Call for joint PhD projects: The Jülich-University of Melbourne Postgraduate Academy (JUMPA)

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We are currently calling on researchers and academics to propose joint PhD projects as part of an expanded JUMPA cohort. Both new prospective supervisors and past recipients of JUMPA funding are welcome to apply.

The Jülich-University of Melbourne Postgraduate Academy (JUMPA) was established in 2018 by the University of Melbourne (UoM) and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) as a joint research training program, offering candidates a global research experience across a range of the natural, applied and human sciences.

Candidates recruited to the program conduct their research at Melbourne and Jülich, with joint enrolment at UoM and at one of FZJ’s affiliated universities: RWTH Aachen University, the University of Wuppertal, the University of Bonn, the University of Cologne, and HHU Düsseldorf. Joint PhD candidates are enrolled at both institutions, perform their research under joint supervision, and are graded according to the academic standards of both institutions. Upon successful completion of the program, each candidate will be eligible to receive a joint PhD, recognised by two testamurs.

All candidates recruited to the program must meet the minimum eligibility requirements to successfully enrol in the relevant PhD course at UoM and at the affiliated FZJ institution.

UoM and FZJ are inviting joint PhD project proposals from new and established collaborations to expand the JUMPA program and offer new opportunities to candidates. Up to 12 joint PhD proposals will be supported across six pairs of Principal Investigators (PIs). Each of these PI pairs will receive funding to support two PhD candidates, including tuition fee waivers, a living allowance, travel allowance, and health insurance.

Proposals are welcome from all research areas, with priority given to projects in the following areas:

  • Information, e.g. data science, quantum computing and technologies, machine learning, biological information processing, neuroscience, neural networks and brain development.
  • Bioeconomy, e.g. global food and water security/sustainability, green agriculture, drought resilience, plant diseases.
  • Energy, e.g. energy transition, clean fuels (including hydrogen and zero emissions), transport, water modelling and resourcing.

Projects combining these priority areas are welcome, such as topics on bioinformatics, climate and energy simulation, and climate change.

Eligibility criteria

The supervisory team must comprise at least two Principal Investigators (PIs), one from UoM and one from FZJ. The PIs must have the capacity to serve as primary supervisors for two jointly enrolled PhD candidates.

Previous recipients of JUMPA funding are eligible to apply as part of this call but are required to present a substantially new collaboration.

UoM requirements

UoM academics must be registered to supervise as per the Supervisor Eligibility and Registration Policy. Primary supervisors should be employed at UoM beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2027). If their employment contract does not extend beyond the submission date, then alternative arrangements must be in place, by either having:

  • A named co-supervisor at Melbourne beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2027); or
  • A letter of support from the respective Head of Department/Head of School detailing the arrangements in place to ensure continuity of supervision.

For more information, including forms for supervisor registration, please consult the information for supervisors section on the Graduate Research Hub.

Honorary employees whose primary academic affiliation is the University of Melbourne are eligible to lead an application as a PI if they are a registered Principal Supervisor at Melbourne, and either:

  • Their primary employer has entered into a written agreement for this call to fund the Melbourne cash component of the collaborative activity; or
  • They participate at their own expense if they are otherwise unaffiliated (for example, they hold an emeritus position).

FZJ requirements

Primary supervisors should be employed at FZJ beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2027). If their employment contract does not extend beyond the submission date, then alternative arrangements must be in place, by either having:

  • A named co-supervisor at FZJ beyond the envisaged submission date of their PhD candidates (2027); or
  • A letter of support from the respective Head of Institute detailing the arrangements in place to ensure continuity of supervision.

Additional notes for all applicants

Additional colleagues (including other partners in Australia, Germany, or internationally) are not eligible to apply as primary supervisors, although they can participate in the co-supervision of joint PhD candidates.

Adherence to respective equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies are a core feature of this program to ensure that all participants can do their best work, thrive and succeed. Applicant teams should consider how they could take meaningful steps in their future collaborations to foster an environment that values, supports and respects a diverse range of views, knowledge and experiences. Applicants should consider EDI as it applies to gender, indigenous peoples, disabilities, career stages and sectors.

Applications that do not satisfy these criteria will not be eligible.

Project structure

Up to six (6) proposals will be funded in total, with each proposal supporting two (2) joint PhD candidates. In each pair, one candidate will have UoM as their Home Institution, and the other will have FZJ as their Home Institution (enrolled at the affiliated university). The Home Institution is where the candidate spends most of their research time, where they receive their scholarship from and is likely to commence and conclude their degree. The Host Institution is where the candidate spends the remainder of their candidature.

Candidates must submit their thesis within three years of commencement (with the possibility of a one-year extension upon application) and spend at least 12 months at each institution (e.g. 12 months in Melbourne and 12 months in Jülich).

Funding

Melbourne overview

Scholarship funding (stipend, tuition fee remission, Overseas Student Health Cover, and relocation allowance) awarded to PIs from UoM Faculties that have participated in JUMPA before (that is, Science; Engineering and IT; and Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences) will be provided by the enrolling Faculty.

Scholarship funding awarded to PIs from UoM Faculties that have not participated in JUMPA before will be provided by Chancellery Research and Enterprise (CRE).

Successful PIs will have access to up to $10,000 for additional activities from the JUMPA operating budget, funded by Chancellery Research and Enterprise (CRE).

FZJ overview

Scholarship funding will be provided by the respective institute. A one-time lump sum of € 7,500 will be supported by the internationalization fund. Successful PIs with third-party funding will have access to additional incentives from the Board of Directors / the internationalization fund.

Reporting and other conditions

Melbourne academics

UoM recipients will be required to provide regular updates on project progress during the candidature of their joint PhD candidates. These updates will be requested quarterly by the International Research Training Group (IRTG) Academic Lead. Recipients who fail to participate in regular reporting mechanisms for this IRTG may be found ineligible for participation in future Researcher Development Schemes.

FZJ academics

FZJ recipients will be required to provide regular updates on project progress during the candidature of their joint PhD candidates. An interim report and a final report are requested from the Department of National and International Relationships (UE-B). Recipients who fail to participate in reporting mechanisms may be found ineligible for participation in future JUMPA programs.

Proposal Outline

Before preparing a proposal, please note the following about the structure of the program:

  • Each pair of PIs should submit one proposal that outlines two PhD projects intended for two joint PhD candidates. These projects can be on a similar research topic or theme, but the candidates cannot rely on each other’s results or completed thesis material to progress in their candidature.
  • Joint PhD projects must be designed to be completed within a maximum of four years candidature (ideally within 3 years + 1 additional year upon extension request).
  • One project must be for a UoM home candidate and the other for an FZJ home candidate. Candidates must spend at least 12 months of their candidature at each institution.
  • Priority will be given to applications that fall within the priority areas for this call.

The proposal should consist of the following, and be no longer than four (4) pages (excluding the cover sheet, CVs, and endorsements):

  • A cover sheet (provided) including the details of the two PIS, along with a one-page CV.
  • An overview of two joint PhD projects (maximum 2 pages):
  • Noting which university will be the Home Institution for the project.
  • Providing a timeline for where and when the different research components will take place at each institution.
  • Including an abstract, written in plain language, for candidate recruitment if the project is successful.
  • A response to the selection criteria outlined under the heading “Evaluation of Proposals” (maximum 2 pages total).
  • Endorsement of UoM applicant (via email or letter) from the relevant UoM Head of School/Department and the Faculty’s Associate Dean (Graduate Research).
  • Endorsement of FZJ applicant from the relevant FZJ Institute Director, stating their financial commitment to the support.

Evaluation of proposals

The proposals will be ranked in order of meeting the selection criteria. UoM and FZJ will select up to six (6) proposals (equivalent to 12 joint PhD projects) for funding.

The following selection criteria apply:

  • Collaborator complementarity and project impact: What is the evidence of an existing research relationship, or added value of a new collaboration? How does the collaboration combine mutual areas of interest and strength? How does the collaboration build research capacity at both institutions?
  • Quality of supervision: How will the PIs work together effectively in jointly supervising their shared PhD candidates? What are the beneficial learning outcomes and experiences for the joint PhD candidates? Have the PIs accounted for any challenges that may arise when supervising a joint PhD candidate?
  • Project design and rationale: How clearly presented and justified is the basis for, and design of, the joint PhD project? Does the project address any of the call’s priority areas? What are the anticipated benefits of involving joint PhD researchers in the collaboration? How will the candidate benefit from participating in the program, and what is the benefit of each candidate spending a minimum of 12 months at each institution?
  • Capacity for expanded collaboration: What is the extent of the planned collaboration between the PIs beyond joint supervision? How well does the proposal plan leverage external funding? To what extent are future collaborations made possible as a result of the proposed activities? How could this project seed the development of a larger network of researchers?

Whether a PI has participated in the JUMPA program previously is not a weighted selection criterion but will be used as a point of difference. Previous JUMPA participants must present a substantially new collaboration in their proposal.

Key dates

Call for joint PhD project proposals opens

February 2022

Call for proposals closes

20 April 2022

Outcome notifications and projects advertised for joint recruitment

May 2022

Recruited joint PhD candidates commence

By end of December 2022 (FZJ-based) and by end of March 2023 (UoM-based) at the latest

PIs must successfully recruit two candidates as per the timelines above. If the PIs do not meet this deadline, the scholarship and mobility funding will be recalled.

Submission procedure

A single, jointly prepared application in English should be submitted via email to jointphdadmin@unimelb.edu.au with the subject line “JUMPA joint PhD project proposal submission” by 5 PM AEDT on 20 April 2022.


The application should be no longer than four (4) pages (excluding the cover sheet, CVs, and
endorsements), consisting of:

  • A cover sheet (refer to appendix) including the details of the two PIS, along with a one-page CV.
  • An overview of two joint PhD projects (maximum 2 pages):- Noting which university will be the Home Institution for the project.- Providing a timeline for where and when the different research components will take place at each institution.- Including an abstract, written in plain language, for candidate recruitment if the project is successful.
  • A response to the selection criteria outlined under the heading “Evaluation of Proposals”(maximum 2 pages total).Endorsement of UoM applicant (via email or letter) from the relevant UoM Head ofSchool/Department and the Faculty’s Associate Dean (Graduate Research).Endorsement of FZJ applicant from the relevant FZJ Institute Director, stating their financial commitment to the support.

It is recommended that applications are written in lay terms for reviewers to better understand the project's potential impact and its anticipated outcomes.

Contacts

UoM applicants

Petra Van Nieuwenhoven and Clare Flynn

International Research Training Group (IRTG) Coordinators

The University of Melbourne  jointphd-admin@unimelb.edu.au

FJZ applicants

Dr. Hyunji Park (hj.park@fz-juelich.de) for further questions on the part of FZJ. If necessary, match-making meetings could be organised for PIs who need to find a partner from FZJ. Please contact Dr. Park to express your interest.

Appendix

Cover Sheet

Click here to download the cover sheet required to submit your project proposal.

Webpage PDF

Click here to download a PDF version of the contents on this webpage.

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