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Our program is available to all Australian universities and is designed to support industry-university relationships to drive research translation and commercialisation. Guide your PhD candidates to develop solutions to real-world problems in partnership with industry and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.

How it works

Program benefits

  • Access an industry PhD (iPhD) training program aligned to national priorities.
  • Develop new or strengthen existing relationships with industry and CSIRO.
  • Enhance innovation and the commercialisation potential of research with industry and CSIRO.
  • Provide PhD students with an opportunity to develop industry-focused professional skills.
  • Gain access to CSIRO and industry facilities, infrastructure, and expertise.

Associate Professor Wayne Leifert, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist.

The Industry PhD brings people together to really focus on translating knowledge into something that's valuable for the community worldwide.

Associate Professor Tara Pukala, University of Adelaide.

The university sees this as a big opportunity to produce career ready graduates. It gives the students an opportunity to be involved in research that is really at the forefront of something that might have impact.

Kym McNicholas, CSIRO iPhD Candidate.

My name is Kim McNicholas and I am an Industry PhD student here at Biosensis. The aim of my project was to try and increase the sensitivity of these assays using gold nanoparticles. So it is a procedure or a technique that's used in the lab to measure concentrations of a particular protein in a sample.

Professor Robert Rush, Biosensis Managing Director and Chair.

The research program with Adelaide University and CSIRO allows us to identify new biomarkers in a cohort of patients who have been screened and shown to either have cognitive impairment or dementia.

Associate Professor Tara Pukala, University of Adelaide.

And then with our CSIRO and industry partners, we can translate that to what might ultimately be a diagnostic test for early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Kym McNicholas, CSIRO iPhD Candidate.

They've all been able to address different needs that are needed over the time of the PhD. Biosensis, being able to work in a laboratory with access to quality materials, CSIRO to access statisticians and IT professionals, as well as a very good, valuable patient cohort. And the university has this amazing, structured program which helps all Ph.D. students just get through.

Associate Professor Wayne Leifert, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist.

If I was to describe the IPhD student experience, I would be thinking something along the lines of collaboration, teamwork and translation.

Kym McNicholas, CSIRO iPhD Candidate.

The benefits for me personally in the iPhD, as I've got an amazing exposure to the manufacturing and industry environment, I probably wouldn't have got in a university lab.

Professor Robert Rush, Biosensis Managing Director and Chair.

So, in addition to the individual project that they carry out, they look at more broadly marketing, finance, and so I think we give them a much broader view of what commercial operations are.

Associate Professor Wayne Leifert, CSIRO Principal Research Scientist.

We often think about, you know, how do things get made, how do things get built? How was I thought of? This is the opportunity to be able to do this. If you're an iPhD student and if you're a student that's interested in a PhD, they would be suggesting consider this as an option.

Kym McNicholas, CSIRO iPhD Candidate.

It's a very enjoyable experience. It opens your horizons. It broadens your view. You get a feel for what real manufacturing life is like. If someone was to ask me whether they should do an Industry PhD, I would genuinely say go for it.

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Program funding and support

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

  1. Student scholarship of $45,000 p.a. comprising of $33,000 p.a. provided by the Government and $12,000 p.a. provided by the industry partner.
  2. Project expense and development package of up to $13,000 p.a. provided by the Government for research operating costs and research skill development.
  3. Student career and professional development training funded by the Government to be developed and delivered by CSIRO.

Program requirements

iPhD projects must:

  • align with Australian Government and CSIRO 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-profits are excluded)
  • be limited to domestic students
  • include an Industry Engagement Component (minimum 3 months), conducting research under the guidance of the industry partner.

Universities must:

  • provide a suitably experienced researcher to supervise the PhD student for up to four years
  • lead student advertising, recruitment, and enrolment processes with support from CSIRO
  • provide access to facilities and infrastructure if required for the project
  • provide a fee off-set for the student
  • monitor and assess the student in accordance with the university’s Higher Degree by Research policies.

Become a university partner

If you are a university researcher who has a project idea in mind, or work in a Graduate Research School and would like to learn more about how the program can be integrated into your university, please contact us.

Program intake dates

  • Expressions of Interest: Feb – May 2023
  • Project commencement: February 2024

Program resources

FAQ: University

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.
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. 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 must be a minimum of three 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.
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.

Contact us

If you work within the Graduate Research School or University Leadership and would like to learn more about how the program may be integrated into your university training system, please contact us.

If you are a university researcher who has a potential project idea in mind, please contact us.

Contact us

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