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The CSIRO Industry PhD (iPhD) program is delivered through the industry partner, university researchers and CSIRO researchers working closely together to deliver a training experience that is anchored in an industry-specific application problem.

The CSIRO iPhD program was developed in 2017 with input from university and industry partners and seeks to attract high calibre candidates with the vision of developing Australia's future research leaders.

The training experience in this program is built around specific problems identified by the industry partner. The business partner is closely involved in not just identifying the problem to be tackled, but also in helping to guide the direction of the research during the project, and in giving the research candidate deep experience of working in an industrial research environment.

Key aspects of the program include:

  • a four-year scholarship program including a six-month industry internship ('in the business')
  • students work on projects identified with an industry partner
  • supervision by an industry partner, a university partner and CSIRO
  • very diverse industry-based project opportunities. Some examples of projects underway: Data capture and analytics in smart cities; Exploration and commercialisation of Australia's edible insects; Biosensor development for early ID of Alzheimer's disease risk; Transforming construction by leveraging IoT and blockchain; Management of fouling for industrial water filtration.

My project is linked with eco mag a smaller sharing company that's looking to produce magnesium salts from seawater.

I know this fantastic new material but they need to find new applications to use them in so I'm investigating using them in things like gas masks or in the field of catalysis trying to leverage the the knowledge we have here at UNSW.

The uniqueness of the program is given Timothy a much more valuable experience than a more traditional PhD because the program involves supervisors from academia CSIRO and Industry and combined it'll give the student of a candidate a much more rewarding and broader experience

It's really exciting to be able to know that your research can actually be translated into the real world and have a really good chance to do that.

Science these days requires both the technical aspects of your research as well as the business minded people in the room to be able to translate that into a real commercial thing and the I PhD offers a process that can actually facilitate that that you wouldn't usually get in a typical phd program.

What we provide to Tim is actually a reality check on what his works about for the university to correlate some much more with what businesses one now so for Tim and the University and CSIRO they're more attuned with what is required now.

So as part of the I PhD I got to attend a launch camp facilitated by the CSIRO. So launch count gives you a great opportunity to view your project from a different perspective and further align it with more commercial outcomes while also maintaining the scientific basis of what you're doing.

I actually participate in that with all of my super welding team and their expertise and their assistance throughout the process was invaluable. 

If you're very satisfied to see this student getting ready for the job market after their graduation and is ready for tacking tackling the real-world problem.

It's been very exciting to be able to see that potentially my research can be translated into a commercial setting to formulate new products for eco mag I think that's a big motivator for me a PhD is very you know you have to have a lot of self motivation throughout the process to have something like that to lean on throughout the processes is great.

For Tim the results for him will be that he'll have something that is practical something that is going to be used in society and hopefully for for greater good. 

It's exciting to know that my research at the end of the program could be helping real people in the real world tackle a real issue that we're facing and also with the prospect of you know furthering my skills and helping my career along the way. 

I think in terms of short-term aim of course this will link him directly to a job working with us hopefully in the future and we really like to for him to do so and who knows in the future he might be the future CEO here you know working in operating.

Hear from participants in one of our projects about their experience in the program.

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Current university partners are: University of New South Wales, University of Adelaide, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia.

The program can be offered through any university.

For industry

Our iPhD program is specifically designed to support industry-based research training in Australia and improve Australia’s innovation capacity. We are looking for business leaders in large, medium and small enterprise to be a part of this industry-focused program.

As an industry partner you can:

  • assist in defining the research project relevant to your business and the selection of the PhD students
  • help mentor iPhD students towards a research career in industry
  • support the development of PhD students, supervised by some of Australia’s leading researchers, in state-of-the-art facilities
  • access new knowledge and support the development of your current and potential future highly skilled workforce
  • develop networks with top applied research experts in your industry sector
  • potentially, fill your future workforce requirements with highly-skilled researchers who understand your business deeply
  • industry partners are required to pay a scholarship top-up to the student working on their project.

Program details for students

The program includes:

  • admission to a partner university PhD program
  • a structured professional development and training component, delivered by CSIRO and the university
  • a project expense and development package
  • in addition to working closely with your industry partner on the research project throughout your PhD, your PhD will include a paid six-month ‘in business’ internship with your industry partner to deeply understand their operating environment
  • a four-year scholarship package comprising
    • Australian Government CSIRO Industry PhD Scholarship or equivalent
    • an attractive Top-Up Scholarship.

The eligibility criteria, areas of interest and university and industry partners will be detailed along with the call for scholarship project applications via our careers website.

The CSIRO iPhD program aims to develop applied researchers who will be able to assist Australian industry to innovate and the economy to grow. For this reason, the program is only available to Australian domestic applicants.

I would say to anyone considering doing a PhD definitely go for the industry PhD because it's just an ordinary PhD but with a whole lot of advantages the scholarship and funding has really allowed me to dedicate a lot more time into the ph.d program a PhD often gets quite stressful and especially if you have things running alongside it it can be even more stressful so I've been able to work long hours and be completely at ease that the scholarship has supported me the facilities that have been offered at UNSW CSIRO and industry has given me a pretty good advantage because equipment and availability becomes a really big issue in the ph.d program so me knowing that I was able to access these
instruments and facilities and people at three different locations was really big plus points the industry ph.d program offered a lot of structured career development workshops and especially an industry launch camp offered at the end of last year that helped really tailor my research towards customer and focus and consider the value proposition of what I was researching on my supervisors at CSIRO and industry and uni have definitely taken on a very supportive and mentor ship position in my ph.d program especially the fact that they're from very different fields I'm able to get advice from very different sources and that helps me with my research I'm very happy to know that at the end of my ph.d program I will be quite set apart from the other PhD graduates based on the the professional development that I've gotten and also the fact that my industry involvement has already integrated me into the workplace as an AI PhD you need to have very strong communication skills and you need to be able to coordinate a lot of things at the same time as long as you are motivated and you like what you work on and you see how industry challenges need to be integrated into academia you'll do well in the program.
Hear from one of the students in our program.

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Partner with us

Interested in becoming an industry or university partner with us on the CSIRO iPhD program?

For more information contact Duncan Byrne.

Mr Duncan Byrne

Program Manager - Industry PhD (SCIENCE IMPACT & POLICY)

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