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$6.2 million has been awarded to the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates program and $4.2 million for the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduates program. The Next Generation Graduates programs will co-fund student scholarships with each program's industry and university partners. These programs will allow students to be part of a multi-disciplinary team aimed at solving a real-world challenges.

The programs will provide scholarships to domestic students (Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents) only.

Enrolments will be managed by program Chief Investigators and their university, we anticipate they will open in May 2022. To receive up to date information about how to apply to the program as details become available sign up now.

Below are the round one programs for the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates program.

View summaries of Round one Next Generation Artificial Intelligence programs.

Empowering Human within the Metaverse

The Metaverse typically represents a network of virtual environments with large-scaled spatial data, within which human entities are often represented with virtual avatars. Our proposal expands the Metaverse concept as a holistic synergy of digital and physical environments, within which human workers manage, analyse, train, educate, and explore.

We recognise an opportunity to enable Australian industry sectors to enhance their physical operations through Metaverse techniques and technologies, to boost Australia’s digital economy. Our core objective is to empower human performance, capabilities, and safety within the Metaverse, to seamlessly facilitate communication and cross interactions between digital and physical entities.

Our strategies manifest as two additional objectives where digital assets mirror and sustain physical assets. We aim to innovate in the areas of assets management, authentication, and authorship with blockchain technologies across physical and digital realms, allowing digital assets to mirror physical assets with life cycle transactions. We apply circular economy methodologies to support exchange and trade of digital and physical resources within urban ecosystems of the Metaverse, thus enabling digital technology to make physical resources sustainable. Our student cohort will participate in an interdisciplinary research environment with research leaders and industry partners from manufacturing, architecture, education, design, and blockchain sectors.

Chief Investigators Associate Professor Thuong HoangDr Rui WangProfessor Stefan GreuterProfessor Tuba KocaturkDr Jun WangDr Wenchi Shou
Universities DeakinWestern Sydney
Industry partners M-BytesHYDACMalthouse TheatreSycamore Civil GroupChainingBMYGArupPaperGiantCSIRO
Student degree type PhD

Trusted Automation for Industrial Internet of Things

Automation of industrial processes by adopting emerging technologies such as IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and blockchain is increasing under the Industry-4.0 transformation. Together, these technologies hold the potential to significantly increase Australian companies' productivity and competitiveness. Several industries in the manufacturing, supply chain, information systems, agriculture, and retail sectors already look to transform their industry by recruiting skilled professionals. However, the skill shortage in these domains impedes the transformation process, impacting innovation, transformation, and growth.

The Australian Government’s AI and Blockchain Roadmaps has identified a significant economic opportunity for these technologies into various industry sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and supply chains yet the persistent skills shortage in these areas is a barrier to realizing the economic benefits.

This program will train the next generation graduates in trusted automation for industrial Internet of Things through a close partnership between industry and academia.

Chief Investigators Professor Raja JurdakProfessor Salil KanhereProfessor Alistair BarrosDr Helen PaikProfessor Sagadevan MundreeDr Gowri Ramachandran
Universities UNSWQUT
Industry partners SupraOraclesAutomiOlamInterport Cargo ServicesQueensland CottonXiippyCSIRO
Student degree type PhD, MPhil, Honours

Building National Cybersecurity Capabilities for Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Digital transformation holds tremendous potential for innovation and growth for Australian industries but it brings risks and challenges. This has been demonstrated by cyber incidents targeting the manufacturing sector like the US Colonial Pipeline hacking and the $100M ransomware loss of food manufacturing company Mondelez.

Driven by the real-life needs from our industry partners such as DXC, Amazon, ASTA, and Sysbox, we aim to address the grand cybersecurity challenges faced by Australian manufacturers, such as the vulnerabilities in manufacturing software, data flow analysis for security in smart manufacturing, data driven control system assessment, and secure and responsible AI for manufacturing. This program will build Australian sovereign cyber capabilities to secure business-critical manufacturing systems and bring together a multi-disciplinary team to train next generation graduate students as a cohort within industry from the outset.

The cohort will be mentored by 17 industry and academic Investigators from 8 committed organisations with relevant industrial expertise such as manufacturing, cybersecurity, human interaction, software engineering, entrepreneurship and commercialisation. Our research team will provide outstanding facilities and leading expertise to ensure that the students work together as a multidisciplinary team. The students will be deliberately recruited from diverse backgrounds and work collaboratively within diverse team environments.

Chief Investigators Professor Yang XiangProfessor Dimitrios GeorgakopoulosProfessor John GrundyDr Xiaoning DuDr Siqi MaDr Chao Chen
Universities SwinburneMonashUNSW ADFAJCU
Industry partners DXC TechnologyAmazon Web ServicesAstaSysbox Pty Ltd
Student degree type PhD, Coursework Masters (not RTP eligible), Honours

Digital Engineering for Device-on-Demand

Digital engineering can forge a future defence force that continually innovates and quickly adjust to a rapidly evolving technology and threat landscape. It enables the prototype warfare concept of adopting archetype models, which are proven in virtual experimentation, produced in small quantities, and quickly introduced into service. Realising continuous innovation and an adaptable force hinges on three key ingredients: an agreed and shared virtual design, development and manufacturing reference architecture that provides a technical description of the prototype devices based on a set of common standards; a well-connected defence-industry-academia ecosystem of innovators, partners, and suppliers; and a change to the defence DNA to welcome and embrace innovation.

Our graduate program will develop the foundations of the required reference architecture. It will demonstrate its benefits by designing, building, and flight-testing various on-demand small unmanned aerial systems, each optimised for a different mission. Once tested, we will roll out our architecture to a broad set of end-users and provide training. We will extract and disseminate lessons learned on various aspects of the program to facilitate and speed up translation to other devices. We will generate a cohort of innovation catalysts and create a tightly-connected community of defence innovation SMEs and academic partners.

Chief Investigators          Associate Professor Dries VerstraeteProfessor Ben ThornberProfessor Con DoolanDr Danielle MoreauProfessor Philip LeongProfessor Gwenaelle Proust
Universities SydneyUNSW
Industry partners        DSTG Australia
Student degree type PhD

Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning: Technology Development and Adoption

Successes of machine learning have catalysed a revolution across the spectrum of human endeavours. Enterprises offer machine learning services to improve their businesses and provide ready-made intelligence for end-user applications. However, there is an increasingly striking discordance between its rapid growth and renewed awareness of privacy protection in this era of intelligence. Individual data often carry private information and models are deemed as intellectual properties.

The security of private and sensitive information carried by the data and machine learning models that could be potentially exposed must be guaranteed. This program aims to nurture Australian next-generation workforce in the field of Privacy-preserving Machine Learning (PPML). PPML aims to protect the privacy of data or models used in machine learning, at training or inference time and during system deployment. It is the key enabler of trustworthy ML systems and benefits both model users and model owners.

We plan to explore emerging privacy-enhancing techniques for realising PPML systems, address practical challenges during deployment, and adopt PPML systems to Australian prioritised industry sectors. The outcome expects to pave a long-sought lane towards broad market adoptions of PPML and be an integral part of the next generation Australian digital economy and society.

Chief Investigators          Dr Xingliang YuanAssociate Professor Joseph LiuAssociate Professor Zongyuan GeDr Rebecca YangAssociate Professor Reza HaffariProfessor Xun Yi
Universities MonashRMIT
Industry partners        eBayAnsen InnovationEyetelligenceAurecon AustralasiaARESS ConTechArup, Aus Property Investment Group, Smart Energy CouncilSustainable Energy TransformationCSIRO
Student degree type PhD, Masters 1 year project (RTP eligible), Coursework Masters (not RTP eligible), Honours

Creating the Next Generation of Quantum Technology Specialists

Quantum technologies offer great opportunities across the economy, and possible threats should Australia inadequately invest in its development. These have been recognised through recent government attention given to quantum technologies, as an economic driver and a safeguard to national security.

The proposed Sydney Quantum Academy (SQA) program will provide the framework to holistically develop the quantum technology industry, from hardware and software to responsible innovation.

We have brought together a world-renowned team of researchers from our four partner universities with a range of industry collaborators to engage in building a robust, diverse quantum workforce that meets industry needs. Our team of investigators have demonstrated strong track records in working successfully with industry. Our industry partners represent both small start-ups and large organisations that populate the nascent quantum ecosystem. Their participation in the program will include timely engagement on industry applications as the technology develops and internships.

This program aligns perfectly and will complement the already established SQA Postdoctoral, PhD, undergraduate, outreach, and internship programs, leveraging the substantial value they represent, increasing capacity and skills to build our next generation of quantum technology specialists. Working closely with CSIRO, SQA will ensure the best possible experience for supervisors, industry, and the students that participate.

Chief Investigators Professor Peter TurnerProfessor Andrew DzurakProfessor Gavin BrennenProfessor Andrew DohertyDr Simon DevittDr Zixin Huang
Universities MacquarieUNSWSydneyUTS 
Industry partners Sydney Quantum AcademyKPMGBTQ AGQuintessence Labs, Joseki
Student degree type PhD, Masters 1 year project (RTP eligible), Honours


Artificial Intelligence of Things for Resilient and Sustainable Smart Cities

In this program, we propose a unique research and training opportunity in digital technology which is essential to the future development of resilient and sustainable smart cities. The research will be centred around Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) which combines AI and IoT. We aim to research, develop and deliver novel IoT platforms and solutions that will allow for massive connectivity of sensors, intelligent processing of data, and AIoT infrastructure support to optimise city functions and drive economic growth while improving quality of life for its citizens.

This program puts together a multi-disciplinary research program to support postgraduate training for 10 PhD students. The research in this program focuses on digital technology including IoT, AI, data science and digital twins for smart cities. The industry partner, Blue IoT, will contribute $600k in cash and $150K in-kind over the entire program period. Macquarie University will contribute $50k in cash and $588k in-kind, and UNSW will contribute $12k in cash and $416k in-kind over 3.5 years.

Chief Investigators Professor Tao GuProfessor Jian YangProfessor Bamini GopinathDr Jia WuProfessor Mahbub HassanProfessor Wen Hu
Universities MacquarieUNSW 
Industry partners Blue IoT Pty Ltd
Student degree type PhD

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