Special Studies Program (SSP)

A Special studies program (SSP) is a period of release from normal duties to engage in research or other scholarly work or to undertake a project related to teaching or to academic administration. SSP is recognised as a key mechanism for attracting, retaining and developing academic staff.
Eligibility is granted at the discretion of the Dean of the faculty, however it is normally available to research active academics who have been at the University for at least 3 years, and is normally for a 6 month period, but may be granted for shorter or longer periods (of up to 12 months) where an appropriate case is made.

Although the Dean is the approving authority for SSP applications, the application is forwarded through the Head of School, and as such you should ensure that the following criteria have been addressed:
  • The project should highlight both the benefits to the individual and the University
  • The location of the proposed SSP should be relevant and beneficial to the activity (not just brief visits to a number of places)
  • Demonstrate the pursuit of research, scholarly work, or the development of teaching and learning skills
  • Activities which are likely to result in publications, to attract grants from outside sources for research, or to involve outside professional bodies
  • Sufficient detail to enable an academic assessment of it to be made, including the choice of place or places where it is intended to pursue the SSP
  • Alignment with UNSW values

Issues which you also need to be aware of/and manage in relation to SSPs:
  • Writing up research results is not in itself sufficient justification for an SSP
  • Approval will only be granted where the teaching program can be carried on without serious disruption and without additional cost.
  • Satisfactory arrangements must be made for the continuity of supervision of higher degree students during the period of the SSP.
  • Approval of SSP may be conditional upon the academic reducing their leave accruals.
  • Any financial assistance is determined by the budget unit head.
  • A condition of the SSP is that the academic normally resumes full normal duties in the University on completion of the SSP and to continue in those duties for a time not less than the period of absence; in default, repayment of salary & allowances received during the period would be made to the faculty on a proportional basis.
  • The academic will be expected to submit a detailed report on the SSP no later than 3 months after completion, and, as Head of School, you will be expected to comment on the report, and especially the extent to which the aims of the SSP have been achieved.
Disability Travel Assistance Fund for Academic Staff with Disabilities

The Disability Travel Assistance Fund for Academic Staff with Disabilities (the Travel Fund) is a fund managed by Human Resources that specifically supports the research activity (including SSP or conference attendance) of academic staff members with disabilities. The Travel Fund provides a financial contribution towards additional travel-related expenses that are necessary to accommodate a disability. For further information please see the Disability Travel Assistance Fund for Academic Staff with Disabilities Procedure

For more details about the SSP, ask your Faculty HR Consultant.

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