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CSIRO's Industry PhD (iPhD) Program brings together an industry partner, a university and CSIRO to co-develop a four-year industry-focussed PhD project. The shortlisting, selection and recruitment of the PhD student is conducted jointly by CSIRO, the university partner and the industry partner based on the needs of the research project, the program's eligibility criteria, and the PhD admission requirements of the participating university.

Commence an industry PhD

If you are a domestic student wanting to commence an industry PhD in Australia, view our current student scholarships.

Student webinar

Sign up for our free webinar to learn about how to join the iPhD program. Hear from current students about the application process, followed by a Q&A. 11 July, 12 - 1pm AEST.

You'll receive:

  • admission to a university PhD program
  • a four-year scholarship package of $46,000 per annum (2024 rate)
  • a four-year Project Expense and Development package of approximately $13,000 per annum
  • a 60-day Industry Engagement component provided by the industry partner
  • a professional development training program delivered alongside the PhD
  • supervision by the host university, CSIRO and an industry partner.

My project is linked with eco mag a smaller sharing company that's looking to produce magnesium salts from seawater.

I know this fantastic new material but they need to find new applications to use them in so I'm investigating using them in things like gas masks or in the field of catalysis trying to leverage the the knowledge we have here at UNSW.

The uniqueness of the program is given Timothy a much more valuable experience than a more traditional PhD because the program involves supervisors from academia CSIRO and Industry and combined it'll give the student of a candidate a much more rewarding and broader experience

It's really exciting to be able to know that your research can actually be translated into the real world and have a really good chance to do that.

Science these days requires both the technical aspects of your research as well as the business minded people in the room to be able to translate that into a real commercial thing and the I PhD offers a process that can actually facilitate that that you wouldn't usually get in a typical phd program.

What we provide to Tim is actually a reality check on what his works about for the university to correlate some much more with what businesses one now so for Tim and the University and CSIRO they're more attuned with what is required now.

So as part of the I PhD I got to attend a launch camp facilitated by the CSIRO. So launch count gives you a great opportunity to view your project from a different perspective and further align it with more commercial outcomes while also maintaining the scientific basis of what you're doing.

I actually participate in that with all of my super welding team and their expertise and their assistance throughout the process was invaluable. 

If you're very satisfied to see this student getting ready for the job market after their graduation and is ready for tacking tackling the real-world problem.

It's been very exciting to be able to see that potentially my research can be translated into a commercial setting to formulate new products for eco mag I think that's a big motivator for me a PhD is very you know you have to have a lot of self motivation throughout the process to have something like that to lean on throughout the processes is great.

For Tim the results for him will be that he'll have something that is practical something that is going to be used in society and hopefully for for greater good. 

It's exciting to know that my research at the end of the program could be helping real people in the real world tackle a real issue that we're facing and also with the prospect of you know furthering my skills and helping my career along the way. 

I think in terms of short-term aim of course this will link him directly to a job working with us hopefully in the future and we really like to for him to do so and who knows in the future he might be the future CEO here you know working in operating.

Hear from a student about their experience in the program.

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Key benefits

  • deliver greater impact by conducting research relevant to an industry partner
  • develop a broad range of industry-focussed skills
  • strengthen knowledge in entrepreneurship, innovation and translation of research
  • grow transferable professional skills such as communication, teamwork, management and organisational skills
  • gain access to specialised expertise, equipment and training from university, CSIRO and industry
  • deepen networks with industry, university and CSIRO
  • boost employability and broaden future career opportunities.

Eligibility requirements

You must:

  • be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent resident
  • meet university PhD admission and English language requirements
  • have not previously completed a PhD
  • not be in receipt of another primary scholarship
  • be able to commence the program in the year of the offer
  • enrol as a full-time PhD student
  • be located at the agreed project location(s), and, if required, comply with the university’s external enrolment procedures.

Download a copy of the Scholarship T&Cs PDF (136 KB)

Projects and supervision

Projects will address an industry problem while complying with the participating university's requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Degrees will be assessed through the regular schedule of higher degree by research milestones. Alongside the university supervisory team, you will also be mentored by an industry and CSIRO supervisor, who will provide specialist guidance on the project throughout the candidature.

Research projects are generally instigated by collaboration between an industry partner, university supervisor and CSIRO supervisor. View our current scholarship projects.

However, if you are a student with a project idea in mind, please contact your supervisor to submit an enquiry on your behalf via Please note, projects must not have yet commenced, and an open recruitment process for the project must still occur.

Training and industry engagement components

You will receive a 60-day Industry Engagement component hosted by your industry partner. This will provide you with exposure to the broader work environment and provide opportunities to develop work-ready skills and business acumen.

You will also receive a structured professional development package delivered by CSIRO. This package will help foster essential professional skills including leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, to support your future career goals and progression.

How to apply

The program has yearly intakes with most projects planned to commence in February or March. Project opportunities, including how to apply, will be advertised on the iPhD current scholarships page as they become available. Please note: applications need to be submitted through the university link.

Considering a CSIRO Industry PhD, or wondering how to manage it? Hear from the team of a past iPhD project at Advice from an Industry PhD researcher.

For program updates and scholarship opportunities, sign up to our newsletter.

Program resources

Key documents

Promotional materials

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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Email the iPhD team

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