The University of Adelaide Industry PhD (UAiPhD)

Industry PhD

The UAiPhD is an exceptional and innovative 4 year program, which includes completion of a 6 month industry placement.

As a PhD student, you will have the opportunity to work on an industry problem, while being supported by a University of Adelaide supervisor and an industry supervisor for the duration of the program.

In addition, you will undertake selected professional development activities offered through the University’s Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) program or as directed by the industry partner. During your placement, you will gain valuable understanding on how organisations innovate and solve real world problems, and how you can make an impact with your research, while gaining a significant employment advantage.

Key aspects of UAiPhD

The UAiPhD is open to all potential PhD applicants. Some conditions may apply, however, and you are encouraged to view the individual projects below and discuss your interest with the Adelaide Graduate Centre. Applicants must also:

  1. Meet the University of Adelaide’s higher degree by research admissions criteria.
  2. Meet the University of Adelaide’s English Language Requirements at the time of application.
  3. Not have commenced a PhD program at the time of application. 

The University of Adelaide offers successful candidates a 4 year scholarship (equivalent to the RTPS rate or higher). In addition, many of our partners provide a top-up scholarship and/or additional funding for travel or research. Please see the below projects for more detail. 

There is a minimum length of time during which students will be placed with the industry partner comprising 6 months FTE (130 working days).

The industry placement may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis provided that students maintain their full-time enrolment status and complete the agreed number of placement days.

Applications for the current round close 31 August 2020. Following this: 

  • Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview between September and October 2020.
  • Successful candidates will receive an offer by November 2020. 
  • iPhD candidates will then be able to commence the PhD program in semester 1, 2021 (before 31 March 2021). 

Note: The industry placement may commence at any time following the confirmation of candidature, which occurs on satisfactory completion of the Major Review of Progress at approximately 12 months full-time equivalent (FTE). 

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Identify an Industry PhD project of interest from the available opportunities advertised below. Each project page contains specific application instructions. 

The Adelaide Graduate Centre’s Industry Research Placement Coordinator is available for advice on the application process: hdrindustryenq@adelaide.edu.au.

Some UAiPhD projects, such as the CSIRO-iPhD and EOC-iPhD are offered in competitive rounds. Out-of-round opportunities may also be available. Please consult this website regularly for updates.

*Supervisors or industry partners who are interested in creating an iPhD project may view the information below or contact hdrindustryenq@adelaide.edu.au

During the iPhD, students will undertake professional development activities as directed by the Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) Director or industry partner. Selected CaRST courses and activities may include topics in intellectual property, management/leadership, collaboration, entrepreneurship, research commercialisation and participation in the University’s 3MT thesis competition. For more information, please visit: Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST).

Additional activities may include networking events, attendance at industry meetings, professional association meetings, seminars and conferences.

Currently available projects

*Applications for the current industry round are now closed

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  • Faculty of Arts

    Adelaide-Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) iPhD

    Partners: University of Adelaide and the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission
    Scholarship: $28,092 p.a. 

    The University of Adelaide and the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission are offering an outstanding opportunity for up to 2 students in the upcoming industry round. Successful PhD students will have a strong academic track record in psychology, law, economics, social science, business management or other disciplines, to undertake a research project in an area that could enhance human rights and equal opportunity in our State. Students will have joint supervision from Dr Niki Vincent, the SA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, and a University of Adelaide supervisor.

    The EOC and The University of Adelaide offer a wide range of research topics from various disciplines. We invite you to view the full list of specified research themes. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Various 
    School: Various 

  • Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS)

    Halloysite Nanotubes for High-Performance Batteries

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Andromeda Metals Limited
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    Because of dwindling supplies and pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels, the search for alternative clean energies is becoming the spotlight of worldwide research. This has led to an upswell in demand for storage of electrical energy, particularly in advanced batteries that have practical potential for grid-scale applications. Safety and cost concerns about organic media-based Li-ion batteries are the key public arguments against their widespread usage. Aqueous batteries (ABs), based on water which is environmentally benign, provide a promising alternative for safe, cost-effective, and scalable energy storage, with high power density and tolerance against mishandling. However, the ABs suffer from the problem of inadequate energy density. This project aims to investigate novel low-cost and high-performance ABs using natural halloysite clay, which can be modified to replace current electrodes, electrolytes and separators in ABs. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao
    School: School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials (CEAM) 


    The impact of customised athlete-equipment interfaces on movement variability and learning in Paralympic sport

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Paralympics Australia
    Scholarship: $28,092 p.a. 

    There has been a large increase in public interest, funding, and research in Paralympic sport over the last 10 years. Customised athlete interfaces (e.g. wheelchairs, boat seating, hand-cycles), and individualised equipment have been shown to have a significant impact on performance of elite athletes with disabilities. For example, Haydon et al., (2019) demonstrated that a systematic (Robust design) approach in sports engineering could improve the positioning of wheelchair rugby athletes, resulting in on-court performance improvements for elite athletes with many years of experience. However, due to i) considerations of competitive advantage, and ii) the individual nature of this work with athletes with widely varying physical impairments, these studies are rare and very little is currently known about the impact of seating changes on movement variability and skill learning. Paralympics Australia are looking to establish a PhD program to explore these issues further. This work will focus on elite participants from a wide variety of wheelchair court sports (e.g. wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball) and racing sports (e.g. hand-cycling, para-triathlon, para-rowing). For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Grimshaw
    School: School of Mechanical Engineering


    Resilience modelling for critical water infrastructure – Decision support for assessing and mitigating cyber threats

    Partners: University of Adelaide and SA Water Corporation and SA Power Networks
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    As we move towards a more technologically oriented society, digital infrastructure has become more complex and interdependent. There is an ever-increasing connectivity that links critical infrastructure for water supply systems over geographical regions and with those of the power supply sector. In parallel, there is a move towards a more centralised management model reliant on communicating data and information across water supply networks.

    This reliance on technology and digital operations has also attracted unwanted attention, with critical infrastructure such as water supply system and energy grids becoming prime targets for cyberattacks. Such attacks are differentiated from naturally occurring or accidental events as the critical infrastructure is the access point to an attack and can cause cascading effects that can affect multiple dependent services, operations and infrastructure. More importantly, an attack may not be initially identified and several systems may be affected before any alarms are raised.

    While individual companies take steps to secure their business and operations and safeguard systems, there is a need to more fully understand potential systemic impacts of malicious events and their broader social and economic implications. The proposed research is focused on achieving a more complete understanding of cyberattacks against critical water supply infrastructure – what areas are most vulnerable; how do events cascade through networks and what other key infrastructure is at risk, how will these risks change over time, and what can be done to mitigate these risks. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Professor Holger Maier
    School: School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering


    A framework for digital engineering of future systems - from strategy to systems architecture

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Shoal Group Pty Ltd
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    Systems engineering is moving to a digital approach, where traditional document-based and disconnected design is replaced with an information-centric design approach, where key design artefacts are linked to digital data and models (SERC 2019). The vision is for “digital engineering” to span from project conception to retirement, however, there are a range of practical issues to address in the implementation, application and employment of digital engineering across the system lifecycle. This project will explore the problem and create a framework for future digital engineering design. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Professor Stephen Cook
    School: Adelaide Business School 
    Co-supervisor: Dr David Harvey (School of Mechanical Engineering) 


    Upscaling atomic layer etching from the bench to full fabrication

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Silanna Semiconductor Pty Ltd 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    This iPhD project will focus on the optimisation and scaleup of semiconductor production, in particular optimising etching of the atomic layer to allow cost-effective manufacturing, and development of a commercially viable system. Current continuous etching processes can be optimised to provide surface uniformity and film smoothness, but it is inherently difficult to correct for all atomic layer etching factors simultaneously. Typically, atomic layer etching processes are batch where the reactants are introduced sequentially through a set of repeated self-limiting rates. The challenge in undertaking atomic layer processes for high-volume semiconductor manufacturing is that the required process rates are typically very slow, up to several orders of magnitude less than continuous etching processes. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Professor David Lewis
    School: School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials


    Semiconductor based photo-/electro-catalyst materials for water splitting - materials design and synthesis

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Silanna Semiconductor Pty Ltd 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    This iPhD project will focus on developing efficient semiconductor-based photo -/ electro -catalyst materials for water splitting, which material can be produced and modified on a large scale. 

    Hydrogen as source of energy is attracting world-wide attention, but commercially and environmentally sustainable process for mass production of hydrogen remain elusive. The challenge for producing hydrogen from water is the slow-moving water dissociation kinetics and inadequate catalysts, which is exacerbated by the catalyst's low efficiency and high costs of production. The challenge is to achieve efficient low -cost electro catalysts that ultimately could be used to split seawater, which represents ~96% of the world's available water.

     A major challenge with splitting seawater is the resultant evolution of chlorine occurring on the anode, which competes with the evolution of oxygen. There is a need to develop highly durable, efficient, low-cost non-noble metal electrocatalysts to evolve hydrogen from water. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Yan Jiao
    School: School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

  • Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS) - Projects under the Flexibility Aggregator Simulation Platform (FRESNO)

    Flexibility Aggregator Simulation Platform (FRESNO)

    The “Flexibility Aggregator Simulation Platform (FRESNO)” is a research project that is designed to create a platform to simulate, test and verify advanced smart grid operation mechanisms at the distribution level. It is a revolutionary platform that is hoped to facilitate larger amounts of renewable integration into the grid and provides a secure environment for larger adoption of electric vehicles. Three major research problems are identified in collaboration with SEAS-NVE to develop the first version of FRESNO. Outlined below, the three PhD projects (A, B, C) will be conducted simultaneously and in close collaboration with each other.


    Optimal Bidding in the Wholesale and Local Markets (FRESNO A)

    Partners: University of Adelaide and SEAS-NVE Holding A/S (Denmark) 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    FRESNO A – This project aims to develop/test/verify an optimal bidding engine for an aggregator that can collect a sufficient amount of increased welfare, essential for developing a viable business model and investment in infrastructure. Different ideas will be tested in this project with the main focus on the wholesale energy and ancillary services markets by addressing the low-profit margin and uncertainties of the wholesale market and demand flexibility. The impact of various local and wholesale market products, cooperative aggregators operation and physical constraints of the grid will be investigated in the proposed business model. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani 
    School: School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


    Prosumers’ Price Response Modelling (FRESNO B)

    Partners: University of Adelaide and SEAS-NVE Holding A/S (Denmark) 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    FRESNO B – This project aims to develop, test, and verify statistical models based on machine learning techniques (e.g., stochastic reinforcement learning) to quantify prosumers’ responsiveness to time-varying prices in real-time. This is with consideration of new flexibility and uncertain sources behind-the-meter, namely rooftop PVs, stationary batteries and electric vehicles. In modelling prosumers’ behaviour, external factors such as weather conditions, load rebound effect, time and type of the day should also be accounted for in the model. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani 
    School: School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


    Local Energy and Ancillary Services Markets (FRESNO C)

    Partners: University of Adelaide and SEAS-NVE Holding A/S (Denmark) 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    FRESNO C – This project aims to develop, test, and verify the impacts of local markets on the operation, profit and business model of the aggregator. To that end, the game theory will be used to form the interaction between prosumers, local market platform and the aggregator operation considering the potential of islanded operation as a business case for the aggregator. Cooperative and non-cooperative games will be explored to investigate the impact of the local market operation on the flexibility of prosumers in connection with the aggregator. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Ali Pourmousavi Kani 
    School: School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


     

  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

  • Faculty of the Professions

    A framework for digital engineering of future systems - from strategy to systems architecture

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Shoal Group Pty Ltd
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    Systems engineering is moving to a digital approach, where traditional document-based and disconnected design is replaced with an information-centric design approach, where key design artefacts are linked to digital data and models (SERC 2019). The vision is for “digital engineering” to span from project conception to retirement, however, there are a range of practical issues to address in the implementation, application and employment of digital engineering across the system lifecycle. This project will explore the problem and create a framework for future digital engineering design. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Professor Stephen Cook
    School: Adelaide Business School 
    Co-supervisor: Dr David Harvey (School of Mechanical Engineering) 


    Adelaide-Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) iPhD

    Partners: University of Adelaide and the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission
    Scholarship: $28,092 p.a. 

    The University of Adelaide and the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission are offering an outstanding opportunity for up to 2 students in the upcoming industry round. Successful PhD students will have a strong academic track record in psychology, law, economics, social science, business management or other disciplines, to undertake a research project in an area that could enhance human rights and equal opportunity in our State. Students will have joint supervision from Dr Niki Vincent, the SA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, and a University of Adelaide supervisor.

    The EOC and The University of Adelaide offer a wide range of research topics from various disciplines. We invite you to view the full list of specified research themes. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Various 
    School: Various 

  • Faculty of Sciences

    Tracing subsurface ore deposits through the isotope analysis of regolith/cover: Coupled Cu and S isotope approach applied to a rock-soil-water-plant system

    Partners: University of Adelaide and Geological Survey of South Australia (GSSA) 
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    Many base metals and critical mineral resources in Australia, hosted in subsurface depositional systems or basement rocks, remain still undiscovered and unexplored (see Geoscience Australia Record 2018/51). This is mostly due to the fact that about 80% of the Australian continent is covered by a regolith, or a veneer comprising younger sedimentary rocks and soil sequences (typically a few hundred meters to several kilometers thick), also called the cover. The fact that prospective ore deposits and metal- bearing systems are predominantly located under this extensive cover creates a major challenge for mineral exploration, but also an excellent opportunity for future mineral discoveries. These however rely on novel exploration approaches and innovative analytical techniques, which enable us to ‘see through the cover’ to locate those hidden subsurface ore deposits. To address these challenges, this project aims to apply and test novel isotope tracers for mineral exploration, specifically stable copper (Cu) and sulfur (S) isotopes, which will be analyzed in regolith systems developed above prospective areas. For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Juraj Farkas
    School: Earth and Environmental Science


    Integrating remote sensing platforms for seagrass change detection

    Partners: University of Adelaide and South Australian Water Corporation
    Scholarship: $38,092 p.a. 

    Seagrass meadows are hotspots for marine biodiversity and provide a range of ecosystem services to humans. Seagrasses however are sensitive to environmental stressors, acting as sentinel indicators of changing conditions. This project will investigate how to optimize the use of drones, aerial photography and satellite data for mapping seagrass as a proxy of coastal ecosystem condition and trajectory. The project aims to provide a proof of concept of how different remote sensing platforms can be integrated in delivering seagrass products of use to adaptive management of coastal regions.  For more information click here

    Primary Supervisor: Dr Kenneth Clarke
    School: School of Biological Sciences

Additional information 

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  • Creating an iPhD project

    The call for new iPhD projects in 2020 is now closed – deadline 28 June 2020

    We are inviting proposals from Supervisory Teams to participate in the next round of The University of Adelaide Industry PhD (UAiPhD) program. Research proposals must be suitable for a four-year PhD project and address an industry problem. Supervisory Teams must include a University of Adelaide and Industry Supervisor. 

    Once approved, projects will be advertised in July-August 2020 in order to recruit students, with shortlisted candidates to be interviewed before offers are awarded. The students would then be able to commence in 2021.

    Application Instructions

    In order to apply for a project under the iPhD program we require the iPhD Student Agreement to be completed (the proposal) and signed by the proposed industry partner, which includes the identification of the Industry Supervisor (including their CV if they are not currently registered with the University). Industry supervisors must meet standard university requirements for external supervision. If the proposed industry supervisor does not have a PhD, they must be an expert in their field and able to contribute to the academic direction of the program; this assessment will be made by the Dean of Graduate Studies and based on the supervisor’s prior qualifications and work experience and the recommendation of the relevant School. 

    For additional details on this program, including assessment details and other information, please see the Program Specifications. You may also contact us anytime at hdrindustryenq@adelaide.edu.au for further details.

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  • Information for students

    Project design

    The research project and industry placement are developed in collaboration between the industry partner and the University supervisors. Projects will have an industry focus while complying with the University’s usual requirements for a PhD program. The combination of industry relevant research and placement training provides an invaluable opportunity for students to engage with real world problems.

    Recognition on academic transcripts

    Successfully completed UAiPhD placements will receive official recognition from the University of Adelaide.

    Completion of the UAiPhD program, including the placement and compulsory CaRST activities, will be reflected as a statement on the academic transcript. In addition, completion of a placement, of the required number of days in duration (130 working days), will be reflected as a statement on the academic transcript.

    Assessment

    Project assessment

    The iPhD project will be assessed through the following activities (in addition to the usual schedule of milestones, which all higher degree by research candidates complete):

    • Mid-term Project Presentation: Mid-way through the project, the student will give a short presentation to both the University and the industry supervisor on the progress of the work, a reflection on their challenges and achievements, and a proposed plan for completion. The due date for the mid-term presentation will be set at 18 months FTE from candidature commencement.
    • Final Project Presentation: At the end of the program, the student will give a formal ~30 minute presentation summarising the overall outcomes of the work. The due date for the final presentation will be set at 36 months FTE from candidature commencement.
    • Final Project Report: The student’s final report will be submitted prior to thesis submission. It will be focused on the entirety of the iPhD experience including both project and placement components. The report is to be approved and acknowledged by all parties (student, University supervisor and industry supervisor).
    Placement assessment

    The iPhD placement will be assessed through the following activities:

    • Final Placement Report: The iPhD placement will require submission of a final report by the student. The report is to be approved and acknowledged by all parties (student, University supervisor and industry supervisor) and submitted to the Graduate Centre within 1 month of placement completion.
    • iPhD Impact Statement: Students are required to complete a short “iPhD Impact Statement” to highlight the benefits obtained through undertaking the placement.

    Intellectual Property (IP)

    Prior to the placement, an agreement regarding intellectual property (IP) covering both the research and placement components of the degree must be agreed to and verified by all parties. Typically, students will assign any project and placement IP to the industry partner, while any background research IP will be retained by the student/University.

  • Information for University supervisor

    Key expectations

    • Collaborate with the Industry Partner to develop a suitable PhD research proposal and industry placement
    • Provide support and supervision to the student in collaboration with the industry partner
    • Evaluate and sign the student’s final reports
    • Attend the student’s mid-term presentation
    • Attend and evaluate the student’s final presentation
  • Information for industry partner

    Key expectations

    • Collaborate with the University to develop a suitable PhD research proposal and industry placement
    • Offer the student guidance regarding training opportunities, career development, and advice on navigating the industry overall
    • Provide a minimum financial contribution of $10,000 per annum towards a Scholarship stipend/top-up and cover operating costs for the duration of the placement
    • Ensure provision of at least one industry supervisor who is registered on the Supervisor Classification and Reporting System (SCRS) for the duration of the placement
    • Evaluate and sign the student’s final reports
    • Attend and evaluate the mid-term presentation
    • Attend and evaluate the final presentation
    • Complete an “iPhD Impact Statement” to express the impact and outcomes of the placement on your organisation
  • FAQs for students

    What academic background should I have?
    The UAiPhD is open to all PhD students, in all disciplines.

    I am an international student, can I participate in an iPhD program?
    Yes, however, you should be aware that some industry partners have restrictions on international student participation e.g. CSIRO.

    Can I do my placement on a part time basis, for example, 1-2 days per week?
    There will be a minimum length of time during which you will be placed with an industry partner comprising 6 months FTE (130 working days). A placement may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis provided that you maintain your full-time enrolment status and complete the agreed number of placement days.

    What kinds of organisations are eligible to participate in a UAiPhD?
    Eligible organisations must be research end-users according to the Australian Government’s definition. This generally includes most organisations within industry, government, NGOs, or community organisations, although it excludes some organisations such as research institutes or other higher education providers and their subsidiaries. Other universities and educational institutions are not considered to be research end-users.

    If you are unsure if an organisation is eligible, please contact the Adelaide Graduate Centre for more information.

    When can I start my industry placement?
    A placement may be scheduled at any time following the confirmation of candidature, which occurs on satisfactory completion of the Major Review of Progress at approximately 12 months full-time equivalent (FTE).

    Will I be compensated for the additional length of time expected for program completion due to an industry placement?
    The UAiPhD program has a four-year duration, which allows additional time beyond the standard PhD completion timeframe of 3-3.5 years to undertake the industry placement.

    Can the outcomes of my placement be included in my PhD thesis?
    No, the outcomes of the placement are not to be included in your thesis. Whilst your placement may be cognate to your PhD research topic and will draw on the skills learnt in the PhD, the placement is a distinct undertaking and cannot be used as a proxy for additional time to work on your thesis.

    How is completion of the iPhD recognised on my academic transcript?
    Completion of the UAiPhD program will be reflected as a statement on your academic transcript as follows: <YYYY Completed the University of Adelaide Industry PhD (UAiPhD) program>

    Completion of a placement within the UAiPhD will be reflected as a statement on the academic transcript as follows: <YYYY Completed Industry Placement 130 days >

  • FAQs for industry partners

    How long are industry placements?
    Industry placements within the iPhD program are 6 months FTE or 130 working days in duration.

    What is my financial obligation as an Industry Partner?
    For an industry partner, there is a minimum financial contribution of $10,000 per annum towards a Scholarship stipend/top-up. Where the partner is a community or not for profit organisation, an ‘in-kind contribution’, or waiver may be considered as an alternative.

    How are the projects developed?
    Projects are developed in collaboration between the industry partner and the University supervisors. Projects will have an industry focus whilst complying with the University’s usual requirements for a PhD program.

    A placement agreement, which clearly defines the schedule, learning objectives and assessable outcomes, etc., must be agreed by all parties prior to placement commencement and no more than 12 months from the student’s start date in the iPhD.

    If you are a University supervisor or Industry Partner interested in establishing a new iPhD project, please contact HDR Industry Enquiries at hdrindustryenq@adelaide.edu.au.

    What is the University of Adelaide’s policy regarding Intellectual Property (IP)?
    Prior to the placement, an agreement regarding intellectual property (IP) covering both the research and placement components of the degree must be agreed to and verified by all parties. Typically, students will assign any project and placement IP to the industry partner, while any background research IP will be retained by the student/University.

  • Useful links

  • Further enquiries

    For any other enquiries about the UAiPhD Program please contact:
    HDR Industry Enquiries
    Email: hdrindustryenq@adelaide.edu.au
    Tel: +61 8 8313 9127
    Free-call: 1800 061 459