Supervisors and Higher Degree Researchers

UNSW expects all researchers practice responsible research conduct. This aligns with UNSW’s strategic priority A: Academic Excellence.

The Supervisor’s role

Primary Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that HDR candidates understand and meet their obligations under relevant UNSW policies as well as the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Supervisors have a responsibility to their candidates and are expected to provide support and guidance for candidates by:

  • Ensuring new candidates understand that successful completion of the RI module and assessment is a compulsory requirement for confirmation of candidature (see further details below on Online Research Integrity Course)
  • Inviting discussion or clarification in early candidature meetings on RI topics, policies and expectations of all research candidates.
  • Discussing with your candidate whether their research will require ethical and other related approvals and ensure they are in place prior to research commencing.
  • Maintaining an environment that promotes responsible research conduct
  • Discussing “up front” authorship publication strategies and recognition of contributions that are expected to apply to the candidate’s project.
  • Discussing how they plan to collect, store and use the research data and records generated by their research and develop together a Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) to manage their project.
  • Providing any additional faculty or school policy or guidelines pertaining to the conduct of research.
  • Keeping familiar with key policy in order to provide clear guidance to candidates - see related links or click here.  
  • Seeking guidance relating to clarification of policy from key contacts to provide the best possible support to Candidates. 

Online Research Integrity Course 

It is important researchers fully understand what UNSW expects from RI and this course is a must.  Below outlines key information you need to know:

New candidates - automatically enrolled

Candidates are automatically enrolled in the online Research Integrity Moodle course. Candidates are sent an email with a link to their UNSW email address the day after their Postgraduate Induction with further simple instructions. Induction is currently scheduled in April and September each year. 

Candidates commencing at UNSW after the Postgraduate Induction date(s) may also be enrolled later in the semester providing there is sufficient time to complete the module and assessment. Where there is insufficient time to complete the course, candidates are automatically enrolled in the following semester.

Successfully completing the Research Integrity online course, is an expectation for all new HDR candidates.

Research Integrity online course objectives
  • Identifying key research integrity responsibilities of all research candidates
  • Identifying  possible challenges and conflicts with these responsibilities
  • Raising awareness of strategies and support that may be applied in dealing with potential challenges. 
Course structure
  • Short (non-assessable) quiz to provide a simple measure of scope of knowledge
  • Customised interactive discipline based course material
  • Discipline based final multiple choice assessment with 16 questions.
Successfully completing the course

Successfully completing the online course involves candidates achieving an 85% score in the final assessment. This must be achieved within an eight week period with a maximum of two attempts.

Candidates need to successfully complete the online UNSW Research Integrity course prior to their Confirmation Review.

Results of completion are added to a candidates Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS) record at the end of their research qualification, recognising this achievement. 


Progress reporting of HDR course completions is sent to key Faculty and RDU staff. This allows for better tracking and support of HDRs to completion. Should a Supervisor have a specific query about a HDR completing the RI course, please contact the relevant Faculty ADRT.

What happens if a candidate does not complete the online course?

All candidates are expected to complete the Research Integrity course in order to be confirmed at their review. Where candidates do not successfully complete the Research Integrity course within designated timelines and /or within two final assessment attempts, further advice  needs to be sought from the relevant Faculty ADRT and will be managed on a case by case basis.

Advice for Supervisors

Where a Supervisor has questions regarding their supervision responsibilities and/or are uncertain about the application of the UNSW Research Code of Conduct (and any relevant policies and procedures), advice should be sought from:

• Your Supervisor and /or

• Your Faculty Research Integrity Advisor (Staff and students are free to speak with any one of the 9 Advisors across UNSW confidentially) and/or: 

The Graduate Research School; and/or

The Research Integrity Unit.