Engage with industry

Industry engagement is increasingly important to future careers of HDR students, whether or not they intend to work in academia. Employers from all sectors report that researchers who apply for jobs have difficulty articulating the skills they have gained during their research degrees from the research itself (Edge & Munro, 2015; McGagh et al., 2016; Nous Group & Australian Technology Network of Universities, 2017). At the same time, demand for transferable skills like digital literacy and critical thinking has grown over recent years (Foundation for Young Australians, 2016) and employers are also reporting difficulties in finding employees that deliver the skills they need (Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, 2012).

To be career-ready you will need to demonstrate that you have, and can put into practice, transferable skills such as:

  • Project management
  • Problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Digital literacy
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership - and many more

This section provides guidance on engaging with industry during your research degree, and on strategies to expand your networks and develop your skills so that you can be industry-ready when you graduate.

Training and workshops

Each semester, QUT's Graduate Research Education and Development (GRE+D) team host a number of events designed to help you engage with industry and innovation. All are specifically for HDR students and workshops are available in a number of modes, including online. Topics range from transdisciplinarity to entrepreneurship. Information about workshops and events is sent fortnightly to your student inbox in the GRE+D email alert.

e-Grad School is a virtual graduate school providing flexible, moderated, online modules to research students and is free to all QUT HDRs. Modules to help you engage with industry and innovation include research commercialisation, entrepreneurship, and public policy. Run over five weeks, these and other modules give you the chance to network with peers from universities around Australia while building your industry-engagement skills. Successful participants receive a certificate of completion. Like GRE+D training and events, information and registration for e-Grad School modules will appear in the GRE+D fortnightly email alerts, delivered to your student inbox.

Working with a mentor

Mentors can be incredibly helpful in introducing you to professional life, new research practices, and expanding your network. They also help break down barriers between academia and industry and can help you develop skills such as communication and leadership. Mentoring can take different forms, from informal chats with an experienced and trusted professional, to a formal arrangement such as those organised through IMNIS (The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM). GRE+D fortnightly email alerts promote networking opportunities at QUT as they arise.

QUT Internships

With a QUT internship you can put your skills to work on a funded project while under examination. You'll collaborate with industry and an academic mentor to develop a three-month project, which you'll work on when your thesis is being examined. Internships are open to both MPhil and PhD student, and domestic and international candidates, but places are limited. Register your interest or email hdr.intern@qut.edu.au for more information.

Industry engagement events

Each year, QUT runs a range of events designed to introduce HDR students to industry projects and partners. The GRE+D fortnightly email alert will keep you informed about upcoming events.

Further reading

Australian workforce and productivity agency. (2012). Australia's skills and workforce development needs. Retrieved from: https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/future-focus-australias-skills-and-workforce-development-needs-discussion-paper-2012.pdf

Edge, J., & Munro, D. (2015). Inside and outside the academy: Valuing and preparing PhDs for careers. Retrieved from: https://ucarecdn.com/630eb528-90d0-49c4-bfe9-5eacea7440b7/

Foundation for Young Australians. (2016). The new basics: Big data reveals the skills young people need for the New Work Order. Retrieved from: http://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/The-New-Basics_Web_Final.pdf

McGagh, J., Marsh, H., Western, M., Thomas, P., Hastings, A., Mihailova, M., & Wenham, M. (2016). Review of Australia's research training system. Australian Council of Learned Academies: Melbourne, Australia.

Nous Group, & Australian Technology Network of Universities. (2017). Enhancing the Value of PhDs to Australian Industry: Report. Retrieved from: https://www.atn.edu.au/siteassets/publications/atn01-phd-report-web-single.pdf