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|Geoff Prince, head of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute,
expects 1000 research students a year to be placed with business. |
Photo: The Australian Financial Review
The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), which operates a PhD internship scheme, said that a new commitment from eight universities to fund the scheme will drive the rapid expansion.
AMSI director Geoff Prince said the scheme, called AMSI Intern, would place about 100 research student in internships this year.
"At maturity we should be able to place 1000 students a year around Australia," he said.
The scheme began by placing only mathematics and statistics PhD students into internships. But it now works with students in a wide range of disciplines – including engineering, finance, IT, biotechnology, environmental science, marketing and business – and places them into all business sectors.
Professor Prince said the expanded scheme would help lift Australia's poor record in establishing partnerships between university researchers and business.
Australia is currently ranked 29th out of 30 countries in an OECD ranking of university-business collaboration on innovation.
Under the AMSI Intern scheme research students are placed with a business for four to five months to find solutions for specific problems. Students are mentored by an academic supervisor during the internship which meant that academics built ongoing relationships with companies.
"In general companies pay all the costs, which are eligible for research tax breaks," Professor Prince said.
A five months internship costs the business $25,000. This is made up of $3000 a month to cover the student's stipend (the student is not employed by the business), a $5000 fee to the university for the cost of mentoring and a $5000 fee to AMSI Intern.
AMSI says that the internship scheme has a 97 per cent business satisfaction rating.
Source: The Australian Financial Review