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10 July 2024 3 min read

Key points

  • The CSIRO Industry PhD (iPhD) brings together an industry partner, a university, and Australia's national science agency.
  • There are a range of benefits to completing an iPhD, including developing industry experience and professional contacts.
  • There are scholarship projects available in our iPhD program.

An Industry PhD (iPhD) is a doctoral program designed with an industry application. CSIRO's iPhD program brings together an industry partner, a university, and Australia's national science agency to co-develop a four-year PhD project. Our program is industry-focused and impact-driven research.

The iPhD program is part of an Australian Government initiative to better translate university research into commercial outcomes.

Wondering if an iPhD is right for you? We've got you covered.

Why should I study an Industry PhD?

Pursuing an iPhD can propel your research career while providing valuable industry experience. An iPhD offers many personal and professional advantages, opening doors to higher-level positions in industry, academia and research institutions.

Unlike a traditional academic PhD, an iPhD provides an opportunity to have a greater impact by researching a specific problem defined by industry. An iPhD gives you access to specialised expertise, equipment, and training in commercial settings. This strengthens your knowledge in innovation and the translation of research, potentially boosting your employment prospects.

How do I choose a research opportunity?

There are many ways to approach postgraduate research. Generally speaking, it is often good to start with an idea of the specific area you want to research. It is also advisable to identify potential supervisors and investigate the logistics involved such as eligibility.

The iPhD program has some important requirements that differ from a traditional PhD program, including specific eligibility criteria.

An iPhD student will have up to three supervisors – one each from a university, CSIRO and industry partner. Getting to know potential supervisors is an important step in deciding to proceed. You’ll be working with them for four years so don’t be afraid to ‘interview’ prospective supervisors to learn more about their area of expertise and what insights and guidance they can offer you.

Pre-scoped projects are common in STEM fields and are developed by the supervisory team. There is usually flexibility to tailor the project to your interests and strengths. See our scholarships page for available pre-scoped iPhD projects.

What does an iPhD journey look like?

An iPhD project follows a similar path to an academic PhD by thesis, with some notable extras.

In addition to the research project, an iPhD student is required to complete 60 days of engagement with the industry partner. This offers a great opportunity to build a strong connection with the industry partner. This will help develop your professional connections and a deep understanding of the sector with its challenges and opportunities.

You will also have access (and be required) to complete professional development courses in leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, to support your future career goals and progression.

There is always variance between disciplines and universities, but you can most likely expect:

Year 1

It’s all about getting a good grounding of existing knowledge and key stakeholders that relate to your topic so you can make sure your research is original. You will undertake a literature review which could involve getting stuck into primary resources and developing your research plan.

Year 2

By this stage, you will be well-versed in the research landscape and begin to develop insights of your own. You will gather results from experiments, surveys or other means.

Year 3

It’s time to bring it together and write up your findings. It is common to be chasing up extra resources and collecting data, depending on the nature of the PhD.

Year 4

Deadlines get real, and you must submit your thesis for examination. This could be a reality in Year 3, depending on the terms of enrolment and perhaps your PhD funding.

What are the benefits of an iPhD?

The iPhD Program offers an opportunity to undertake research that is directly applicable to industry, making a real-life contribution, while broadening your professional networks. You will also develop a broad range of industry-focused skills including:

  • Strengthening your knowledge in entrepreneurship, innovation and translation of research.
  • Growing your transferable skills such as communication, teamwork and management.
  • Gaining access to specialised expertise, equipment and training from us, your university and industry partner.
  • Broadening your employability and future career opportunities.

Is the CSIRO Industry PhD right for me?

The decision to embark on a PhD journey should not be taken lightly. A PhD is difficult and requires a significant level of dedication and perseverance. A four-year commitment requires a lot of consideration, so it’s important you do your research before undertaking a PhD.

Speak to current PhD students and lecturers, look at job prospects in your field, and check out advertised projects. Take the time to compare different PhD opportunities and assess what would be the best fit for you. You can also seek guidance and advice from potential supervisors, and from the iPhD team.

A PhD is a significant life achievement and an opportunity to make a unique contribution that can benefit society.

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