CSIRO has revealed the 12 technology areas it is targeting with a new university scholarship program launching next month, as the science agency seeks to arm the next generation of home-grown researchers with emerging technology skills.
165 university scholarships will go to students working on “real world” AI and emerging technology challenges ranging from mental health and digital privacy to smart manufacturing and the metaverse. A Sydney quantum industry development challenge has been allocated the largest intake of students.
The scholarships come from CSIRO’s Next Generation Graduates programs, with one focused exclusively on AI while the other is opened to other emerging technologies. CSIRO has funded these with $4.2 million and $6.2 million respectively, while more than 75 industry and university partners will add another $5.8 million.
Round one of the programs will fund 165 scholarships for honours, masters, and PhD students studying at 14 universities. CSIRO expects to eventually offer at least 480 scholarships over six years through the Next Generation Graduates program.
The Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Graduates program offers scholarships across five challenge areas. These are AI in mental health, improving school finishing, advanced manufacturing, device and IoT data science, and systems analysis and automation.
University partners in the AI program include Monash, the University of Melbourne, Western Sydney University, UTS, ANU, Deakin, UNSW, Curtin and RMIT.
A range of companies will partner with the universities and CSIRO, ranging from small local AI companies to global hyperscale cloud computing giants.
Similarly, round one of the Next Generation Emerging Technologies program includes a wide range of university and industry partners across seven more challenge areas, with Swinburne, QUT, Macquarie, James Cook University, and USYD joining the second program.
CSIRO’s Data61 director, professor Jon Whittle said the Next Generation Graduates program will bolster the AI and emerging technology skills of Australia’s next generation of researchers.
“This program offers university students a unique opportunity to be a part of a multi-disciplinary team and work across industry, research and the university sector,” Professor Whittle said.
“Students will be solving real-world challenges with industry and research experts as well as a diverse range of other honours, masters and PhD students in a truly multidisciplinary environment,” Prof Whittle said.
The programs will provide scholarships to Australian citizen and permanent resident students only. Enrolments will be managed by program chief investigators and their university, with CSIRO anticipating they will open next month.
The challenge area with the most scholarships is “creating the next generation of quantum technology specialists”, with 24 places on offer. 16 are for honours students, three for masters and five for PhD scholarships.
The Sydney Quantum Academy will lead the challenge area, which looks to provide the “framework to holistically develop the quantum technology industry, from hardware and software to responsible innovation”.
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