CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is developing an ambitious new PhD program together with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and industry partners, to create a new breed of innovators and accelerate business and research working together.

A pilot of the Industry PhD program, coined iPhD, has been developed in collaboration with the UNSW’s Faculty of Engineering.

iPhD candidates will be given comprehensive access to supervisors from CSIRO, the university and an industry partner, to create a unique blend of mentoring across research and business disciplines.

The three-way partnership gives students access to world class researchers, professionals and infrastructure, with an integrated six month industry placement aimed at connecting research and business to deliver solutions to address real-world problems.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said  Australia was home to some of the world’s most significant inventions, many of which CSIRO has been at the heart of. 

“We have a great opportunity to accelerate how we move from science to solution and at the core of that is a stronger pipeline of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) students into business," Dr Marshall said.

“CSIRO is uniquely placed to bridge the gap between education and business. By getting Australia's university students working alongside CSIRO scientists in professional labs, we are giving them unique experimental learning on real projects working closely with industry.

"Businesses also have an opportunity to audition their future talent – it’s a win-win-win that will deliver real opportunity for Australia.”

iPhD will develop science professionals who are comfortable moving into and out of academia, industry and applied research organisations.

As part of the program, industry will be involved from the start, both helping to define the research area and shape the technical and professional development of the PhD candidates, supporting the STEM workforce of the future.

UNSW Sydney is joining with CSIRO to deliver the first round of the Industry PhD, which will be a pilot for a broader program. 

President and Vice-Chancellor UNSW Professor Ian Jacobs said the UNSW was excited to deliver the pilot program in partnership with CSIRO and industry.

"Knowledge exchange is at the heart of our Strategy 2025 and highlights our commitment to driving innovation through the development of future professionals,” Professor Jacobs said.

“Recruitment for the initial intake of engineering students for 2018 is underway, and our industry partners are buoyed by the prospect of the program and the fantastic opportunity it will provide to our higher degree researchers.”

It is anticipated that building upon the experience from this pilot, the program will be extended in subsequent years to additional universities and all STEM-related disciplines.

Applications for the Industry PhD program with UNSW Sydney open on 17 August and close on Friday 15 September.

Further information and links to the application process can be found at UNSW Industry PhD Program

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Steve Offner (UNSW)

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