Our Scholarship Program

Data61 CSIRO offers PhD stipend and top-up scholarships to domestic and international applicants working on co-supervised data-driven research projects.

We support students to undertake data science research in Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Business and Psychology domains across fields such as optimisation, financial risk, privacy and information security, decision sciences, human computer interaction, robotics, distributed systems, analytics and machine learning, imaging and computer vision, computational modelling, biological data science, data-driven cities, software systems and more. Find out about the full extent of Data61's research.

Students are co-supervised by researchers in Data61 and academics from one of our partner universities.


Due to COVID-19 situation, our scholarship rounds for 2020 are currently on hold. Please visit this site regularly for further updates on when we open the applications.

  • Before you apply

    We’re looking for the best and brightest.

    • Applicants must have top marks.
    • Applicants must demonstrate research potential through prior research experience, such as completing an Honours or Masters project and/or real world experience in labs and research institutes.
    • Applicants must have a Data61 supervisor supporting their proposed research project as aligned with research group or program’s strategy.

    If this sounds like you, read on to check if you’re eligible. If you do not have the support of a Data61 supervisor yet, read on.

  • Am I eligible?

    Scholarships are open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and international applicants.

    To be eligible for assessment you need to:

    • Meet our academic standards by holding a bachelor’s degree with a First Class Honours or an equivalent degree.
    • Have applied for admission, or are already enrolled, in a full-time PhD program at one of our partner universities and applied for any university scholarships that you are eligible for at the same time.
    • Have support from a Data61 supervisor for your research proposal and to apply.
    • Have two referee provide referee reports. There is further information about referee reports below.
    • Be free to assign the intellectual property developed within the PhD project to Data61.

    Applicants who are already enrolled in a PhD program and working on an existing project, need to make sure that their project intellectual property is not already assigned. Please check with your supervisor and/or university.

    International students note that Data61 scholarships do not cover university tuition fees. You should apply for a tuition fee waiver/scholarship at your university.

    You are not eligible where:

    • You hold a PhD already.
    • You will be studying part-time.
    • Project intellectual property cannot be assigned to Data61. In this circumstance, you will be considered ineligible and forfeit for Data61 scholarships.
  • How do I find a Data61 supervisor?

    There are number of ways to find a Data61 supervisor.

    • Some Data61 research groups and teams advertise PhD projects. Please check our research areas.
    • Your university supervisor may already have contacts in Data61 or have a research collaboration in place.
    • You can make contact with a Data61 research staff directly to see if they are interested in supervision.
    • You should provide your CV, academic transcripts and an indication of your proposed research.

    Please look at our research areas or go to CSIRO People and search Data61 and your field of interest.

    • You may then contact us to discuss your field of interest.

    It is important that your Data61 supervisor is familiar with your academic background and research skills. The Data61 supervisor should make a time to conduct an interview with you, either in person or by video call. They will need to see your CV, academic transcripts and research proposal.

    The Data61 supervisor cannot be your university supervisor and vice versa. 

  • Preparing application documents

    Submitting a scholarship application can take quite a lot of preparation. Start preparing your application as early as possible and submit your application as early as you can before the closing date.

    • You will need to provide a CV, research proposal, academic transcripts, proof of contact with your nominated Data61 supervisor and any other additional information when you apply.
    • You will need to request two referees to submit referee reports on the Data61 referee report template (see below).

    Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    Your CV provides an overview of your educational and employment history and your skills. You should include:

    Educational history

    List all degrees studied in your educational history, indicating the name of the degree, university, years studied and GPA if known. If you completed a thesis as part of your degree, provide its title, the mark and list your supervisor/s.

    Employment history

    List your employer, your role, duration of employment, duties and achievements.


    List any awards received throughout your tertiary study or employment.


    Provide a list of publications that have been accepted or published. Do not list publications that are submitted. Do not attach publications/papers to your application. 

    Other information

    You may provide other information in the CV that you think is relevant to your assessment, for example, information about research interests, research project experience, or key skills such as coding. 

    Research Proposal

    You must provide a research proposal that is a maximum of 3 pages long, which explains the problem, its significance, expected outcomes, alignment to Data61’s research and the research plan. Avoid buzzwords and jargon and make sure your proposal can be easily understood.

    Please use the template for your research proposal.

    Note: Research proposals that are not presented using the template provided may not be assessed.

    Academic Transcripts

    Provide official transcripts for all university studies as pdf documents, including degrees not completed or abandoned. Provide translated documents where transcripts are in a language other than English. Ensure scans are legible.

    • Do not provide transcripts from high school.
    • Do not provide testamurs/degree certificates.
    • Do not provide award certificates.

    Proof of contact with supervisors

    Written agreement from the Data61 researcher to supervise your PhD project. This can be in the form of an email confirming the supervisor supports you to apply.

    Additional Documents


    Do not provide evidence of awards, for example certificates. All awards should be listed in the CV.


    If you have publications, you may provide a list of all publications in your CV, in order of most current to beyond. Provide a web link to view publications and do not attach publications/papers.

    Do not attach your Masters or Honours thesis.

  • Referee Reports

    Applications must be supported by two referee reports. Referees are usually academic or industry supervisors. Referees must complete the Data61 referee report template.

    Referee reports will comment on your ability to undertake in-depth research. Referee reports are carefully assessed with your application.

    Select referees who are familiar with you and who have closely supervised your research or studies. Choose referees who can take time and care to write a highly commended report. Referees need to be able to comment on your research capability, your knowledge of the discipline, your ability to express ideas, to plan and implement research, and to meet research outcomes.

    You will need to fill in part of the Data61 referee report template and send it your referee, and inform them of what is required.

    Check deadlines for when referee reports are due. Applications without two referee reports received by the due date will not be considered.

  • University admission

    Applicants should apply for university admission prior to applying for the Data61 scholarship. In some cases, we may need information from the university before we can assess your application.

    International applicants should be aware of the time it takes for a student visa grant and apply in a scholarship round appropriate to their intended start date. For offshore international applicants we recommend an expected commencement date that is at least six months after the date that outcomes are announced. Please apply to the appropriate scholarship round as there are limits on deferring the commencement of your scholarship.

  • How will my application be assessed?

    Applications are assessed to ensure candidates meet the academic and research standards and to ensure alignment to Data61 research areas. The assessment criteria are:

    • Academic merit
    • Research potential
    • Alignment to research program’s strategy.

    Scholarship committees assess applications through a competitive assessment process. Members of the scholarships committee are top scientists and academics within Data61. Applicants should ensure that all information conveyed in their application can be understood by someone within and outside their subdiscipline.

    First class Honours equivalency may be determined by the Data61 Scholarship Committee, taking into account:

    • Completion of a research project and its grade
    • Quality of publications (if any), including the percentage the candidate has contributed to a publication
    • Work experience in a field relevant to the research (if any)
    • Other degrees with a strong research component (if any).
  • What happens after assessment?

    All applicants will be informed of the outcome by the advertised dates.

    Successful applicants will be advised of the next steps to receiving a scholarship offer.

  • Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement

    Successful applicants will receive a scholarship offer with the Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement (SSA).

    The agreement is a three-way contract between Data61 CSIRO, the student and the university and must be signed by all parties to accept the award. The agreement provides the legal framework for intellectual property (IP) assignment, publications, copyright and confidentiality matters that may affect the student, the university and/or Data61. In situations where all parties cannot agree to the terms in the Data61 Student Scholarship Agreement, the award will be forfeited.

    Under the Data61 student scholarship agreement, ownership of intellectual property developed during the course of the research project is transferred to Data61. In return, students may be eligible to share in certain commercial benefits derived from the development of the IP, in accordance with the terms set out in the student scholarship agreement.

  • Deferring the start of scholarship

    Scholarships are advertised to start in a specific semester. Where students are delayed in commencing the scholarship due to visa waiting times or other unavoidable issues, the award will stand for one further semester.

  • What can I expect from Data61?

    We aim to enrich our scholars’ PhD experience with supervision from Data61’s expert scientists and engineers, contributing to the exemplary body of research of our groups and teams. 

    Data61 students must:

    Our aim is to produce top-quality PhD graduates who can go on to shape our nation’s digital future.

  • Can I apply again if I’m unsuccessful?

    Yes. Unsuccessful candidates may reapply for assessment in one further scholarship round (a total of two assessments).

    Applicants who are reapplying after being unsuccessful in a previous Data61 scholarship round must provide an additional document which outlines how the application has changed from the last time and why the applicant should be reconsidered. We will provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants, only if the selection panel recommends the application could be improved for another round of assessment.

Key Dates

You must apply to the scholarship round based on the state or territory your university is located. We encourage applications as early as possible and recommend for international candidates to apply to the earliest round possible for their intended commencement date.


Due to COVID-19 situation, our scholarship rounds for 2020 are currently on hold. Please visit this site regularly for further updates on when we open the applications.


  • What is the value and duration of the scholarship?

    The value of the scholarship will be indicated in the letter of offer and may comprise one of the following:

    1. The Data61 PhD Scholarship which comprises a full stipend set at a rate equivalent to the Research Training Program base rate. The Data61 PhD Scholarship is indexed annually in line with the Australian Government Research Training Program.
    2. The Data61 Top-up Scholarship, which provides additional support to candidates who are in receipt of a government funded, university funded or other third-party funded scholarship. The Data61 Top-up Scholarship is valued at $10,000 per annum.
    3. Both of the above Scholarships.

    The maximum duration of scholarship is 3.5 years from the beginning of PhD candidature. For students who have already enrolled in their PhD, the duration of the scholarship will be reduced by the periods of study already completed.

    The scholarship does not provide relocation reimbursement or allowances to take up study, thesis printing allowances, overseas student health insurance or tuition fees.

    The award does not include funding for conference registration or travel, however, in limited circumstances support may be available to scholarship recipients through Data61 research programs.

  • How will I receive the scholarship payments?

    Scholarships are paid through a candidate’s university. Payments are linked to the continuation of the student candidature.

    Payments will cease at the end of the scholarship’s maximum duration, or earlier upon PhD thesis submission, withdrawal from the PhD program at the university, termination of the student scholarship agreement or in the event the student ceases to meet the eligibility criteria.

  • Can current PhD candidates apply?


    Potential candidates may have already commenced a PhD research program at one of our partner universities.

  • If I have applied for another scholarship, will this preclude me from applying for a Data61 scholarship?

    No. Candidates must apply for other university or government scholarships at the same time as applying for the Data61 scholarship award.

    Candidates who are awarded a university or government base stipend may receive a Data61 top-up scholarship. If at any time a Data61 PhD Scholarship (base stipend) holder receives a secondary award of a value greater than 75% of the Data61 PhD Scholarship rate, the Data61 PhD Scholarship will be suspended for the duration of the secondary scholarship. The Data61 Top-up Scholarship may continue to be held, but will not convert to a full stipend if the base stipend ceases.

  • How many Data61 scholarships are on offer?

    Data61 PhD Scholarships are set on a merit basis and are not awarded based on quota.

  • Will leave allowances apply to these scholarships?

    Yes. Leave entitlements of students who hold Data61 scholarships are unaffected by the award of the Data61 scholarship and students will receive those entitlements in line with the policies of the university of enrolment.

  • What if I need to convert to part time study?

    Scholarship candidates must maintain a full-time study load. Students must inform Data61 if they are intending to change study load and provide a copy of any university approval paperwork.

    Scholarship payments will be suspended when a student converts to a part-time study load. Payments may recommence upon the resumption of full-time study. The scholarship duration will be reduced by the period of part-time study at a rate of one full-time day for every two part-time days.

    In cases of extreme personal circumstances this restriction may be lifted at the discretion of the relevant Scholarship Committee Chair, provided candidates are able to provide appropriate supporting documentation.

  • Will my PhD candidature be assessed at regular intervals?

    Continuation of Data61 scholarship payments is conditional upon maintained satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory engagement with Data61. Progress is monitored through complementary annual scholarship and academic reviews undertaken by the university review panel which will include in its membership the relevant Data61 research program director or delegate.

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