Graduate Student Professional Projects

Inspire the next generation of emerging talent, our graduate students, while realising your organisation’s goals.

Our Graduate Student Professional Projects provide access to some of Australia’s best and brightest minds across the fields of Biotechnology, Data Science and Environmental Science to organisations ranging from public/private industry, governmental, and not-for-profit.

Teams of final year Master’s students work collaboratively to deliver innovative and tangible solutions to your organisation’s ‘real-world’ business challenges, supervised by the University of Melbourne’s leading academic staff.

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What are the benefits to your organisation?

  • Access graduate students with cutting-edge knowledge
  • Expand your talent pipeline and employee brand
  • Dedicated student team providing solutions to your unique challenges
  • Receive a detailed report and presentation of key recommendations
  • Opportunity to connect with academic staff and engage with the University’s world-class technology and research
  • No cost to your organisation
This is not simply an academic exercise. This is working in real life – live business issues that we’re trying to address today. Bringing in the students gives us the opportunity to have a fresh pair of eyes, fresh perspective, fresh energy and perhaps even some knowledge and experience of the very latest thinking that’s coming up through academia that we’re not aware of. Paul Davies, CSL

What does a professional project look like?

It’s up to you - our partners define a project of value to their organisation and provide a project brief. Once a project is confirmed, we form a team of 3-5 students and assign a leading academic who will support the group throughout the project. Our teams receive intensive training prior to commencement and throughout the project to ensure they are equipped to deliver results.

Projects can be hosted locally and/or overseas and run across the full academic year (March to October – approximately 20 weeks). Meetings, progress reports and other interactions with the student team are all at your discretion, with students generally completing the bulk of the project offsite.  A final report and presentation are delivered in October.

What can our graduate students do for you?

We offer three streams of specialised study across our professional project suite.

three people in a laboratory with lots of wires


Students in their final year of the Master of Biotechnology have developed an understanding of the technologies at the forefront of emerging biotechnology industries, as well as commercialisation, regulation, leadership and decision making. They are most often involved in projects in the biological, pharmaceutical, agricultural, food and device industries.

Examples of past projects include:

  • New biomaterials for a medical device
  • Market intelligence of complementary technology companies
  • Determine regulatory landscapes for new drugs
  • Business case for a microfluidic device
We actively engage in the development of young people seeking to establish careers in the biotechnology industry. We offer projects that deliver research and results that will help us to deliver on our strategic goals. Bard1

Some previous industry partners

Data Science

The Master of Data Science equips students with the technological abilities and analytical skills needed to manage and gain insights from large and complex collections of data. Students in their final year are suited to projects including data exploration and visualisation, statistical inference, model building for prediction and classification, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Examples of past projects include:

  • Identifying effects of disease symptoms and environmental factors for disease prediction in agriculture
  • E-commerce data analysis for modelling customer behaviour to improve retention and user experience
  • Computer vision algorithms for identifying objects in user photographs for more efficient customer support
  • Using machine learning for predicting patient outcomes
  • Solving floor space allocation as a large-scale optimisation problem
  • Improving Australia's pollen forecast using a machine learning approach
  • Lifetime alcohol consumption trends to inform policy
Studying in Arts West Building

Some previous industry partners

The data science student team provided helpful support for us to deconvolute our complex dataset from lipidomics and proteomic studies. Their diligent work helps us unbiasedly understand insights from the vast amount of data. Hence we can focus on what we are good at in the whole R&D process. This collaboration has the potential to speed up technology development and commercialisation. Herbert Foo PhD, Trajan Scientific and Medical

The program has been a terrific opportunity to engage with world class students and challenge them with real world problems that can be solved using data science. It was great to watch the students grow through the experience, particularly as they were able to deliver real value for our organisation. Chris Howard, Ixom

woman crouching in a field with a sample bag

Environmental Science

Final year Environmental Science students have developed skills in analysis, communication, environmental risk assessment and problem-solving. They are uniquely placed for projects tackling natural resource challenges, climate change and energy and data/GIS environmental modelling.

Examples of past projects include:

  • Exploring the impact of human-induced environmental change on ecosystem health
  • Human biomonitoring of exposure to persistent environmental pollutants
  • Developing an environmental assessment methodology for water quality
  • Mapping environmental contaminants
  • Creating and analysing surveys to provide sustainability recommendations to Victorian businesses

Some previous industry partners

Sounds great? What's next?

Contact the Careers and Industry team to find out how we can collaborate to achieve your organisation’s goals.

Contact us

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the timeline?

    Project briefs can be accepted at any time of the year. However, projects commence for Biotechnology and Data Science in March each year. Environmental Science projects can commence in either March or August each year.

    For a project to commence in March, your project brief needs to be submitted by 1 February to ensure there is adequate time to review and confirm the project. This will also ensure the University’s Vocational Placement Letter Agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions, managing confidentiality and assigning of intellectual property, is in place.

    There is a mid-year check in at the end of May with a final report and presentation to your organisation in October. Hosts will be asked to submit formal feedback on the project at this time.

    Timeline of industry project process

  • Who will own the intellectual property?

    The intellectual property remains with the host company with permission for the student to use the work as part of their studies and assessment.

  • Why is it free and what’s the catch?

    There is no catch. You are providing a genuine learning opportunity for students to work on a real-world problem of strategic relevance to your organisation. In addition to receiving credit towards their degree, the students also enhance their professional skills by completing the professional project.

    Within the project, students conduct research and analysis to provide recommendations that may be implemented by your organisation at a future date. They are not completing any day-to-day work tasks which would normally be undertaken by an employee.

  • I am not located in Melbourne. How will this work?

    Being based in Melbourne is not a requirement. Professional projects are generally undertaken off site, so location is no barrier for engaging a team of students.

    Many organisations have remote employees, and similarly, our diverse student population is located around the globe.  We have successfully completed projects based in several interstate and international locations.

  • Can I hire students on my project team?

    Yes. This would be an employment agreement between the student and your organisation.

  • Can I, or my organisation, host multiple concurrent projects?

    Yes.  If you or your organisation has the capacity to support multiple projects, we are happy to assign multiple project teams to the same host contact/organisation. Because science crosses many disciplines, some hosts have had concurrent projects in Biotechnology and Data Science, as well as Environmental Science and Biotechnology.