Government subsidised intern program could increase your business efficiency

Every business has a challenge that reduces productivity and defies fixes. What if you could have a PhD student working on your challenge?


Whether it is the lack of suitable software, a weak link in distribution procedure, an inefficient process during manufacturing, or a mystifying technical issue that is affecting output, knowing how to fix something and having the means to fix it are sometimes two separate things.

It could be a great idea that needs thorough research before being out into practice. Many businesses just don’t have the time, or resources to pay for the necessary skills, to create change.

What if you could have a PhD student working on your issue or idea, with their pay heavily subsidised, and their work monitored and assisted by an academic supervisor?

The APR.Intern program places PhD students into industry to work on tightly-focused, 3-6 month industry research projects. Open to all research disciplines, program participants have previously worked on many industry projects in Engineering, Business Analytics and Computer Science areas, all relevant to the METS sector.

The first step toward engaging an APR.Intern is to speak with one of the business development advisors attached to the scheme. They will guide the entire process, but will start by helping you develop a project brief.

Defining a specific problem you need to address will help APR source student and mentor teams from over 30 member institutions, such as the University of Newcastle.

Next, you get to interview and select the right candidate for your needs, and a detailed project plan, including objectives, milestones and details is developed and agreed upon by you, your new intern, their academic mentor and APR.

With APR standing by for regular check-ins and problem solving, your project will begin. A progress report at the mid-point of the internship will allow everyone to review approach and plans for completion, whilst a final report will detail results and outcomes.

The best thing about the APR.Intern scheme is that everyone benefits. Industry partners don’t employ the interns; they stay enrolled in their PhD program and receive a stipend. Mentoring academics also receive a small research grant. The whole project cost counts as research funding income for academics and bolsters their research track record when they apply for further funding.

Under this scheme, a PhD student works full-time on an industry research project for up to five months. The Industry Partners receive a funding rebate covering up to 50% of the project cost, which is $13,000 for a five month project (half of the cost of $26,000). Five months is the maximum project length however in special cases APR.Intern can offer a month extension to six months.

A four month project costs $23,000 with a rebate of $11,500 while three months costs $20,000 with a rebate of $10,000.The cost to industry is also likely to be claimable under the R&D Tax incentive, representing great value for industry partners. Plus, you end up with a solution to that niggling problem that has been affecting output for so long.

To learn more about the APR.Intern program, check out the website here


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