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FAQ: Next Generation Graduates Programs

No, they are separate scholarship programs. The Next Generation Graduates Programs are funded by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). To learn more about Data61 scholarships, visit

The programs are only available to students enrolled in full-time study.

The Next Generation Graduates scholarships are available to domestic students (Australian citizens and Permanent Residents) only. However, the Data61 scholarships are open to international students who are currently residing in Australia.

The scholarships are offered to eligible postgraduate students pursuing an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF8 – AQF10) qualification at Honours (AQF8), Masters (AQF9) or PhD (AQF10) level.

The programs offer two student intakes per year (February and July) with the first intake commencing in July 2022 and the last intake commencing in February 2024. There will be a total of four intakes throughout the programs.

The intent of the programs is for the students with varying backgrounds to come into a cohort-based, industry driven, multi-disciplinary environment, enabling peer-to-peer learning and ‘baking-in’ an entrepreneurial mindset. The themes of the cohorts will bind the students and collaborators together, making it larger than a single research project.

The students will be recruited in cohort groups cross-institutionally, the size of which will be dependent on demand from industry partners, scale and scope of the research questions and alignment with national priorities. We anticipate multiple universities will collaborate and assemble a cohort of students, however, the Next Generation Graduates team will also assist with the process of assembly of the cohorts.

Data61/CSIRO will announce a call-for-applications, highlighting the themes, the programs will then invite industry partners and universities to participate. Industry and university partners are expected to submit cohort project proposals to the programs for consideration.

A cohort of students is a group of students, an expected minimum of 10, who enrol at the same time and are working on related projects that tackle a real-world challenge.

When enrolling through a cohort program the students are expected to collaborate with each other and to utilise peer-to-peer learning, expanding on their different backgrounds and experience to provide a richer research environment.

It is expected that universities and partner organisations will build a cohort by identifying a real-world challenge that has the potential for many student projects, where each student contributes to solving the challenge (including from multi-disciplinary perspectives) and where the sum of the student projects is greater than the parts.

Example of a cohort program - an application for the ARC ITTC grant

Yes! It is expected that applications will come from research collaborations and therefore we would anticipate multiple applications from universities based on disciplines and research groups.

Chief Investigator (maximum of 6 per program/consortium)

  • CIs will commit a minimum of 0.05FTE of their time and take responsibility for the overall research program and intend on providing supervision for one or more students within the program

Investigator (maximum of 20 including the CIs per program/consortium)

  • Investigators will commit to providing support for the program and form part of student supervisory teams.
  • Investigators include designated people from partner organisations

An individual investigator (Chief Investigator or Investigator) may be named on no more than two (2) applications for each of the Next Generation AI or Next Generation Emerging Technologies Programs. Consideration should be given to capacity to deliver if more than one application is successful.

Data61/CSIRO will be coordinating the programs, acting as a hub for collaboration – providing a place centrally for the cohorts of students to meet and facilitate multi- and cross-disciplinary and cross-cohort research being carried out.

Data61/CSIRO will also provide student mentoring and interested Data61/CSIRO research staff will also be available to co-supervise of students.

Data61/CSIRO will develop and deliver the initial nine weeks of coursework for the Master of Philosophy and PhD students, and organise regular seminar series available to all students.

The Next Generation Graduates team will also act as a convener for industry and universities, facilitating collaborations that may not otherwise happen.

Enrolment type PhD Master of Philosophy Masters (RTP Qualified Program)1 Honours & Coursework Masters2 
Research Duration 3.5 years 2 years 1 year 1 year
Industry placement 6 months 3 months 20 days 6 days
Stipend rate (p.a.)3 $40,500.00           $40,500.00 $30,000.00 $10,000.00
Training (p.a.) $5,000.004 $5,000.00 $5,000.00 $5,000.00
Travel (total) $5,000.00 $5,000.00 N/A N/A
Thesis allowance (total) $840.00 $420.00 N/A N/A
Partner contribution (total) $60,000.00 $37,500.00 $13,300.00 $7,500.00
CSIRO contribution (total) $106,046.70 $59,729.72 $21,700.00 $7,500.00

  1. Masters Programs at AQF9 where the second year research component qualifies for an RTP
  2. 1 EFTSL research project similar to honours that is part of a coursework masters degree

  3. 1.8% indexation has been applied to stipends for Master of Philosophy and PhD students to be covered by CSIRO contribution.

  4. PhD Training allowance is $5,000 per year for three years.

No, this is not a top-up scholarship. The Next Generation Graduates Programs offer fully funded scholarships that cover student stipends and allowances.

The Next Generation Graduates Programs Round Two funding applications are now open for proposals intending to recruit students for intakes in January and July 2023. The application guidelines and templates are available for download now.

Data61/CSIRO will centrally collect and manage funds from DISER and industry partners, and distribute to university partners to pay the stipends. The host university is expected to offset the tuition fees for Domestic Higher Degree by Research students (Master of Philosophy and PhD). Honours and Coursework Masters students should be managed as per University usual processes.

Funding may be provided by Universities on behalf of Small Businesses and Start-up companies under the following circumstances:

  1. Small Business means an Australian-owned and managed organisation which has fewer than twenty full-time employees who reside in Australia. The business must have a staff member who is based in Australia capable of providing the required student supervision.
  2. Start-up means a company that is commercialising research and development (R&D) activities and has an average annual revenue over the previous two years of income that does not exceed $5 million per year. The start-up must have a majority of its employees (by number) and assets (by value) inside Australia. The business must have a staff member who is based in Australia capable of providing the required student supervision.
  3. Data61/CSIRO may require more information as to the proposed funding and placement arrangements in order to make a determination on the application.

Yes, as long as there are no limitations on the cash contribution. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that its provision of the cash contribution to the Program is not contravening any limitations upon use of the cash contribution due to other government financial assistance or any other requirements under any funding rules that may be applicable to the cash contribution.

All projects will be covered by a Collaboration agreement, entered into by the host University, industry partner(s) and CSIRO. Where the University and industry partner host multiple students, a single agreement will be used, with Project Schedules attached for each relevant project.

It is anticipated that an overarching multi-institutional agreement will include broad IP considerations as follows:

  • all parties will retain ownership of any background IP;
  • all parties will be allowed free licence to program IP unless otherwise stated in a project schedule;
  • students will own the copyright to their thesis; and
  • specific IP provisions can be determined at a project level between the parties involved in the project.

The programs will be publicised through Data61, CSIRO and National AI Centre channels, as well as through universities and other participating institutions. The industry top-up is expected to attract high-calibre students interested in working on industry-relevant PhDs, Masters and Honours projects.

To form a training pipeline, students completing an Honours or Masters by Coursework program will be offered the opportunity to meet with leading academics to discuss their potential career path, and possible progression to a Master of Philosophy or PhD program.

All students (Honours, Masters by Coursework, Master of Philosophy and PhD) will apply to the Next Generation Graduates Programs to participate in a specific cohort. The application and matching process varies slightly, between Honours, Masters and PhD programs.

The process for enrolment will be as per the host university’s requirements. Students will commence in the Next Generation Graduates Programs after the students have been onboarded at the university. The onboarding and early activities will differ depending on the Honours, Masters or PhD training programs.

Yes. Leave entitlements of students who hold the Next Generation Graduates scholarships are unaffected and will follow the entitlements in line with the policies of the host university and RTP guidelines.

All students will be approved by both university and industry partners, in addition to the Next Generation Graduates Programs prior to enrolment.

Host universities will be asked by the program to assess the candidate’s eligibility and notify the program of the outcome. If the student is eligible, based on both the university’s requirements and those of the program, the student will be provided an agreement with the program/CSIRO to enter the program.

Master of Philosophy and PhD candidates are required to undertake a compulsory nine-week coursework program – developed, led, and managed by Data61 – which will allow for students from a diverse range of backgrounds to learn from each other and develop the foundational skills required for an AI or digital technology program. The intent of the program is to embed the cohort experience and build strong relationships among the students. The courses may include subjects such as ‘AI 101’, ‘Ethics in Technology’, ‘Entrepreneurship in Technology’, ‘Data-centric Engineering’ and ‘Data and Decisions’.

The delivery of the coursework program will include keynotes from leaders in industry and academia and provide real world problems and examples for the students to explore. The content is under development, and Data61 will be working with universities to ensure alignment with existing programs.

Students enrolled in one-year research programs (honours, coursework masters) will be required to undertake a selection of the coursework - primarily keynotes and seminars of interest with the anticipated commitment to be half a day per week for four weeks.

The selected students will be co-supervised by a host university supervisor, industry supervisor and CSIRO supervisor (optional), and will spend time working directly with industry partners.

All students are required to complete an industry placement with the industry partner of their program. The commencement date and timing of the placements for individuals in a cohort may vary on a project basis depending on requirements set by the industry and university partner(s). The industry placement will be decided in collaboration with the student, the supervisor and the industry partner to ensure that it is appropriate for all parties.

Examples of industry placements are as follows:

  • PhD student Melissa is working on a machine learning project with a large consulting company. After commencing the project Melissa met with her University supervisor and partner supervisor to discuss the placement where it was decided that she would spend one day per week with the consulting company working on her project.
  • PhD student Paul is developing new machine learning methods with applications in geosciences, his industry partner will be a government agency that oversees Australia’s geological resources. Discussions between Paul, his University supervisor and the government agency determined that Paul would be best placed to work for the first year with his University supervisor on the foundational aspects of the project and then he would work with the government agency one week/month for the second and third year of his candidature.
  • Masters student Rose is working with a mining company to identify and build areas of automation within one of their mines. Due to the workplace health and safety, logistics and intellectual property considerations of Rose accessing the mining site in regional Australia she must undertake placements for 2-3 weeks at a time to maximise her impact and align with mining operations.

All of the examples above were impacted by the border closures and lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic – these placements were adapted to be ‘virtual placements’ as appropriate in line with the new ways people have worked in the past 18 months.

Before the commencement of the project, the industry partner(s) must sign a contract for the life of the program. In the case where an industry partner disengages, the Next Generation Graduates team will discuss with the supervisors and the students if there is an alternative arrangement that can be put in place.

The locations of the students will be dependent on their supervisory arrangement and how the project is designed to be carried out. Students are encouraged but not required to sit with their cohorts at CSIRO offices in major cities in Australia. We will encourage universities and industry partners to offer remote or mixed attendance for students with specific needs.

The programs seek to bolster diversity with targets set around the inclusion of women, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and students from rural, regional and remote communities. Data61/CSIRO can provide regional travel allowances to reduce the barrier to entry for regional and remote candidates.

International industry partners will be considered on a case-by-case basis with consideration given to legislative requirements when engaging with international partners.

Students receiving a Next Generation Scholarship are expected to endeavour to remain in or seek work in Australia following completion of their Next Generation Scholarship.

Students receiving a Next Generation Scholarship must commit to maintain contact with the CSIRO for up to two years, for reporting and evaluation of outcomes relating to the Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduates Program and the Next Generation Emerging Technologies Graduates Program.

Each University will use best endeavours to ensure compliance with these requirements, including each University clearly communicating these expectations to its Students prior to their involvement with the Programs.

To be determined

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