With close to 50% of HDR students gaining employment in organisations beyond academia, it is critical that their HDR prepares them to succeed in both academic and industry environments.
To do this, they will need skills in research communication, collaboration, stakeholder management, project management and an understanding of industry contexts. These skills are highly sought by industry employers of HDRs and will give them the ability to apply their expertise to industry problems. Many of these skills are also critical for future success in an academic career, both for teaching industry-relevant courses, and to develop collaborations that create impact for society, the environment, culturally and economically.
Students can gain valuable skills and connections by engaging with industry. Engagement with industry can include internships of at least three months FTE either paid or unpaid, industry scholarships and/or industry supervision. To find out more you can email the team at HDR.Engagement@flinders.edu.au
There are many different types of organisations that are considered industry for the purposes of industry engagement:
Other higher education providers and organisations that are affiliated with or controlled entities or subsidiaries of a by higher education providers, such as research institutes, are not considered industry partners.
For more information about a research end-user refer to the Tertiary Collection of Student Information.
The Department of Education has placed an emphasis on greater research-industry engagement by HDR students and is monitoring universities’ performance through annual reporting. More recently the National Priorities and Industry Linkages Fund (NPILF) also highlights the government’s focus on increasing industry – university engagement with the particular outcome of job-ready graduates.
Supervisors have a key role in connecting and enabling HDR students to engage with organisations beyond academia. A conversation at the beginning of candidature about what your HDR student want to achieve and their aspirations, particularly career goals, will help you and your student identify relevant engagement opportunities and plan these into candidature.
Joint supervision – where a HDR student is actively supervised by a supervisor from an industry organisation. Recorded as an Industry Supervisor.
Joint or fully funded research – where the HDR research project is partly or fully funded by industry.
Industry Internships – a research internship is defined as a position within a research end-user where a student has undertaken research and development (R&D) activities related to their higher degree by research (HDR). A research internship can be either paid or unpaid, and can form part of an enrolment.
Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS)
IMNIS is a STEM and health related industry mentoring program. PhD students who have completed their confirmation of candidature can apply to work with IMNIS mentor.
Mentees accepted into the program complete a short survey and are then matched by IMNIS with an experienced industry leader who will be their individual mentor for the year. Mentees need to commit time to meet their mentor (1 hour per month for 12 months) and attend the 5 IMNIS events.
APR Intern for PhD students
APR Intern facilitate short-term PhD student industry internships to connect students with industry to gain experience in a practical research environment. PhD students can view available internship opportunities advertised at APR Intern.
On 12 May 2021, the federal government announced changes to Research Training Program Block Grant Funding to encourage greater industry-PhD collaboration through internships. In response, Flinders University is implementing new ways of supporting co-funded PhD scholarships with internships to research industry problems, including a pilot of a new scholarship – the PhD Enterprise Scholarship.
PhD Enterprise Scholarships involve:
For scholarships commencing in 2022, both Flinders and an industry partner(s) will contribute approximately $57,000 each to cover 3.5 years of stipend payments, plus any paid leave. Industry partners can also provide additional funding towards the scholarship to attract talented candidates in competitive markets.
For the 2022 pilot, 10 PhD Enterprise Scholarships will be available. The OGR will be working with College and Portfolio stakeholders to implement the PhD Enterprise Scholarships and aim to enable scholarship students to commence in 2022.
The processes currently being developed by the OGR for the PhD Enterprise Scholarships will also provide greater support to supervisors and industry partners seeking to develop bespoke PhD scholarships with internship arrangements.
Are you working with an industry partner who might be interested in co-funding a scholarship?
Expressions of interest for the pilot will close on 11 February 2022.
Enter the details of your potential PhD Enterprise Scholarship below.
Expressions of interest will be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Research, in liaison with the College HDR Coordinator as required.
If selected, we will work with you and your industry partner on:
A conversation at the beginning of candidature about what your HDR student want to achieve and their aspirations, particularly career goals, will help you and your student identify relevant engagement opportunities and plan these into candidature. You will need written confirmation of the planned internship duration and the research and development activities within the first 18 months FTE of candidature (36 months for part-time students).
A letter of agreement sets out the obligations of the University and its Staff, your organisation, and the PhD student regarding the internship.
If you agree to take a student on an internship, the terms in the agreement letter and appendices will set out the obligations of the parties: the University (including its Staff), your organisation, and the Student. Industry Partners can have an individual Letter of Agreement for one-off HDR student internships, or a Master Letter of Agreement (for up to 5 years) for multiple HDR student internships.
For PhD internships, a written agreement must be entered into by all parties within 18 months of the Student’s course commencement as a full-time Student, or within 36 months as a part-time Student.
An eligible industry internship is 3-months minimum (60 days full-time equivalent). However, the internship requirements and hours/days can be negotiated between the Principal Supervisor, student and host organisation. The agreed industry internship can then be undertaken by the student at any point during their course.
A research internship is defined as a position with a research end-user where a student has undertaken research and development (R&D) activities related to their higher degree by research (HDR). A research internship can be either paid or unpaid and forms part of an enrolment.
A research end-user is defined as an individual, community or organisation external to academia that will directly use or directly benefit from the output, outcome or results of the research.
Examples of end users includes businesses, governments, non-governmental organisations, communities and community organisations. Specific exclusions of research end-user are:
The level and technical knowledge of the Industry Supervisor depends on the type of student they are hosting. All students will require regular supervision, guidance, and feedback. Please refer to the Charter of Industry Supervisor for more information.
Internships work well when a student feels comfortable and safe in their workplace, and able to contribute to the organisation. When they know the expectations and understand what work will be completed for the project.
Expectations should be made clear at the initial interview including work and learning objectives, dress standards; work attendance; clear project outlines (if a project is to be completed); if working on-site, orientation to the workplace – toilets, refreshments and introduction to other staff. It is also helpful that other staff are aware of the student and the role they are to play.
A health and safety induction must be provided to the student upon commencement.
If possible, inclusion of students in all aspects of the work environment including meetings is highly valued. We ask students to act in a professional manner, show initiative and be willing to perform a variety of jobs.
Students undertaking an internship in a host organisation are bound by the standards of performance conditions in the host workplace. It is important that their workplace performance meets the needs of the host organisation. It is suggested that issues should first be addressed by the supervisor in the workplace, and if the issue(s) cannot be resolved, or if the concerns require discussion, please contact the Principal Supervisor and Office of Graduate Research HDR Engagement Coordinator.
To establish an internship with an industry partner, all parties will need to:
The Letter of Agreement is a legally binding document completed and signed by the PhD Student, Industry Partner and Flinders University. This agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of all parties.
The Internship Project Plan guides student’s work while on an internship is agreed to by the Industry Partner, student and supervising academic, and is the basis of a successful internship. The Work Plan should document the scope, objectives, deliverables, and proposed outcomes of the project and work schedule, and is not just a list of tasks.
The Industry Partner will be requested to share any relevant documentation relating the management of the safety of students while they are on an internship. This may include risk assessments, inductions, or training requirements.
Mid way through the internship you will be required to evaluate the student’s progress. The Office of Graduate Research HDR Engagement Team will forward an online evaluation form to be completed within 1 week. Evaluations should be filled out in conjunction with your one on one with the student to ensure any potential issues are raised and solutions are discussed. If you have any lasting concerns regarding the student’s progress, please contact the Principal Supervisor to discuss.
The Industry Partner will be asked to provide feedback regarding both the student’s performance, and the administrative arrangements from the University. An electronic copy will be emailed to them at the end of the internship. Their feedback will form part of the student’s progress and provide the student with valuable guidance in areas they are doing well in and areas they might need to improve.
Recognising IP is important. The Agreement signed by Flinders University and the host organisation ensures the ownership of any created IP remains with the host organisation, under specific conditions relating to the use of the IP for the student’s reports and assessment.
Industry Partners may also choose to request the student sign a confidentiality agreement. We are open to discussing how we can further support the protection of confidential and commercially sensitive is managed throughout the student’s internship.
Flinders University will ensure that it takes out and maintains public liability and professional indemnity insurance for the Student and its Staff.
The Industry Partner will ensure that it takes out and maintains appropriate public liability insurance covering the Internship Organisation in relation to any loss, damage or injury suffered by the Student.
If the Internship requires the Student to travel outside of Australia, the Student will be responsible for registering with Flinders University in order to access its Corporate Travel Insurance policy and otherwise ensuring that appropriate coverage is in place.
If the student is undertaking employment as their internship, they will be employed by the Industry Partner and as such, will be covered by the Industry Partner's relevant insurances.
There is no financial contribution required. However, they can offer a top-up stipend to attract talented students. For more information, please contact the HDR Engagement Coordinator at HDR.Engagement@flinders.edu.au.
No, there is flexibility in how eligible industry internships can be structured. They can be undertaken on-site, on-campus and online, and with both domestic and offshore research end-users
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The Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) has developed a number of resources and Good Practice Guidelines to provide information to the sector about industry engagement:
The Flinders University Doctoral Graduate Attributes provide more detailed descriptions of the skills developed by PhDs.
Industry engagement activities are proven to support development of these skills as well as providing opportunities for HDR students to expand their networks, explore potential career options and gain a new perspective on their research. As HDRs build their networks, these connections can flow through to supervisors as opportunities for future collaboration and potentially, to broaden the scope of their practice.
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