4

The Australian government pays for the research study fees.

Who will, in such case, have the intellectual property rights for the research: the PhD student or the university?

5

Laws vary and I am neither a lawyer nor Australian. But in general, unless the grant or university rules say otherwise, things you create are (or at least should be) your own. Some universities try to make a claim (various places in the world) and you may have signed away some of your rights previously, but in the absence of that the IP is yours.

Check locally for the correct answer, of course. If the rules seem arbitrary or unfair, you can explore, locally, what it would take to counter them.

  • 1
    I agree. I'll add: any "sign[ing] away" most likely appears in your employment contract, so check that. Also, "rules" is perhaps a bit vague, "law, contract, or similar," is perhaps more appropriate. – user2768 Sep 26 '18 at 14:22
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    Although I don't want to get bogged down in the legal details here, I take a bit of exception to "unless the grant or university rules say otherwise": grant or university rules often say otherwise, and in my experience always say otherwise. – Bryan Krause Sep 26 '18 at 16:13
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    To add to what @BryanKrause (correctly) said, it’s also the law in the United States, and possibly elsewhere, that the rights to any work for hire is owned by the employer. So Buffy, your statement is factually dubious. Even when the grant and university rules say nothing, your work may be owned by your employer as a default legal status. I am not a lawyer btw. – Dan Romik Sep 26 '18 at 20:35
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    @Buffy At least in the US, grants are almost always to the institution, not the individual (not even the PI). The only exception I am aware of are fellowships that are treated as scholarships. Everyone else is employed as an agent of the institution to work on the grant. I also don't know the details of funding in Australia. – Bryan Krause Sep 26 '18 at 20:48
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    Universities could legally argue that faculty papers are their property. They don’t do it because of tradition, not because they lack the legal right. They do in fact regularly exercise that legal ownership right with respect to patents on faculty inventions. Again, I don’t know the answer to OP’s question, which is why I’m not posting an answer, but I do know that your answer includes a statement that is unhelpful at best and outright misleading at worst. – Dan Romik Sep 26 '18 at 23:54

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