HDR end-user engagement reporting


The Australian Government Department of Education (The Department) has introduced a number of changes to reporting requirements for all Higher Education Providers (HEPs) to implement the 2021-22 Budget measure Growing industry internships for research PhD students through the Research Training Program (RTP). Included in the updated reporting requirements are additional data requirements for HDR internships with a research end-user and HDR joint supervision with a research end user. The Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines (Research) were also amended in 2021 to include updated weightings applying to HDR completions in relation to HDR end user engagement in the form of an eligible research internship.  ANU Higher Degree Research (HDR) Candidates are required to report on their own engagement with research end-users. To facilitate this, ANU is collecting HDR end-user engagement in the form of an internship through a bulk collection round in November 2022 which will be followed by individual collections facilitated by a Qualtrics online form. The collection of HDR end-user engagement through joint supervision with a research end user will be collected separately through the existing process to set up or update a candidate's supervisory panel.  


Introduced by the former Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), HDR Research end-user engagement reporting requirements commenced in 2018.  These changes were introduced in response to the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) Review of Australia's Research Training System, and also to support the new Research Block Grant funding arrangements for universities. The ACOLA review found that there was a strong need to support and increase engagement between the research training taking place within universities, and research-end users such as governments, businesses, and communities. ANU commenced biannual collection rounds in 2018 to facilitate the reporting and as additional changes have been announced just prior to 2022 our collections are also being updated to reflect the changes. Data collected by Higher Education providers is reported to the Department of Education through the Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI). TCSI is a framework for the collection of data from higher education providers which is used to inform policy and programs, produce publications, and assist Services Australia with the administration of student payments. Student data is collected under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, the VET Student Loans Act 2016 and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011.

Important terms

The Department has provided a set of definitions for different types of external engagement activities. There are currently two components that must be reported on:

  • Research internships with a research end-user
  • Joint supervision by a research end-user

What is a 'research end-user'?

A research end-user is defined as an individual, community or organisation outside of academia that will directly use or benefit from the output, outcome or results of the research. This may include businesses, governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), communities and community organisations.

Research end-users are not:

  • Other higher education providers (HEPs) e.g. universities)
  • Organisations that are affiliates, controlled entities or subsidiaries (such as Research Institutes) of a HEP
  • Equivalents (international or domestic) of the above exclusions.

Research internship

Research internship is defined as a position with a research end user where a student has undertaken research and development (R&D) related to their higher degree by research (HDR). A research internship can be either paid or unpaid, and can form part of an enrolment or be undertaken during a HDR period of suspension.  Research visits to other universities or institutes are not considered research internships.  Examples of a Research internship are below.

  • Note HEPs are required to report on all research internships (eligible or not) and are now required to provide additional data in order to determine if any of the research internships are considered to be an 'eligible research internship' as defined by the Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines Amendment (Research) 2021 

Jointly supervised by a research end-user

Jointly supervised by a research end-user is defined as an HDR student that has at least two HDR supervisors, with at least one supervisor from a research end user organisation. The supervision arrangements must be endorsed by the HDR student's HEP and the research end-user supervisor must be actively engaged in the student's HDR.

Collection of Data

This data collection exercise will enable ANU to provide the data required by the Department but also to identify existing relationships with research end-users and look to ways ANU can better identify and support external engagement opportunities for HDR Candidates. This collection exercise complies with the ANU Privacy Policy and The Privacy Act 1988. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section below for more information on data collection and management.

For further information please see the TCSI HDR end-user engagement webpage. Note definitions can be found through Glossary links.

Past Collections

Collection 1 - 2018: Census period 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2018

This was the first data collection for the HDR research end-user indicator and was collected by individual ANU Colleges and Schools in February to March 2018 through a combination of forms (PDF and Qualtrics) facilitated by the ANU Planning & Performance Measurement (PPM) Division on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). Indicator data was reported to the DESE on 31 May 2018.

Collection 2 - 2018: Census period 1 April 2018 to 31 August 2018

The second data collection round utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by PPM Division on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). Access to the form was via an email link. The email was sent to all current HDR Candidates on 1 August 2018 from ANU_ODHDR noreply@qemailserver.com. The form was available to be completed online until 7 September 2018. All HDR Candidates were required to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to the DESE on 31 October 2018.

Collection 1 - 2019: Census period 1 September 2018 to 31 March 2019

Collection 1 - 2019 utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by the Graduate Research Office (GRO) on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research).  An invitation email was sent to all HDR Candidates on the 25 March 2019 from ANU_GRO noreply@qemailserver.com. The form was available to be completed online until 15 April 2019. All HDR Candidates were required to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to DESE on 31 May 2019.

Collection 2 - 2019: Census period 1 April 2019 to 31 August 2019

Collection 2 - 2019 utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by the GRO on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research).  An invitation email was sent to all HDR Candidates on the 5 August 2019 from ANU_GRO noreply@qemailserver.com. The form was available to be completed online until 6 September 2019. All HDR Candidates were required to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to DESE on 31 October 2019.

Collection 1 - 2020: Census period 1 September 2019 to 31 March 2020

Collection 1 - 2020 utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by the GRO on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). An invitation email was sent to all HDR Candidates on the 16 March 2020 from ANU Graduate Research Office noreply@qemailserver.com. The form was available to be completed online until 17 April 2020. All HDR Candidates were required to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to DESE on 31 May 2020.

Collection 2 - 2020: Census period 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020

Collection 2 - 2020 utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by the GRO on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). An invitation email was sent to all HDR Candidates on the 10 August 2020 from ANU Graduate Research Office noreply@qemailserver.com. The form was available to be completed online until 11 September 2020. All HDR Candidates were required to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to DESE on 31 October 2020.

Collection 1 - 2021: Census period 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021

Collection 1 - 2021 utilised a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by GRO on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). An invitation email was sent to all HDR Candidates on the 7 June 2021 from ANU Graduate Research Office gro@surveys.anu.edu.au. The form was available to be completed online until 2 July 2021. All HDR Candidates were asked to complete the form. Indicator data was reported to DESE on 2 August 2021.

Current Collection

Bulk Collection - 2022

Target cohorts: All HDR candidates that completed their program in 2022, or as of 9.11.22 are approved to complete, or are currently under examination.  

The current collection round utilises a central Qualtrics online form facilitated by GRO on behalf of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research). An invitation email will be sent to all HDR Candidates on the 17 November 2022 from ANU Graduate Research Office gro@.anu.edu.au. If you cannot see the email in your ANU email inbox on 17 November 2022, please check your junk or spam folder. The form will be available to complete online until close of business on 1 December 2022. Further details on this collection round are contained within the FAQs section below. Indicator data will be reported to the Department by 31 January 2023.

Examples and further details

Research internships

The following are examples of research internships with a research end-user:

  • a Parliamentary Fellowship Program (organised in a joint partnership with an international NGO)
  • a secondment to an Australian Government Office to assist with creation of an intergenerational dataset
  • Working in the Parliamentary Library (on a Summer research scholarship)
  • Working in the Research Centre of an NGO.

Joint Supervision with a research end-user

  • An external supervisor that is approved to be on a candidate's supervisory panel who comes from a government research agency, or a non-governmental organisation that undertakes research. 
  • 'Actively engaged' can be interpreted as those formally approved by the HEP as part of the supervisory team or panel.
  • In this type of engagement a research end-user is any individual from the industry partner, including private, government, not-for-profit or community groups excluding staff in affiliated research institutes and adjuncts. 
  • Mentors and external supervisors for whom there is no direct benefit and/or are not formally on the supervisory panel are considered out of scope.
  • Example: Publication of research findings with industry/external co-author who was also the candidate's supervisor 
  • Example: Candidate actively supervised by an external/industry supervisor (ie member of the panel)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Who should complete this research end-user reporting requirement?

A: All ANU HDR Candidates that are identified as part of the current bulk or individual collections. This includes HDR Candidates who are enrolled, on leave for part of this collection period, under examination, undertaking corrections, awaiting approval or conferral of a HDR award, or are approved or awarded (e.g. recent alumni).

Q: Should I complete the form even if I haven't undertaken any research end-user engagement during my program or in this reporting period?

A: Yes you should still complete the form and confirm that you have not undertaken any of the engagement activities. Once you have answered a few quick questions, you will then be directed to the declaration page for your sign off.

Q: Who will have access to the information submitted and where will it be stored?

A: The information you provide will be stored within the ANU Student Administration System (SAS) and will be accessible to ANU staff members with appropriate access and utilised for reporting and statistical purposes in accordance with the ANU Privacy Policy and the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Information will also be reported to the Department through mandatory student reporting on research end-user indicator codes via TCSI. If you have an inquiry about the storage or use of your personal information at ANU you can contact privacy@anu.edu.au.


Q: What should be completed by HDR Candidates?

A: An online form with questions relating to your engagement with research end-users.

Q What connections do I need to access and complete the form?

A: You will need an Internet connection at all times whilst filling in the form as the software (i.e. Qualtrics) used to deploy the form is web based.

Q: What operating systems are compatible with the form?

A: The software used to deploy the form (i.e Qualtrics) is compatible with all operating systems.

Q: What devices can be used to complete the form?

A: The form can be filled in using a desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone or tablet device with an Internet connection.

Q: What is the recommended Web browser to complete the form in?

A: To ensure the forms functionality remains operational please ensure that you only use one of the following browsers: Google Chrome (preferred), Safari, or Firefox. Please do not complete the form utilising Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge as some functionality within the Qualtrics form is not compatible with those two browsers.

Q: What is a general example of research end user engagement?

A: An experience or activity where you have undertaken a paid or unpaid internship, or joint-supervision arrangement where your research will benefit a research end-user organisation via intellectual property or commercial gain.

Q: What kind of information should I fill in?

A: Some examples are: The dates and details of the organisation where you have done a paid or unpaid research internship and providing a copy of your signed internship agreement.

Q: What if I did not receive the email with the link to the form?

A: First check your ANU email and then check spam or junk folders. If you still cannot locate the email please contact the support team via gro@anu.edu.au, remembering to include your student ID number. Do not use a link that was sent to someone else as links can be unique and tied to an individual depending on the collection.

Q: What information should I have ready before I start to complete the form?

A: Before completing the form you should think about any research end-user engagement internship activities you have completed during your candidature e.g. have you engaged in an internship with a research end-user organisation? If so, have ready at hand the dates of the internship, the name and contact details of the organisation, the number of full-time equivalent days of engagement or hours per week. Also have ready a copy of any agreements for your internship including any initial agreements (can be via email or a document) and any final signed agreements. An agreement needs to be either between the candidate and internship organisation (or representative) or the ANU and the internship organisation (or representative).  

Q: What if I don't know an answer to one or more of the questions in the form? What if I get to the declaration page but I am not ready to submit?

A: The form will not automatically save your responses as you progress through the form. You can move forwards and backwards throughout the form and come back to a question at a later point in time if you do not know the answer at the time. 

Q: What if the engagement activity is one that I have already reported in previous research end-user engagement data collection that has not changed?

A: Regardless of any information you may have provided in any previous collection round/s you will need to complete this information in the current collection as the requirements and therefore the questions have changed. 

Q: What engagement and involvement will there be with HDR Candidates supervisors? Will supervisors be able to participate in the End User data collection process?

A: Currently the data collection on HDR research engagement in relation to internships is targeted at HDR Candidates and will not involve your supervisor.  

Q: What if I have more than three internship engagement activities to report?

A: The form is limited to capturing up to three engagement activities. If you have more than three internships to report, please submit the form with three internships and the open up the form again and complete the form again from the beginning with any additional internships. Please note the internship dates must not overlap between one internship and another. 

Q: What does E593 mean?

A: It is the code used by the Department to record data provided by HEPs on HDR end-user engagement.


Q: How should I complete this requirement?

A: Click on the link provided in the email. Please note when opening the link please ensure you use one of the preferred internet browsers (Google Chrome, Safari or Firefox). It will open up a Qualtrics form where you will be asked some questions. The form is dynamic so that the questions will change depending on your initial answer. If you have not undertaken any engagement activities it will take you directly to the end of the form. If you have one or more engagement activities to report it will enable you to enter the details before submitting. 

Q: How do I go back to the previous page within the form?

A: Within the Qualtrics form there will be a Forward button for you to progress through the form and a Back button to go back to the previous question to edit your answers. Please note that once you click on the Forward button on the 'Declaration' screen your form will be completed/submitted and thus you will be unable to go back to previous screens to modify your answers.

Q: How do I save my progress within the form?

A: The form automatically saves your progress upon clicking the Forward button. If you plan on exiting the form or returning to it at a later time without submitting the form, you will not be available to return to the form with any prefilled information. Please have all your information ready and plan to complete the form in one sitting. If you can't submit the form at the time then you will need to redo the form from the beginning at another time.  

Q: How do I return to a partially completed (or incomplete) form?

A: Unfortunately there is no functionality to do this with the current collection.

Q: How do I change answers that I have already inputted to the form?

You can change your answers so long as you have not already submitted the form. To change your answers just click on the Back button to move back through the form and then you can select different options or update your answers.

Q: How can I ensure that I have completed or submitted the form when there is no "submit" button?

A: Once you have completed the questions on the declaration page, all you need to do is to click on the Forward button to submit the form. A final screen will appear that confirms you have completed and submitted the form. Note this final page also includes a summary of your responses, and a link to download those responses as a PDF.

Q: How will future research HDR Candidates be advised of the End-User Engagement data collection? Will it form part of the centralised HDR induction process?

A: We hope to incorporate information on the collection in future induction resources and on HDR webpages. Note the aim is to eventually imbed the collection of this information into existing business processes whereever possible and new business processes for the remaining elements.


Q: When should I do this?

A: By 1.12.22 for the current bulk collection. For individual collections please complete the form within 2 weeks from the request email. 

Q: How frequent is the HDR research end-user engagement collection undertaken and when is this data reported back to the DESE?

A: Each HEP is required to report this data by the completion date of each candidate effective from the 1.1.23 for 2022 completions. 


Q: Where can I access the form?

A: You can only access the form through the email link that was sent to you individually. Please do not forward your link to someone else or access the form through a link that another person may have sent to you as the links for a collection maybe unique, and linked to you as an individual.


Q: Why do I need to provide this information?

A: The DESE from 2018 has introduced additional reporting elements for all Australian HEPs to report on their HDR Candidates Research End User engagement each census period. As this is mandatory for the ANU to report on to the Government, it follows that HDR Candidates should provide the information on their engagement to the University.

Q: Why is the Australian Government collecting this information?

A: The new HDR indicators, including the research end-user engagement indicators, are part of a wider plan to improve student data collections to meet recommendations made to Government. The improved data will be used to improve monitoring of the research training system, to inform national research training funding policy and to provide a robust national data set for universities to improve their research training programs. New indicators are particularly important to support monitoring and evaluation of the recent program changes including the impact of recent changes on incentives for universities.

On 7 December 2015, the Australian Government announced new Research Block Grant (RBG) funding arrangements for HEPs as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). These arrangements combined existing RBGs into two programs, the Research Support Program (RSP) and the Research Training Program (RTP). These policy innovations were in direct response to the Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements, led by Dr Ian Watt (Watt Review) and are designed to drive greater research-industry collaboration by increasing incentives for success in industry and other end-user engagement. In addition, improvements to program guidelines were made in response to recommendations of the Review of Australia's Research Training System undertaken by the ACOLA Review.

The need for better data and information on Australia's HDR training system itself was a common thread across the different areas of the ACOLA Review. Poor data on the performance of the HDR training system makes it difficult to understand what return is generated from Australian Government investment of more than $1 billion annually and how best to go about improving the system.

In the RBG consultation paper on new block grant arrangements released in May 2016, the DESE flagged its intention to improve income and student data collections to meet recommendations of both the Watt and ACOLA reviews. DESE released a further consultation paper on new research block grant data requirements in January 2017. This paper sought feedback from the higher education sector on detailed implementation options for each of the proposed changes. DESE received strong support for the new HDR research end-user engagement indicator through both of these consultation processes.

For further current information please see the implementation paper

Q: Why is ANU collecting this information?

A: ANU is collecting the information for the main purpose of reporting the information to the  Department of Education. In addition to mandatory reporting purposes, we are also collecting additional information on engagement activities to ensure that the data collection is as useful as possible for the University. We plan to also use the information for internal reporting purposes, for statistical purposes, to monitor the depth and breadth of our research end-­user engagement, to inform committees and working parties on Industry engagement, to inform the development of policies, to enable further engagement with research end-users, to improve administrative procedures, and other purposes that are still yet to be identified or determined.

Research end user definition?

Q: My research involves NGOs overseas, do I need to include this information?

A: Yes, if your research requires the involvement of an organisation that can be categorised as a business, government, non-governmental organisation, community and community organisation, regardless of whether they are in Australia or overseas, this information should be included. However, if the organisation is a HEP, or an affiliate, controlled entity or subsidiary of a HEP, such as a Medical Research Institute, this organisation is not considered a research end-user, therefore you do not need to include this information.


Q: Does a research internship require a formal agreement between the student and the research end-user?

A: Yes, a research internship would generally require a formal agreement between a student and research end-user in order to justify that the student was engaged in a 'position' at the research end-user organisation.

Q: Does the position or agreement need to be named or called an internship?

A: It does not need to be called an 'internship', it just needs to comply with the definition.

Q: How do I determine if my volunteer employment, paid employment or other informal work arrangement with a research end-user should be recorded as an Internship activity?

A: It could be any of these arrangements so long as it complies with the definition.


Q: Is CSIRO or Data 61 considered to be an affiliate of ANU?

A: No. As the CSIRO is a publically funded research agency (PFRA), it would not be considered as an affiliate/controlled entity/subsidiary organisation, and could therefore be a research end-user if it was directly benefiting from an HDR student's research. Data 61 is a sub-entity of the CSIRO, so similar arrangements would apply.



Q: I need further help or advice who can I contact?

A: After reading the information on this page, if you require further advice or technical support please contact GRO via an email to gro@anu.edu.au or by a phone call to +61 2 6125 5777. Note: you may also seek advice from your College or School HDR administrators or HDR convenors/supervisory panel members around your engagement activities.