Industry PhD researchers? The Australian Government wants to transform big ideas into better business

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The Australian Government is looking for researchers and businesses with big ideas for new and innovative solutions to tackle real-world challenges to apply for Round Three of the National Industry PhD Program. Applications close on 15 March 2024.

Assistant Minister for Education, Senator Anthony Chisholm, said the program allows PhD candidates to work with universities and industry partners on innovative projects that will benefit all Australians.

An Industry PhD is a doctoral program designed with an industry application. Under appropriate academic and industry supervision, PhD candidates undertake a co-designed research project with university and industry participation.

Investment in ideas that benefit all Australians

The Australian Government is investing $52 million in the National Industry PhD Program to create an additional 1,300 Industry PhDs over 10 years. It’s estimated the scheme will generate $10.6 billion in revenue for businesses.

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“To date, the Government’s National Industry PhD Program has helped industry and universities work together on more than 70 projects to develop a new workforce skilled in transforming Australian world-class research into new products and services,” Assistant Minister Chisholm says.

“The program’s third round will continue to help support PhD candidates produce ideas that will develop solutions to some of the challenges facing our country and is an important part of our government’s efforts to see Australian research translated into tangible benefits for our nation.”

Assistant Minister Chisholm says Australia produces a wealth of world-class research that must be fully harnessed so that we can develop the next great invention – “following in the footsteps of life-changing Australian innovations like the cochlear implant and Wi-Fi”.

“Current projects being supported through the National Industry PhD Program include the manufacture of a cattle feed that reduces methane emissions and the use of robotics in warehousing,” he says.

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Wrapping up the problem of food waste

Through the program, PhD candidates will develop the knowledge and skills to commercialise high-level research into innovative solutions.

Monash University’s National Industry PhD Project Supervisor, Dr Leonie van ‘t Hag, is undertaking a pioneering research project to create compostable cling wrap project.

“This exciting research partnership will develop a process for converting local food waste into biopolymers for packaging materials, which would in turn contribute to Australia’s circular carbon economy.” Dr van ‘t Hag says.

Chief Executive Officer of Great Wrap, Jordy Kay, is working with Dr van ‘t Hag and is focussed on replacing petroleum-based plastics with a compostable alternative.

“Research is critical to support the optimisation of materials, as well as keeping an eye ahead on what is coming down the line.” Mr Kay says.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]