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CSIRO's Industry PhD program supports a three-way partnership aiming to train new researchers in critical areas and facilitate long-term benefits between research organisations and industry.

How it works

  1. Work with university and industry to develop a PhD project.
  2. Attract a high-quality PhD student.
  3. Share student supervision with CSIRO and university.
How it works: CSIRO Industry PhD Program

Program benefits

Develop new, or strengthen relationships with industry partners and universities to:

  • Upskill PhD students to develop capability in CSIRO priority areas and in areas of national need
  • Build consortia aligned with CSIRO Missions through iPhD projects
  • Grow industry and university involvement with CSIRO exploratory research (Future Science Platforms)
  • Provide PhD students with industry-focused training.

Program funding and support

The iPhD program is funded by the Australian Government and the industry partner for up to four years. Funding for each year consists of three components:

  • Student Scholarship of $46,000 p.a. (2024 rate) comprising of $34,000 p.a. provided by the Government, and $12,000 p.a. provided by the industry partner.
  • Project Expense and Development package of up to $13,000 p.a. provided by the Government for research operating costs and research skill development.
  • Student career and professional development training funding provided by the Government and developed/delivered by CSIRO.

Program requirements

iPhD projects must:

  • Align with CSIRO and Government priorities
  • Address an industry problem while complying with the university’s requirements of a PhD program
  • Be with an Australian industry partner or an industry partner with an Australian presence (Government and Not-for-profit are excluded)
  • Be limited to domestic students
  • Include at least a three-month or 60-day full-time equivalent Industry Engagement component, conducting research under the guidance of the industry partner.

CSIRO Business Units must:

  • Provide a suitably experienced researcher to supervise the PhD student for up to four years
  • Provide access to facilities and infrastructure, if required for the project.

Become a CSIRO partner

If you are a CSIRO researcher who has a project idea and would like to commence the EOI process, please contact us.

Industry PhD scholarship program

Program intake dates

  • Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are accepted from February to May for the commencement of the following year. However, we may accept EOIs outside these dates. Please contact us if you have an idea outside this time frame.

Program resources

CSIRO Researchers: These are general guidelines. Please discuss with your Line Manager or iPhD team.

FAQ: CSIRO researcher

A Collaboration Agreement is established between CSIRO, the university and industry partner, which highlights the Intellectual Property (IP) arrangement. Within the agreement, there are four different IP options available. The most suitable option is mutually agreed upon by all involved parties. Under all circumstances, students will own the copyright to their thesis. Project publications should be encouraged, but some conditions may be imposed to protect Project IP and confidential information of the parties involved.
Students must be sought through an open advertising process facilitated by the involved university. Student expressions of interest will need to be lodged via the university website and the supervisory panel will shortlist, interview, and nominate the most suitable student to formally apply for the scholarship.
iPhD program staff are responsible for the delivery of the CSIRO Industry PhD program and support all project development stages, including expression of interest, contracting and student recruitment processes. As the funding administrator, we distribute the student scholarship and project expenses funds to the appropriate partners. Program staff also develop a tailored student career and professional development training program, which is delivered alongside the PhD program. The training program builds skills needed to deliver industry-focused research including innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. Program staff actively support students and contributing partners and act as the first point of call should any issues arise.
The program’s three-way partnership calls for the appointment of a university supervisor/s, an industry supervisor, and a CSIRO supervisor. Each supervisor will be responsible for certain aspects of the student’s supervision. However, the Primary Supervisor, allocated from the university, is responsible for monitoring and assessing the PhD student progress in accordance with the university’s PhD academic requirements. A tailored project management and communication plan is created prior to project commencement, detailing supervisor roles, level of commitment and communication methods so the student can access appropriate support.
$13,000 per annum is provided to the supervising organisation where the student is primarily based to cover project operating expenses and development activities. Project expenses may include lab consumables, fieldwork, and other research costs. Travel costs associated with the project and/or approved development activities are also eligible expenses.
Projects must be allocated a primary location by the supervisory panel. This location is where the student will be primarily based to undertake the project. The primary location must be in Australia and may be at the host university, at CSIRO or on the industry partner’s premises. The location of the three-month Industry Engagement Component may be different to the project’s primary location.
There is no obligation for the industry partner or CSIRO to offer employment to the student during or at completion of the project.
iPhD program staff assist with project scoping, partner communication, and support the submission of the formal EOI paperwork. If required, iPhD program staff will make best endeavours to locate eligible partners which have complementary and relevant knowledge and experience.
The Industry Engagement component is a requirement of the CSIRO Industry PhD program. It aims to ensure that the needs of industry guide the development, activities, and outcomes of the PhD project. It provides an opportunity for the student to work under the guidance of their industry partner on research and development activities contributing to their PhD project.

Activities should provide students with relevant tools and experience to better contextualise and apply research in an industry setting. Activities should contribute to the development, research and outcomes of the larger PhD project, and be related to the student’s area of research. Potential activities may include:

  • understanding the research needs of the industry partner and/or the broader industry
  • undertaking practical research translation activities under the guidance of the industry partner
  • testing research assumptions and innovations in an industry setting with end-users.

Generally, any results from these activities can be included in the thesis so long as confidentiality and publication clauses listed in the Collaboration Agreement and Student Agreement are complied with.

The Industry Engagement component must be a minimum of 60 full-time days or three calendar months in duration and should ideally take place at the industry partner’s premises. However, activities can be undertaken remotely, within reason. A mixture of online and in-person engagement is also acceptable. The Industry Engagement component should ideally be completed part-time or in short blocks, strategically placed throughout the PhD to encourage ongoing engagement between the industry partner and the student.

At the discretion and with the agreement of the supervisory team, alternate locations may be possible, but the university will need to approve any alternate location(s).

Examples of locations include:

  • CSIRO site
  • the university
  • a combination of sites
  • remote
  • a mixture of remote and in-person attendance.

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