A research internship is where you will work on a paid or unpaid research project with an industry partner.
Research internships are an excellent opportunity to apply your research skills and theory in a practical manner and expand your networks and employability by working on short-term industry research projects.
Finding an internship opportunity
It is important to discuss research internship opportunities with your supervisory team as early as possible and aim to secure an internship with the support of your supervisor and the research end-user (partner organisation) within the first 18 months of your enrolment (or within 36 months if you are part-time).
Some of the ways you can find an internship opportunity include:
Self sourced: Your supervisors may have ideas on a suitable industry partners to work with that may complement your research. Alternatively, you can contact an organisation directly and follow our step-by-step guide.
Biodesign Australia (iPrep) is an industry and PhD Research Engagement Program that provides PhD students the opportunity to gain industry experience while using skills gained in their PhD to solve an industry problem. The program provides you with new opportunities to network, build professional networks and enhance employability skills.
ICP is an industry and science collaboration centre located at Curtin University, with the vision of advancing digital transformation through an open innovation ecosystem. The program connects students to real-world industry projects, supporting them where needed by academic supervisors and industry experts.
A research doctorate student who is completing a Doctoral Degree (Research) or Doctoral Degree (Professional) qualification may be eligible to claim up to $4,000 for undertaking an eligible internship.
To claim the internship incentive, your industry-based research project must meet the following criteria:
The internship must be a minimum of 3 calendar months in duration, and at least 60 full-time equivalent (FTE) days of engagement;
The project must be related to your area of research and comprise of research and development activities;
A signed internship agreement within the first 18 months of course commencement (or 36 months for a part-time student).
You can undertake your 60 day industry internship at any point throughout your degree, but you must satisfy all requirements before you complete your course.
Internship frequently asked questions
A research internship can help to inform your research thesis, opens up employment pathways, and allows you to apply your research to real-world problems.
Furthermore, if you meet all the eligibility criteria, you could earn an internship incentive from Curtin University up to $4,000 for undertaking a paid or unpaid research internship.
Whilst research master’s students are not eligible for the support funds, they are encouraged to undertake an internship opportunity. Research master’s students who transfer to a doctoral degree and have met the research internship criterion may be approved to access the support funds.
Internships are encouraged for all PhD students.
An industry-sponsored PhD program is considered an eligible internship.
International students are eligible to undertake internships, but they must do so within the requirements of their visa. Accordingly, they must remain enrolled for the duration. On shore students will need to ensure they can accommodate an internship within their existing study requirements. Offshore students may have additional flexibility, but will not be eligible for the internship incentive.
The internship must be undertaken during the PhD enrolment in order to be considered eligible; prior experience/internships are not considered as eligible.
There is no additional time for the enrolment; however, note that the internship format can be quite flexible, e.g., one day per week, remotely undertaken, etc. so long as the minimum 3 months/60 days is met.
As long as the activity being undertaken is a research activity with an eligible research end-user and an internship agreement is in place within the first 18 months of enrolment (full-time equivalent), this would be an eligible internship.
There is no maximum time for the internship; however, students and supervisors are encouraged to manage time appropriately to ensure successful and timely completion of the PhD.
Visit the TCSI Support information for more information. Note the specific exclusions of other higher education providers, organisations that are affiliates, controlled entities or subsidiaries of higher education providers, and equivalents (international or domestic) of these exclusions.
Yes, so long as they are occurring with an eligible research end user, for at least 3 months/60 days, and an internship agreement is put in place within the first 18 months of enrolment (full-time equivalent).
Internships can be reported at Milestones 1 or 2, and verified at Milestone 3; the Milestone report forms have been updated to reflect this. As this information is captured at each Milestone, the internship ultimately undertaken can differ from that proposed at an earlier Milestone.
GRS will have a Project Coordinator on staff to facilitate internship contracts. GRS has developed several template agreements to aid in securing internship agreements. Note that the ADVCR is the authorised delegate for sign-off of internship contracts.
This should be set out in the internship agreement. Curtin has prepared template agreements including relevant provisions for IP.
Initially, the focus from GRS is to ensure that the governance framework and process to manage internships is implemented university wide. There will be a Project Coordinator in GRS allocated to managing internships from this perspective.
As we move forward and the process becomes embedded, there may be additional scope for this support. Through the Partnerships team within ROC, there will also be a stronger focus on incorporating internship opportunities in major partnerships and future partnership negotiations.
While it is unlikely that paid internships for a 60 day period will impact on scholarship/stipend payments, all students are encouraged to check any tax implications of this for their own due diligence. Students who are on externally funded scholarships are encouraged to check their scholarship terms to ensure there are no restrictions that would prevent the student undertaking the internship – both in terms of finances, or other considerations with the scholarship provider.
Students who are enrolled on a scholarship may continue that scholarship and receive additional top up funding for their internship. Students may also receive funding directly from the internship provider by way of employment. In both cases, as long as there is no breach of scholarship terms, and the student has undertaken their own due diligence on potential taxation implications, both are acceptable.