Linking research students with industry key to building Australia’s innovation system

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) has welcomed the recommendations proposed in a new report to improve and strengthen Australia’s HDR training system.

Established by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), the report entitled Securing Australia’s Future – research training system review, highlights the pivotal role research students play in building our national innovation system.

“ATN universities have long been advocates of connecting research students with industry,” says ATN Executive Director Renee Hindmarsh.

“As a consortium, we have actively taken the lead in bridging the university-industry gap through initiatives like the ATN Industry Doctoral Training Centre (IDTC).

“The IDTC provides a blueprint for future research training models that produce highly employable graduates with the skills of tomorrow,” she says.

The program incorporates a 4 year PhD program combining a traditional PhD thesis with training in professional and broad technical skills required by industry.

“Our students are armed with the crucial skills required in the work place that they can use to ensure their expertise makes a real difference in the wider world.

“It is pleasing to see the report also calls for a simplified, uniform approach to intellectual property arising from placements. Last week, the ATN made a major announcement to remove the barriers to collaboration by releasing its national standardised IP principles, and it is great to see our universities are seen as the exemplar in this space.

“The ATN supports the recommendation to give greater flexibility to the funding structure of HDR training, given the mismatch in the length of scholarships and the typical duration of HDR training.

“We welcome measures to improve accessibility to HDR training and support for Indigenous Research Students,” Ms Hindmarsh says.

“We also support the review’s recommendation of implementing a national industry placement scheme for HDR candidates, which will help create a pipeline of HDR graduates who have an understanding of both the research world and industry.”

With almost two thirds of our research income coming from industry over the past five years, the ATN understands the importance of university and industry collaboration and has consistently been a leading voice in promoting partnerships between industry and research to ensure we remain competitive on a global scale.

“We look forward to continuing to work with industry and the Government to implement the report’s recommendations,” says Ms Hindmarsh.