either party knows or ought to know is confidential. This does not include information that is otherwise in the public domain.
Conflict of Interest refers to real, apparent, or potential private or personal associations or interests (financial or non financial) which improperly influence, or may improperly influence, a person’s performance of their role and responsibilities in relation to the NCP Scholarship Program.
Declaration of Acceptance is provided online via: New Colombo Plan Online.
Disability refers to any limitation, restriction or impairment which restricts everyday activities or assistance is required and has lasted or is likely to last for at least six months.
Eligibility Requirements the requirements for:
(a) a Scholarship Program to be eligible for the NCP Scholarship Program as described in Section 5.1; and
(b) an Applicant to be eligible for the NCP Scholarship Program as described in Section 4.1.
Establishment Allowance has the meaning in Section 5.8.3(b).
Fellow has the meaning in Section 6.3.
Fellows Allowance has the meaning in Section 5.8.3(b).
Full Time for each of the Study Component, Internship Component and Language Training the requirements set out in the Eligibility Requirements.
Gender part of a person’s social and personal identity, and may not necessarily be the same as the person's sex. When applying, individuals are given the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).
grant  for the purposes of the CGRGs, a ‘grant’ is an arrangement for the provision of financial assistance by the Commonwealth or on behalf of the Commonwealth:
(a) under which relevant money[5] or other Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) money[6] is to be paid to a grantee other than the Commonwealth; and
(b) which is intended to help address one or more of the Australian Government’s policy outcomes while assisting the grantee achieve its objectives. 
grant program a ‘program’ carries its natural meaning and is intended to cover a potentially wide range of related activities aimed at achieving government policy outcomes. A grant program is a group of one or more grant opportunities under a PBS Program.
GrantConnect is the Australian Government’s whole-of-government grants information system, which centralises the publication and reporting of Commonwealth grants in accordance with the CGRGs.
Guidelines these NCP Scholarship Program guidelines, as amended from time to time.
Home University the Australian University in which an Applicant or Scholar (as the case requires) is enrolled while Applying for or undertaking their Scholarship Program and will confer the student’s degree upon completion.
Host Institution a university or other education provider in which the Scholar undertakes their Study Component in the Host Location.
Host Location the eligible geographic location in the Indo-Pacific region set out in Section 5.5 to which the Scholar will travel to undertake their Scholarship Program.
Host Organisation the organisation in which the Scholar undertakes an Internship or Mentorship in the Host Location.
Insurance has the meaning in Section 5.8.4.
Internship a professional work experience in which a Scholar has learning goals relevant to their academic qualification and professional development. Internships can include clinical placements, practicums or artist residencies.  
Internship Component an Internship to be undertaken as part of a Scholarship Program that meets the Eligibility Requirements in Section 5.3.1.
Language Training training in a language to be undertaken as part of a Scholarship Program that meets the Eligibility Requirements in Section 5.4.
Language Training Provider a provider of language training at which the Scholar undertakes their Language Training in the Host Location.
Low Socio-economic Status students who are from a low socioeconomic background, as measured by the lowest quartile of the ABS Socio-Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Education and Occupation (IEO) measured at Statistical Area 1 (SA1) level.
Mental Health Allowance has the meaning in Section 5.8.3(d).
Mental Health Service professional counselling to foster a state of well-being, in which the Scholar realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.     
Mentorship a developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person, relevant to work, career, or professional development.
New Colombo Plan (NCP) the NCP Scholarship Program and the NCP Mobility Program.
New Colombo Plan (NCP) Liaison Officer for Scholarships the person(s) designated by each Australian University to submit student nominations and receive Program updates.
New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program the program of that name administered by DFAT.
New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship Program has the meaning in Section 1.1.
New Colombo Plan Website https://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/Pages/new-colombo-plan.aspx
PBS Program described within the entity’s Portfolio Budget Statement, PBS programs each link to a single outcome and provide transparency for funding decisions. These high-level PBS programs often comprise a number of lower level, more publicly recognised programs, some of which will be Grant Programs. A PBS Program may have more than one Grant Program associated with it, and each of these may have one or more grant opportunities.
Objectives has the meaning in Section 2.2.  
Permitted Gap has the meaning in Section 5.6.
Personal Information has the same meaning as in the Privacy Act.
Primary Location has the meaning in Section 5.5.2.
Privacy Act the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Private Sector Organisation Australian, global and local commercial enterprises (businesses) and non-profit organisations, ranging from those in the informal sector to large multinational organisations, which are not owned by or under the direct control of a government. This does not include Host Institutions.  
Program the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program.
Regional/Remote a region designated as Regional or Remote by the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).
Scholar a successful Applicant who receives a Scholarship.
Scholarship a scholarship under the NCP Scholarship Program, and includes the relevant Scholarship Benefits provided to the Scholar under the NCP Scholarship Program.
Scholarship Agreement the agreement to be entered into between the Commonwealth and the Scholar prior to the start of the Scholarship Program, in substantially the form of the example provided on the New Colombo Plan Website.
Scholarship Allowance has the meaning in Section 5.8.3(c).
Scholarship Benefits the Travel Allowance, the Establishment Allowance, the Fellows Allowance (if applicable), the Scholarship Allowance, the Tuition Fees (if applicable), the Mental Health Allowance and the Insurance as described in Section 5.8 or any part thereof, and any other financial or other assistance that may be available to a Scholar based on the individual circumstances of a Scholar's Scholarship Program, including as provided by Private Sector Organisations.
Scholarship Program the Study Component, Internship Component, Mentorship activities and Language Training that Applicants propose in their Application (subject to any approved variations under the Scholarship Agreement in accordance with the process in Section 10.2). The duration of the Scholarship Program is the Scholarship Term.
Scholarship Program Completion Date is the date in the Application by which the Scholar is required to complete the Scholarship Program or such other later date in accordance with the Scholarship Agreement.
Scholarship Term the term of a Scholarship Program starting from Commencement and ending on the Scholarship Program Completion Date.
Secondary Location has the meaning in Section 5.5.3.
Selection Criteria the specified principles or standards, against which Applications will be judged and are set out in Section 6.  
Sponsored Scholarship a Scholarship that is sponsored by a Private Sector Organisation for the duration of the Scholarship Program and which may include in-kind benefits provided direct to the Scholars, such as training opportunities.
Study Component an approved course of study at a Host Institution as part of a Scholar’s Scholarship Program that meets the Eligibility Requirements in Section 5.2.
Support Services Organisation a third party provider(s) contracted by the Commonwealth of Australia to manage support services for Scholars or provide other services in relation to the NCP Scholarship Program.
Travel Allowance has the meaning in Section 5.8.3(a).
Tuition Fees the monetary contribution available towards a Scholar's tuition fees for a Study Component and Language Training (if any) as set out in Section 5.8.2.
value with money value with money in this document refers to ‘value with relevant money’ which is a judgement based on the grant proposal representing an efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of public resources and determined from a variety of considerations.
When administering a grant opportunity, an official should consider the relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of each proposal including, but not limited to:
(a) the quality of the project proposal and activities;
(b) fitness for purpose of the proposal in contributing to government objectives;
(c) that the absence of a grant is likely to prevent the grantee and government’s outcomes being achieved; and
(d) the potential grantee’s relevant experience and performance history.

[1] https://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/commonwealth-grants-rules-and-guidelines.pdf.
[2] Alterations and addenda include but are not limited to: corrections to currently published documents, changes to the closing times for applications, Questions and Answers (Q&A) documents and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents.
[3] See glossary for an explanation of ‘value with money’.
[4] https://www.ato.gov.au/.
[5] Relevant money is defined in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 ('PGPA Act'). See section 8, Dictionary.
[6]Other CRF money is defined in the PGPA Act. See section 105, Rules in relation to other CRF money.



Last Updated: 20 August 2019