La Trobe's new PhD with a difference

La Trobe University has launched an innovative Industry PhD program that builds stronger connections between a broader range of Australian businesses and our best young research minds.

The new program, which was developed in conjunction with industry, embeds PhD students in the workplace and empowers them to undertake high quality research on real challenges facing industries.

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said like other programs post graduate research students are placed into the science and technology sectors, but the La Trobe program went a step further by taking a broader approach to industry partnerships.

“Under this scheme businesses from all sectors of the economy - including law, government, education, the environment and the not for profit sector – are all able to benefit from partnering with La Trobe to help innovate, solve problems and find new opportunities,” Professor Dewar said.

“We understand that the role of a modern university must adapt and evolve to meet the challenges of our transforming economy.   We need to focus on skills, not just simply on qualifications. And we need to work in collaboration with industry – so that we can be sure that our graduates have the skills and attributes that industry need.

“Our program has multiple benefits – for the university, for graduate students and for industry.

For industry, the program aims to solve industry-relevant problems at a commercially relevant pace, in a cost effective way, while maintaining the academic rigour of a La Trobe PhD.

“Graduate researchers can equip themselves with knowledge and skills necessary for rewarding careers, whether within academia or industry. The will develop outstanding practical research translation skills, and a deep understanding of the nexus between research and industry.

“By working alongside industry leaders, they will develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills, build networks, and create career options beyond their PhD.

“For La Trobe University, the program means that we are helping to build an innovative future workforce, build economies and foster innovation,” Professor Dewar said.

The program was formally launched by Mark Laurie, Managing Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, who is participant in the program. Other partners include SensaData and Incitec Pivot Ltd who are working with La Trobe graduate researchers to apply sensing and machine learning methodologies to business problems.

More information on the program is available at the University’s website.