New Industries Fund: Science Industry PhD Fellowship grants

The Science Industry PhD Fellowships offer a $10,000 a year top-up to PhD scholarships for 3 years, where the student is actively pursuing research to solve an industry problem or create a new business opportunity in conjunction with a local company. Applications are currently closed.

New support for PhD students

The Science Industry PhD Fellowships program is an initiative under the Western Australian Government's New Industries Fund which supports PhD candidates to collaborate with an industry partner in a high growth area.

Under the program, PhD candidates will undertake a PhD research project on a topic agreed to by a company, the candidate and the host university. The nominated company will host the PhD candidate for a period agreed to by the candidate, host institution and company.

Aims

The program aims to encourage linkages between researchers and industry, add value to the PhD experience and strengthen collaboration and research impact in economic high growth areas, such as life sciences, cyber security, automation, including robotics and artificial intelligence, new energy industries, and data science.

How many fellowships?

A total of 23 fellowships have been awarded since the program began, with each fellowship providing up to $10,000 per annum over the period of the PhD (3 years) to selected students for undertaking a PhD that addresses relevant industry problems or creates new opportunities.

Applications

Applications for the program have closed.  

Round 2 recipients

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Round 2 (final round)

In August 2019, the Minister for Innovation and ICT; Science announced the second and final round of fellowship recipients. The projects include:

  • Researching technologies for WA's future battery industry.
  • Generating hydrogen fuel by creating artificial leaf cells in building cladding.
  • Creating environmentally sustainable systems to breed and grow rainbow trout.
  • Understanding how transport systems and traffic flow can be improved by autonomous vehicles.
  • Identifying genetic characteristics that will enable legume crops to cope with climate change.

For more information, visit the media statement "More students to work with industry to accelerate new technologies".

Recipients

Applicant: Sdood Al-auqaili

Institution: Murdoch University

Industry Partner: Magellan Power

Project Title: Stability evaluation and improvement of the connected standalone power system.

Project Summary:

Develop a method to increase the stability of networks of Stand Alone Power Supply Systems (SPSs), increasing the take up of SPSs and providing reliable power to regional and remote communities.

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Applicant: Sasha Anne Somashakaran

Institution: Murdoch University

Industry Partner: Crabtree Consultants

Project Title: Biological control of crop pests using next-generation precision biopesticides for horticultural and broad-acre agriculture.

Project Summary:

Create a new approach to control aphid and nematode pests in WA grain crops by combining two cutting edge technologies, gene silencing and nanotechnology. The project aims to deliver broad applicability for control of other pests and diseases and the capacity to keep ahead of the pests ability to develop resistance.

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Applicant: Omar Anwar

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Elixir Honey

Project Title: Remote beehive health monitoring using long-range communication technology.

Project Summary:

Improve and enhance the automation process of beehive health monitoring, and use state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms with an updated set of hive parameters to predict the health status of bees in the hive.

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Applicant: Gereltsetseg Enkhbat

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: PGW Seeds

Project Title: Diversity of subterranean clover (trifolium subterranean ssp. yanninicum) for waterlogging intolerance and other traits for increased pasture productivity.

Project Summary:

This research aims to improve the capacity of legume crops to cope with current and future climate variability by identifying the genetic characteristics that establish a resistance to climate change.

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Applicant: Bona Lim

Institution: Curtin University

Industry Partner: BHP

Project Title: Technospheric mining of critical and strategic metals from metallurgical by-products.

Project Summary:

Increase recovery of strategic metals and rare earth elements from metallurgical by-products, such as nonferrous smelting slag. The project aims to help meet the increasing demand for these materials for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, as well as providing increased income from the recovery of valuable products within waste materials and reducing the total volume of waste produced by industry.

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Applicant: Liam Cummins

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: FMG Autonomy

Project Title: Future of autonomous vehicle traffic and transport implementation.

Project Summary:

Understand how the provision of automated transport vehicles, such as transport and service fleets, can potentially help improve transportation and traffic performance in WA, as well as identifying the required upgrades to the road network infrastructure to realise these benefits.

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Applicant: Jiayue Li

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: OrthoCell

Project Title: Developing a 3D bioreactor integrated with Optical Coherence elastography for Musculoskeletal Tissue Regeneration.

Project Summary:

Design, build and experiment with a new 3D bio-print device that will help medical tissue regenerative technology realise clinical applications, including helping to provide patients with reliable and personalised joint therapies.

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Applicant: Grace Scullet-Dean

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: ALCOA

Project Title: Trace element geochemistry, mineralogy and geochemical modelling in bauxite residue during remediation.

Project Summary:

Identify the best combination of abiotic and microbial modifications in bauxite mining residue to drive rapid remediation of the material and soil development. The outcomes will also applicable to other mining and industrial residues opening up new revenue streams from tailings and reducing the environmental impact of mining and processing activities.

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Applicant: Saleh Kaji Esfahani

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: ATCO

Project Title: Technical feasibility of integrating a photoelectrochemical water splitting (artificial leaf) as part of a zero-energy residential building.

Project Summary:

Develop an external building panel that contains artificial leaf cells that will use sunlight to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. The panel will collect and transfer the produced hydrogen for heating and cooling inside the building.

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Applicant: Katarina Doughty

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Aquatic Life Industries

Project Title: Developing sustainable rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) aquaculture practises

Project Summary:

Create sustainable and environmentally efficient practices to house, breed, and grow healthy rainbow trout. The focus will be on the biology of trout during the lifecycle as well as the quality of the produce for human consumption.

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Applicant: Hossein Mohammadpour

Institution: Murdoch University

Industry Partner: WaterCorp

Project Title: Novel microbial-electrochemical filter (MEF) for upgrading biogas into biomethane.

Project Summary:

Develop an energy-efficient technique to convert carbon dioxide in waste material to methane. The efficiency of renewable methane production from waste material generation projects is expected to almost double, resulting in significant cost savings for waste-to-energy systems.

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Applicant: Behnaz Behi

Institution: Murdoch University

Industry Partner: Yaran Property Group

Project Title: Bidding strategy for a virtual power plant for trading energy in the national electricity market.

Project Summary:

Develop a bidding strategy for Yaran to trade energy generated from their virtual power plant (VPP) technology into the broader energy/electricity market. Currently, Yaran is establishing a VPP at their South Lake development site, which comprises 67 residential dwellings with a rooftop photovoltaic (solar) panels, controllable batteries, heat pumps and several smart appliances. Yaran will be managing the VPP through a cloud-based data system, combining different energy resources to minimise the cost of electricity for each dwelling, but the company does not have access to the broader electricity market.

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Applicant: Hamideh Hajiabadi

Institution: Edith Cowan University

Industry Partner: DPIRD and Grower Groups

Project Title: Digital methods for decision making when using semi-autonomous machinery in Australian agriculture.

Project Summary:

Investigate how to optimise the collection and analysis of agricultural datasets from semi-autonomous machinery and paddock-based sensors on digitally-enabled farms. A particular focus will be the application of the data analytics methods and machine learning techniques on large datasets.

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Round 1 recipients

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Round 1

In January 2019, the Minister for Innovation and ICT; Science announced the first round of Science Industry PhD Fellowships. The projects include:

  • Developing new materials to repair tendon damage.
  • Creating a smart home automation system.
  • Protecting critical infrastructure from cyber attack.
  • Promoting sustainable cultural tourism in the Kimberley.
  • Providing expert advice for beekeepers to maintain healthy hives.

For more information, visit the media statement "New Science Industry PhD Fellowships Program connecting industry with researchers".

Recipients

Applicant: Mohamed Ali

Institution: Murdoch University

Industry Partner: yStop

Project Title: A novel real-time dynamic crowd measurement system based on smart street furniture and social media.

Project Summary:

Urban societies have a continuous increase in population and human activities which leads to more frequent crowded scenes of pedestrians. Measurement of crowd dynamics is the most important factor toward achieving efficient crowd management and providing information to people on the street. Industry Partner, yStop, provides different cities in WA with smart street furniture such as smart bins displaying digital content. The project aims to develop a real-time group-based recommender system which is based on real-time measurement of crowd dynamics. The proposed system is scalable as it utilises the existing Internet of Things infrastructure of smart street furniture.

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Applicant: Najmeh Fayyazifar

Institution: Edith Cowan University

Industry Partner: Fiona Stanley Hospital

Project Title: Developing a novel deep learning architecture for automatic cardiac arrhythmia detection and classification.

Project Summary:

Cardiac arrhythmias are one of the most common conditions associated with cardiovascular diseases. Electrocardiographic (ECG) signal is a standard test used for monitoring cardiac activity and abnormality detection. However, due to the wide range of abnormalities in heart rhythm and also the low amplitude of ECG, a visual diagnosis of abnormalities in ECG is challenging for non-specialist physicians. The aim of this project is to build a neural network-based system that could be used to classify different types of arrhythmia. The system would benefit non-specialist and junior physicians in diagnosing cardiac abnormalities more accurately, thereby reducing the cost to individuals and the health system of misdiagnosis.

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Applicant: Behzad Heidari

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Orthocell Ltd

Project Title: Biodegradable scaffold systems with gradient properties for soft-to-hard interface tissue engineering.

Project Summary:

Tendon pathology occurs most frequently in sports-related injuries, such as rupture of the Achilles tendon. Tissue engineering approaches have successfully developed single tissue types, but there is a need for methods that will allow the development of composite tissues. Industry Partner, Orthocell, is an Australian regenerative medicine company and aims to develop a new composite scaffold based on one of its products, CelGro®. The main goal of this project is to produce and evaluate a different range of biodegradable scaffolds to resemble the original tissue. The platform will address several levels of injuries as well as targeting several age ranges.

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Applicant: Priyanjali Mithal

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Perth Clinic Trust

Project Title: Monitoring and implementation of innovative evidence-based interventions to reduce suicide risk by reducing self-harm among psychiatric inpatients.

Project Summary:

Self-harm is a behaviour that occurs during hospitalisation and is known not only to predict suicide attempts but also to markedly increase the probability of future attempts. This project will initiate a three-step program of research to build upon Industry Partner, Perth Clinic Trust’s, Australian Research Council-Linkage funded project on the monitoring of clinical deterioration. The primary outcome of the project will be to reduce clinical deterioration and lessen self-harm events while a patient is in hospital. In addition, the project will provide a “proof of concept” for prediction of self-harm using electronic monitoring that could be translated beyond the hospital using mobile technologies.

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Applicant: Timothy O’Grady

Institution: Curtin University

Industry Partner: Quantify Technology Ltd

Project Title: Testing the circular economy principals in the prefabricated constructed industry.

Project Summary:

The home automation industry has suffered a slow uptake in an area that was predicted to boom in recent years. The four main reasons cited for the lack of uptake are lack of awareness, fragmentation, security concerns and cost. There is also a gap in understanding the benefits that can be gained by the integration of home automation and the energy and subsequent cost saving that can be attributed to the adoption of automation. Industry Partner, Quantify Ltd, produce products which are adaptable and transform traditionally-wired houses into smart homes using a flexible wall switch that is connected to the WiFi network. The intended outcome of this industry fellowship is to increase the market uptake of home automation in the Australian construction industry.

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Applicant: Jonathon Stewart

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Jurcevic Consulting

Project Title: The use of artificial intelligence in emergency medicine (with a focus on deep learning and undifferentiated presentations).

Project Summary:

Over recent years, AI capability has progressed greatly, demonstrating the ability to significantly impact the practice of modern medicine. Despite these achievements, the integration of AI solutions with daily clinical practice remains underdeveloped. This project will test a new objective method to evaluate the appropriateness of imaging investigations for an individual patient in real-time, while also developing a local dataset and clinical quality registry to achieve this locally. If successfully implemented, the project will assist Western Australian clinicians to avoid wasteful intervention, adopt best investigation practices, and avoid unnecessary risks and harms to patients.

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Applicant: Navid Mavaddat

Institution: Edith Cowan University

Industry Partner: Lazcath Pty Ltd

Project Title: Simulation of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) signal propagation in heart tissues using Markov Chain Monte Carlo method.

Project Summary:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects 30 million people worldwide and is a significant problem in Western Australia. Amongst treatment options for AF, catheter surgical ablation is widely employed. However, there are challenges in using this procedure including excessive tissue damage which may lead to rupture of the pulmonary vein or heart wall. Industry Partner Lazcath Pty Ltd are a WA biotech company working with ECU’s Electron Science Research Institute (ESRI) to market a new hybrid fibre optic/radiofrequency catheter system which incorporates user-friendly driving software. This technology will assist cardiologists to perform a non-invasive microscopic assessment of lesion formation during ablation in order to avoid cardiac tissue damage. This project aims to develop a machine learning model that characterises the tissue without the need for costly and time-consuming in-vivo data collection.

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Applicant: Arne Adam

Institution: Curtin University

Industry Partner: Australian Institute of Marine Science

Project Title: Genetic hybrid models: Using ecological and genomic tools to model future coral distributions in Western Australia.

Project Summary:

Climate change and other anthropogenic stressors are pushing coral reef systems out of balance, threatening maritime industries based on tourism in regional Western Australia. This project is part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant where industrial, government and academic partners are collaborating to investigate the resilience of coral biodiversity to withstand future disturbances. This project will undertake species distribution modelling - the first time such an extensive study has been conducted in WA - and allow a flow of information between managers, regulators and research institutions, as well as communication of these ideas to the public through exhibits in the new WA Museum. In addition, the project will provide a new partnership with the WA aquarium industry by providing baseline datasets that can be used to sustainably grow WA coral fishery.

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Applicant: Bobbie Chew Bigby

Institution: University of Notre Dame

Industry Partner: Kimberley Institute Ltd

Project Title: Tourism trails and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge: Understanding the connection between sustainable indigenous cultural tourism and maintenance of Indigenous knowledge and traditions.

Project Summary:

The Kimberley region is increasingly becoming known for its stunning ecological richness and cultural diversity, attracting interest from travellers from throughout Australia and around the globe. The industry partner, Kimberley Institute, is an independent, Broome-based social innovation establishment that leads research into the Indigenous-led cultural economies and employment throughout the Kimberley. The aim of this project is to work collaboratively with the Karajarri Traditional Owners in developing a case study to understand how their community can engage with building a sustainable cultural tourism model that best fits their values, needs and priorities.

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Applicant: Clara Elisa Castanos Sanchez de la Barquera

Institution: University of Western Australia

Industry Partner: Bee Industry Council of WA

Project Title: Honey bee nutrition – Early detection of malnutrition and colony collapse.

Project Summary:

The European honey bee is the most economically important pollinator in the world. However, the number of managed honey bee colonies are in long-term decline in many parts of the world. Nutritional stress has been considered as an important possible cause of colony losses since nutritional health is essential for the structure and performance of the whole hive. One major issue for beekeepers is the early detection of what is termed the "skinny bee syndrome" when bees suffer nutritionally and become so unwell that they cannot recover easily. The project will identify molecular and biochemical profiles of nutritional honey bee decline and a report will be produced for beekeepers as a guide to physiological, behavioural and molecular indicators for the early onset of malnutrition in honey bees and advice on appropriate recovery supplements and timeframes.

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Applicant: Muhammad Imran Malik

Institution: Edith Cowan University

Industry Partner: Asterisk Information Security

Project Title: Malware detection in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) through nature-inspired metaheuristic algorithms.

Project Summary:

The exponential growth of physical devices exchanging data over telecommunication networks during the last decade has enabled such devices to be controlled by computers, either with minimal or no human interaction. This technological shift is referred to as Cyber-Physical Systems, and it redefines conventional cybersecurity. The project aims to develop a set of tools that would allow critical infrastructure service providers to identify threats facing their network in an automated, real-time manner, ultimately providing actionable intelligence to enable the mitigation of these threats. Our research is aimed towards the development of a framework and software toolset to facilitate detection of network-based attacks on the Cyber-Physical System by employing artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques. The proposed mechanism is expected to benefit critical infrastructure sectors such as the telecommunication providers, automated/self-driving cars network, and financial systems by helping identify cyber threats.

Page reviewed 16 November 2020