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PhD program open for 2024 applications

Round three applications for the Australian government's National Industry PhD Program encouraging research co-design between universities and industry are now open.

The program was built in response to university research delivering knowledge and innovation opportunities to the industries PhD candidates were studying.

The first two application rounds last year saw 70 PhDs funded, with a goal to fund 1,800 PhD over 10 years.

The scholarships are for candidates who wish to study 'challenges faced by Australian industry', which Assistant Education Minister Anthony Chisholm calls a positive investment.

"Modelling shows the potential for $10.6bn in revenue for business, and a return on investment of $4.50 for every dollar invested in collaborative research with a university," the minister said.

"This will add $26.5bn to the Australian economy and support more than 38,000 full-time jobs – a more diversified workforce and opportunities for Australians."

One scholarship candidate, National Industry PhD Monash University program supervisor Dr Leonie van ‘t Hag, is collaborating with Great Wrap, a compostable cling wrap company, to develop compostable alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.

Dr van ‘t Hag said through the partnership, her research will convert food waste into biopolymers that can be used to manufacture packaging materials, contributing to Australia’s circular carbon economy.

Chief executive of Great Wrap Jordy Kay said the two parties are also focused 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 said.

This program offers two 'streams', one 'industry linked' stream where outstanding PhD candidates can study in an industry setting and complete a 12-week program, and another 'industry researcher' stream where industry professionals can partner with a university to research while retaining employment and salary benefits.

National Industry PhD Workforce Mobility Pyramid. Supplied: Australian Government

The scholarships are part of a move towards 'workforce mobility' that hope to develop research translation skills and boost post-PhD employment prospects.

Applications will close on March 15.

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