The Policy Glossary is a list of terms and their standard definitions for policies, procedures and resources. Unless separately defined in the context of a specific policy document,  the following definitions apply to each document. 

It is expected that the glossary will be built up over time and documents will gradually be converted to incorporate standard definitions as part of the normal review process.

Click on a letter from A to Z below to view Glossary items that begin with the selected letter, or use the scroll bar located on the right hand side of this page to browse the entire list.

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  • Adverse event

    Any adverse event or unexpected incident which affects or impacts a participant’s welfare and/or the ethical acceptability of the project.

  • ARC

    Australian Research Council

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  • Background intellectual property

    Any intellectual property owned by the University that exists at the time new Intellectual Property is created.

  • Biospecimen

    Defined broadly, as any biological material obtained from a person including tissue, blood, urine and sputum; it also includes any derivative of these, such as cell lines.

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    College Human Ethics Advisory Network. Note: RMIT Vietnam Schools and Centres are all aligned to RMIT Australia Colleges.

  • Clinical trial

    Any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes.

  • Co-investigator

    Other investigators (in addition to the Principal Investigator) involved in a research project for which ethics approval is sought. Single or multiple co-investigators can be included on an ethics application and may not necessarily be RMIT staff or students.

  • Commercialisation revenue

    The gross revenue actually received and retained by RMIT from the Commercialisation and Exploitation of specific IP owned by RMIT, after the payment of any withholding, goods and services or other taxes, bank fees, transaction fees and other charges.

    Commercialisation Revenue does not include income received from the provision of research, consultancy or other services

  • Commercialise

    To exploit commercially and includes:

    a) in relation to an IP right; the exercise of all the rights exclusively granted to the holder of such IP rights by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the IP right subsists, including where permitted the right to sub-license those rights

    b) in relation to a product, kit, apparatus, substance, documentation or information resource (or any part of such materials): to make, distribute, market, sell, hire out, lease, supply, or otherwise dispose of it; and

    c) in relation to a method or process: to use the method or process or to make, distribute, market, sell, hire out, lease, supply, or otherwise dispose of a product, kit or apparatus the use of which is proposed or intended to involve the exercise of the method or process.

  • Commonwealth supported student

    A student enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP).

  • Complex characters

    Complexity requires that a password contains a minimum of three (3) of the following complexity options:

    • lowercase alphabetic characters (a–z)
    • uppercase alphabetic characters (A-Z)
    • numeric characters (0-9)
    • special characters (!@#$%^&*)
  • Conflict of interest

    Arises when you act, appear to act, or could act on behalf of someone other than RMIT, and/or have, appear to have, or could have a self-interest from which you obtain, appear to obtain or could obtain some form of benefit, which is, appears to be, or could potentially be adverse to RMIT’s best interests. It includes both financial and non-financial interests.

  • Consent

    (in relation to sexual assault) is agreement which must be freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive ability to do so. Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if a person is:  

    • forced to engage in a sexual act  
    • unconscious or asleep  
    • under the influence of alcohol or drugs  
    • threatened or intimidated 
    • in fear of bodily harm or  
    • under a mistaken belief that the person engaging in the sexual act was their sexual partner. 
  • Contributor

    (in relation to IP) A staff member, affiliate or student who is a creator or is a person that contributed to the creation, development or invention of the relevant IP, as determined in accordance with the relevant process.

  • Course materials

    (in relation to IP) All materials produced in the course of, or for use in, teaching in any form and all IP in such materials including but not limited to lectures, lecture notes and material, syllabi, study guides, assessment materials, images, multi-media presentations, web content, case studies and course software.

  • Coursework human research activity

    Common and clearly defined human research activities that are being undertaken by multiple students in a coursework context (either undergraduate, postgraduate or vocational).

  • Creator

    (in relation to IP) Any of the following:

    a) in the case of a patentable invention subject to the Patents Act 1990 (Cth): the Inventor

    b) in the case of a literary or artistic work or similar subject to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth): the Author

    c) in the case of designs registrable under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth): the Designer

    d) In the case of Plant Breeders Rights, under the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act 1994 (Cth): the Principal Breeder

    e) in the case of circuit layouts, under the Circuits Layouts Act 1989 (Cth), the Designer

  • Cultural responsibility

    A person may be considered 'culturally responsible' when they translate the knowledge, skills and awareness of cultural differences and similarities within, among and between groups into their personal and professional life, thinking, and practice in a consistent and meaningful way so that all groups are treated with respect.

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  • Databank

    A systematic collection of human research data.

  • Digital accessibility

    The practice of creating websites, applications and documents that can be accessed, navigated and understood by people from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities.

  • Digital resource

    Digital technologies and content provided by RMIT enabling users to ‘do something or know something’.

  • Digital specialist

    User interface designers and developers, user experience professionals (including front end developers, mobile app developers, contractors and design firms).
    Digital content specialists (including content writers, marketing and communication professionals, learning/instructional designers, multimedia designers, contractors, web or multimedia design firms, etc. whose primary occupation or role is to create and publish digital resources).

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  • External ethics approval

    An ethics approval for human research granted by a non-RMIT Human Research Ethics Committee or other human research ethics review body.

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    Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible fee-paying students pay their tuition fees.

  • Fit for purpose

    Well-equipped or well suited for its designated role or purpose.

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  • Genomic research

    Research with the potential for hereditary implications, which may range from single gene genetic research to whole genome sequencing and any other ‘omic’ research (e.g. exomic, proteomic, etc.) with potential hereditary implications. Genomic research includes the full scope of ‘genetic’ research.

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    Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contributions.

  • HELP

    Australian Government loans that help eligible students pay their student contributions (HECS-HELP), tuition fees (FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP/VET Student Loans), overseas study expenses (OS-HELP) or the student services and amenities fee (SA-HELP).

  • HREC

    Human Research Ethics Committee, constituted in accordance with the National Statement.

  • Human research

    Research that involves people, and/or their data, and/or or their bio-specimens (i.e. saliva, blood, tissue, etc.).

  • Human research data

    Refers to bits of information in their raw form. Data can refer to raw data, cleaned data, transformed data, summary data and metadata (data about data). It can also refer to research outputs and outcomes. See also ‘databank’.

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  • Identifier

    Details attached to data, such as name and/or contact information, that identify an individual.

  • Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

    Indigenous Australians' rights to their heritage, consisting of intangible and tangible aspects of the whole body of cultural practices, resources and knowledge systems developed nurtured and refined by Indigenous people and passed on by them as part of expressing their cultural identity, including distinctive signs and symbols, practices, know-how and skills

  • Intellectual Property

    All statutory and other proprietary rights (including rights to require information be kept confidential) in respect of inventions, copyright, trademarks, designs, patents, plant breeder's rights, circuit layouts, know-how, trade secrets, data, materials and all other rights as defined by Article 2 of the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation of July 1967, all rights to apply for the same and, for the avoidance of doubt, includes:

    a) Patents under the Patents Act 1990 (Cth)

    b) Copyright which subsists in original works under the Copyright Act 1968, including computer programs and data (Cth)

    c) Trade marks registered under the Trade Marks Act 1995  (Cth)

    d) Designs registered under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth)

    e) New plant varieties  under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 (Cth) f) Circuit layouts (computer chips) under the Circuit Layouts Act 1989 (Cth); and g) Trade secrets and other confidential material under Common Law

  • Invention

    Any intellectual property that is patentable under the Patent Act 1990 (Cth)

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  • Labwork human research activity

    Common and clearly defined human research activities that are being undertaken by multiple members of a lab group (staff or students) in a labwork context.

  • Low risk research

    Research in which the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort.

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  • National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research

    Provides guidelines for institutions and researchers for the design, conduct and dissemination of results of human research; and review bodies in the ethics review of research.

  • Negligible risk research

    Research in which there is no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort, and any foreseeable risk is of inconvenience only.

  • Net revenue

    The monetary amount retained by RMIT from the Commercialisation Revenue received from the commercialisation of IP after the legitimate claims of third-parties are satisfied.


    National Health and Medical Research Council.

  • Non-digital specialist

    Non-digital specialist authors or content creators include:

    • professional and teaching staff engaged in creating or maintaining digital resources, but whose primary occupation is in some other field
    • students commissioned to do work for the University

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  • Pre-existing intellectual property

    Tangible intellectual property that the University agrees is owned by a Staff member, a Student or a third party prior to the date of their employment or enrolment at RMIT.


    Proactive Risk and Incident Management Excellence

  • Principal Investigator

    The Principal Investigator will be an RMIT staff member who has overall responsibility for the conduct of the project.

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  • Record

    Information in any format created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organisation or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. Records include (but are not limited to) emails, documents, websites, photographs, conversations undertaken via Instant Messaging clients, meeting minutes, research data, posts to RMIT social media sites.

  • REP

    Research Ethics Platform

  • Research intervention

    An intentional change in the circumstances of research participants, with the aim of evaluating the impact of that change on one or more outcome measures. An intervention can be a health- related procedure or process or a behavioural, educational or social modification. It can also involve a policy change, a therapeutic strategy, a change in service provision or an approach to provision of information that is introduced and manipulated, controlled or directed by the researcher.

  • Research sponsor

    An individual, company, institution or organisation that takes responsibility for the initiation, management, and/or financing of research.

  • RMIT enrolment-related travel

    Travel which is fully or partly paid for by the University and/or undertaken by students to gain credit towards their course of study and/or undertaken by students where they are a participant in group travel organised by the University.

    It also applies to student travelling for activities including but not limited to sporting events, field trips & excursions, exchange & study abroad, study tours and student placement.

  • RMIT Group

    The University, its controlled entities and strategic investment vehicles (known as the RMIT Group).

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    Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible students pay their student services and amenities fee.

  • Sexual harassment

    Sexual harassment is:  

    • any unwanted or unwelcome sexual advance,  
    • any unwanted or unwelcome request for sexual favours or  
    • any other unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, 
    • which, in the circumstances, a reasonable person, aware of those circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person would feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. 

    Sexual harassment also includes sexual assault and other offences associated with unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as indecent exposure, stalking and obscene communications. Any form of sexual misconduct involving a person under the age of 18 years is a crime.

  • Sexual harm

    Is the term RMIT uses to describe any kind of impact on a person (including trauma) which could result from non-consensual sexual behaviour and including sexual harassment or sexual assault.

  • Specifically commissioned

    Work requested by the University by agreement, where particular consideration is given. This may include financial consideration or relief from teaching or other duties.

  • Student visa

    Refers to a visa issued by the Department of Home Affairs, Australia, that has study entitlements and is subject to Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) requirements. Other visa types may have study entitlements but are not subject to ESOS.

  • Study period

    Any class, or group of classes, that are scheduled with a specific:

    • start date
    • end date
    • payment Due Date
    • census Date
    • results Publication date

    A study period may be described as a semester, trimester, term, teaching block, study session, or teaching period.

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  • University resources

    Resources of the University and its controlled entities which includes without limitation facilities, funds, services, equipment, paid leave, staff time and support staff.

  • Unreasonable conduct

    Includes but is not limited to:

    1. aggressive, rude or threatening behaviour, including the use of offensive or abusive language in communications;
    2. insisting on unreasonable or unattainable outcomes;
    3. issuing instructions and making demands about how a complaint should be managed;
    4. withholding information, misquoting others or selectively disclosing information, including making serious allegations, then declining to provide further information or evidence about the allegations;
    5. changing the substance of an existing complaint or re-phrasing allegations while the complaint is being managed;
    6. refusing to provide further clarification of issues raised upon request, particularly where large amounts of information are presented as part of the complaint; or
    7. repeatedly emailing or calling the University despite being advised not to do so because the subject matter of their complaint is currently being dealt with or has already been dealt with and resolved.

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  • VET Student Loan

    Australian Government loan program that assists eligible students enrolled in approved higher level vocational education and training courses at approved course providers pay their tuition fees.