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Below are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

FAQ: Students

Research projects are instigated by, or in collaboration with the industry partner, university and CSIRO supervisor. The projects are designed to align with industry interest, university capability and focus, and CSIRO strategy. Projects undergo a rigorous approval process by all parties prior to advertisement. However, if you are a student with a project idea in mind, please contact your supervisor to submit an enquiry on your behalf via

All Australian companies or companies with a significant Australia presence can participate.

Both CSIRO and the university will advertise the opportunity through their respective websites. Expressions of interest will need to be lodged via the university website and shortlisted applicants will be assessed, potentially including an interview.

The three supervisory partners (university supervisor, industry supervisor and CSIRO supervisor) are responsible for nominating the preferred applicant to the relevant Graduate Research School. The Graduate Research School will then invite the preferred applicant to formally apply for the project.

Each project will advertise for different skillsets and discipline areas. Applicants who meet the standard eligibility requirements will be assessed on experience relevant to the project’s field of research, suitability for the project, academic excellence and motivation to undertake an industry-led PhD project.

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 students’ 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.

Projects must be in Australia and a primary location is specified on the application paperwork. This may be at your 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 location.

$13,000 per annum is provided to the supervising organisation where you are 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.

Most training will be delivered online, however there will be some in-person events. The professional development training is mandatory and requires an equivalent time commitment of approximately five days per year.

There is no obligation for the industry partner or CSIRO to offer employment during or at the completion of the project.

Students are entitled to personal and sick leave in line with the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017. Periods of leave longer than those outlined by the Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines require approval from the host university, CSIRO and the industry partner.

The host university, CSIRO and the industry partner will agree to a specific IP arrangement. Under all circumstances, students will own the copyright to their thesis.

A party (Industry, CSIRO, University) may restrict disclosure of research related to the project to the extent reasonably required to protect its IP or Confidential Information but must endeavour to limit restrictions and will not prevent or inhibit the student from presenting their thesis for examination purposes.

You must adhere to the host university’s procedures and policies in relation to acceptance, enrolment, standards and review and examination conditions of PhD study. You will be required to sign a CSIRO Student Agreement as part of the scholarship offer and the university admission process.

The agreement is a three-way contract between the student, university and CSIRO which provides a legal framework for publications, intellectual property, confidentiality, and copyright matters.

Sustained engagement with industry throughout the PhD is a key differentiator underpinning the CSIRO Industry PhD compared to traditional academic offerings. This engagement will allow you to build new skills necessary for working across the industry and research sectors during your PhD, while feeding any new knowledge back into your PhD project. Your sustained involvement with the industry partner over your PhD facilitates the development of nuanced in-depth industry perspectives.
Activities should contribute to the development, research and outcomes of the PhD project, and be related to your area of research. This means that the activities should form part of the larger PhD project. 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.

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.

The Industry Engagement component provides an opportunity for you to work under the guidance of your industry partner on research and development activities contributing to your PhD project. Activities should provide you with relevant tools and experience to better contextualise and apply research in an industry setting.

Ideally, the Industry Engagement component should take place at the industry partner’s premises for a minimum of 60 full time days, or three calendar months. The Industry Engagement component should ideally be completed part-time or in short blocks, strategically placed throughout the PhD to encourage your ongoing engagement with your industry partner.

At the discretion and with the agreement of your supervisory team, alternate locations may be possible if there are travel limitations, if the project needs access to specific facilities and equipment, or if the entirety of the Industry Engagement cannot feasibly be undertaken at the industry partner’s location(s).

Examples of locations include:

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

Different universities have differing requirements for the conduct of research and other activities at locations outside of the University. These may include approvals to work at alternate locations and additional agreements for time spent with your industry partner. Please check with your graduate school early in your candidature to determine any specific requirements.

The Industry Engagement component does not need to be completed full-time but any arrangements must total at least 60 full-time equivalent days of engagement. There is significant flexibility and the exact format should depend on the needs of the project and support the development of the student. For instance, the component could be completed part-time or in short blocks strategically placed throughout the PhD to encourage your on-going engagement with your industry partner.
It is recommended you speak with your supervisory team early in the PhD to ensure that funding is available if you need to travel for your Industry Engagement component. In some cases, specific funding arrangements have been put in place for projects where the Industry Engagement component will involve travel away from the primary location.
The Industry Engagement component including activities, location(s) and attendance arrangements should be jointly agreed upon between you and the supervisory team and should be approved by the university early in the PhD.

The university may have reporting requirements, for instance an internship report may need to be completed by the student and signed off by the industry supervisor. To track your attendance, your university may need to provide an appropriate tracking mechanism (e.g., time sheets).

You should engage early with your graduate school to identify any university-specific requirements. Although it is recommended that the Industry Engagement project be scoped early in the PhD, there is an expectation that supervisors and the university will make allowance for changes down the track if required, and these changes will need to be consistent with the Collaboration Agreement.
Yes, whichever premises you enter will be governed by the health & safety requirements of that entity. When you attend the industry partner’s premise, you will need to be aware of and comply with the industry partner company’s health & safety requirements which include completing any necessary inductions. This is for you own benefit as well as to safeguard the interests of the other people on-site.

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