Graduate researcher value in COVID-19 industry settings

Recent examples of PhD and Masters by Research students solving companies’ business problems reinforce the benefits they can bring to any business.

One example of a successful collaboration connected a PhD student with Australian Vinegar, a company that has created boutique vinegars using waste food and clever science. The researcher joined the company’s fermentation scientists, exploring wasted hydrocarbons and turning turn them into either food, food ingredients or agricultural industrial chemicals using vegetables and fruit and juices that were destined for the ground. Australian Vinegar engaged the research scientist through an Entrepreneurs’ Programme grant.

In another example, Pacific Bio, a sustainable aquaculture company in Far North Queensland, was paired with James Cook University. Using a research grant into macro-algae production to target pollutants, the company was able to develop technology for waste solutions in a range of sectors.

Other companies have recognised these benefits and are currently seeking graduate researchers for the following projects through APR.Intern which includes a 50% Australian Government rebate to participating companies. Due to COVID-19 all of these organisations have agreed that the projects can be undertaken remotely:

Organisation Project



Preservative Free Dips:

To modify existing dip products to remove potassium sorbate and maintain or improve existing shelf life and flavour.





COOL Process:

To research to quantify impact of an inventive process for the abatement of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.





Electronic, Electrical and Software Development Engineer:

To research and develop electronic products engaging circuit design, software construction into prototype and commercial actualisation. Projects targets encompass research in industrial automation, advanced device design, use of novel materials and manufacturing.





Machine Learning on Financial Time Series:

To identify cause and effect relationships among financial time series data with focus on machine learning techniques including RFs, SVMs and ensemble methods. Scope will include development of a set of software solutions to test and analyse the findings.





The State of the Social Sciences Report:

To identify Australia’s current capabilities and critical future issues in the social sciences through data analysis and preparation of a policy-focused report.





Build a Better Future Through Tyre Recycling by Researching Community and Environmental Risks:

To study the use of recycled tyres in order to assess and manage risks, real and perceived, to the community and environment while maintaining the viability of recycling markets.





Critically Review UniSuper’s Existing Product Revenue and Cost Attribution Methodology:

To critically review the design and implementation of existing product revenue and cost attribution methodology including allocation of overhead cost to products for compliance with superannuation regulations as well as process efficiency to ensure it is fit for purpose and consistent with industry best practice.



As industry adjusts to a COVID-19 environment and transforms, adopts advanced technologies and changes its work organisation, business problems will need to be solved. Graduate researchers have long been a rich source of high-level knowledge and ideas for businesses needing solutions to both product/service ambitions and roadblocks.

They possess the knowledge, intellectual abilities, techniques and professional standards to undertake new research that can assist companies in complex fields of learning. Their capabilities can enable them to work on and solve industry-defined problems or generate new knowledge that leads to innovation and commercial outcomes. They offer companies flexibility, with the potential to be involved through their entire candidature or for more discrete periods via a placement or internship.

Company involvement with graduate researchers can realise the additional benefits of providing access to academic supervisors with specialist knowledge; building talent pipelines; and attracting funding/scholarship options, rebates and tax concessions.

By accessing researchers through the Innovative Manufacturing CRC, businesses can receive even further financial support for APR.Intern-sourced researchers.

See for further information, contact APR.Intern or Ai Group’s General Manager of Education and Training Services, Anne Younger:

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Anne joined Ai Group as an economist and is currently our General Manager, Education and Training. She is responsible for policy development and major projects addressing members’ education and training issues. Anne previously managed Ai Group's national team of Enterprise Connect Business Advisers charged with helping SMEs to improve productivity. Holding a Master of Education (Educational Leadership and Management) and a Bachelor of Economics, Anne worked for over 25 years in the VET sector in policy, research, training and quality management roles before joining Ai Group. She is a Board member of Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA).

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