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Government of South Australia - Department of State Development


    Developing the next generation of research leaders in critical technologies

    The South Australian Government has partnered with the state’s major universities to establish two Industry Doctoral Training Centres (IDTCs).

    Based on the UK Centres of Doctoral Training model, this $2 million, four-year pilot program was developed to build a research and innovation workforce that is aligned to industry needs and to enable mobility of talent between research and industry.

    Recognising the influence that critical technologies are having on economies across the globe, the IDTCs have a focus on two growing fields – biomanufacturing, and industrial application of quantum technologies.

    A total cohort of 30 domestic and international students from different research fields are completing their PhD research projects in partnership with a business from their chosen industry sector.

    Each student has been matched with both a research supervisor and an industry mentor to develop the transferable skills required to deliver ground-breaking research, develop innovations for translation to market, and gain an understanding of how research applies to industry.

    The South Australian Government has appointed two organisations to deliver IDTC Plus programs that complement students’ studies with key insights into industry requirements and expectations, and interactive learning sessions to build their knowledge, leadership and research translation.

    MTPConnect is delivering the PhD Plus program to participants of the biomanufacturing stream, while Shalau Consulting is delivering to the quantum stream.

    The students are invited to sessions, roundtables, industry events and site tours designed to augment their learnings and give them the opportunity to network and build connections with their fellow PhD students, while learning from and engaging with a diverse range of professionals.

    The sessions cover a variety of topics, including:

    • strategy and planning
    • product and process development
    • translation and impact
    • commercialisation
    • science communication
    • leadership and awareness
    • policy and the regulatory environment
    • project management.

    Surveys conducted with both students and supervisors in the first 12 months of the two pilots showed that the program is exceeding expectations across the board.

    Students made improvements in their communication and socialisation skills, confidence, and motivation to work harder by having insights into the work of colleagues and the translational outcomes of research. The opportunities for research and development, local networking and research collaboration are highly valued.

    The feedback for the IDTC Plus program was overwhelmingly positive, with students identifying the key benefits of access to knowledge, information, and experiences that will be valuable in a future career, new connections, and opportunities to engage in research-industry partnerships.

    They also value the practical application of their research and opportunities to establish industry connections and potential career prospects. Most students plan to seek employment in industry after their PhD.

    University supervisors see the program as an ideal opportunity to work with industrial colleagues – for example, to undertake a project with a small local company that would otherwise not have participated in research – and a valuable opportunity for students to develop additional skillsets.

    Industry supervisors value the program for fostering a culture of collaboration, networking, new connections and partnerships, a better understanding of university capabilities, and opening doors to additional partnerships and research opportunities.

    The Industry Doctoral Training Centre pilot program is supporting a future workforce that provides South Australia and Australia with a clear competitive advantage – accelerating productivity growth, creating well-paying jobs and securing supply chains.

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