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CSIRO have estimated that Australian industry will need up to 161,000 new AI specialist and AI savvy workers by 2030. A recent study by RMIT and Deloitte also highlighted that Australia will need 156,000 digital and emerging technology workers by 2025 to aid in the recovery of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To address these shortages, as part of the Australian Government's Digital Economy Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Action Plan, CSIRO has been allocated funding over the next six years to deliver the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduates Program and the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates Program. We're working in partnership with industry and universities to grow a pipeline of home-grown, job-ready graduates to unlock the immense economic opportunity offered by artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, such as robotics, cyber security, quantum computing, blockchain and data.

Program overview

The Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduates and Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates Programs expect to fund at least 480 nationally competitive scholarships to attract and train the next generation of technology specialists.

Students will participate in industry-led research projects and placements to build job-ready skills. The scholarships will be co-funded with industry for post graduate students at all levels. Students will enrol as part of a cohort – or group of students whose individual projects all contribute to a larger multi-disciplinary program of work aimed at solving a real-world challenge. This will allow graduates with varying backgrounds to work alongside and learn from each other in a truly multi-disciplinary environment. The program strives to develop entrepreneurial thinking and skill-sets earlier, where cross-pollination of ideas leads to breakthrough innovation.


The objective of the Next Generation Graduates Programs is to build a cohort-based, industry driven, multi-disciplinary graduate training program. A cohort will enrol at the same time and work on related projects (including from multi-disciplinary perspectives) tackling real-world challenges where the sum of the projects is greater than the parts.

Students will collaborate and to use peer-to-peer learning to leverage their different backgrounds and skills to create a rich and diverse research environment.

The first stage of the Next Generation programs will be recruiting universities and industry partners with impact driven projects. Students can then apply for scholarships to take part in these projects.

Priority areas

Programs will focus around a real-world challenge aligned with an Australian Government priority. The Australian Government has identified four priority areas for strategic focus to position Australia as a leading digital economy and society by 2030 [pdf · 9.2mb].

These are:

  • Digital SMEs – lifting digital capability and adoption across the economy to support new ways to work and do business. This will increase profitability and save businesses time.
  • Modern industry sectors – supporting globally competitive export sectors operating at the digital frontier, including manufacturing, mining, agriculture and construction.
  • Dynamic and emerging tech sector – building emerging technology capability and accelerating the growth of tech start-ups in areas like fintech and regtech that can drive an uplift in the rest of the economy.
  • Digital government and services – delivering simple, secure and trusted essential services for frictionless interactions.

Program proposals can also align with the Modern Manufacturing Strategy and National Manufacturing Priorities.

Round One programs

Read more about the first round of Next Generation Artificial Intelligence programs and Next Generation Emerging Technologies programs including program details, scholarship availabilities and program partners.

How to apply

For universities and industry partners

Round Two funding applications are now open for proposals intending to recruit students for intakes in January and July 2023.

For students

  • The programs will provide scholarships to domestic students (Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents) only.
  • Student recruitment starts in May 2022. To receive up to date information about how to apply to the program as details become available sign up now.
  • Student recruitment for each program will be managed by chief investigators from the university partners. Contact chief investigators listed with the successful Next Generation Artificial Intelligence programs and Next Generation Emerging Technologies programs for more information about scholarship applications.

Please visit our FAQ page for additional information and assistance. We constantly update the page as more questions come in.

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