CSIRO, industry, unis splash $16.2 million on 165 tech postgrads

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CSIRO, industry, unis splash $16.2 million on 165 tech postgrads

The CSIRO, industry partners and Australian universities will spend a total of $16.2 million to create 165 postgraduate positions to adress the tech skills shortage.

The CSIRO is funding $10.4 million for the program and over 75 industry and university partners will spend $5.8 million on funding postgraduate scholarships that advance AI, metaverse and other emerging technologies.

The next generation graduates programs, which has an AI and an emerging technologies stream, are set to open to 165 applicants this May, but the agency said the programs will offer 480 enrollments over the next six years. 

The agency said in a statement today that “the program will build a pipeline of home-grown, job-ready graduates to unlock the immense economic opportunity offered by artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.” 

CSIRO received the $10.4 million as part of the Australian Government's Digital Economy Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Action Plan.

The agency said it estimated that the Australian industry will need up to 161,000 new AI specialists and AI savvy workers by 2030 and that a study by RMIT and Deloitte found Australia will need 156,000 digital and emerging technology workers by 2025 to aid in the recovery from the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects will address problems such as improving outcomes for disadvantaged school students, data-centric and machine-driven engineering, AI in mental health, smart manufacturing and sensing, digital privacy and cybersecurity, national quantum technology capabilities, and enhancing industry operations through the metaverse. 

Industry partners included both global tech giants such as AWS, SAP and DXC and Aussie companies such as Asta, Sysbox, Automi, Interport Cargo Services, Xiippy and Blue IoT. 

The universities funding the program included WSU, UTS, ANU, Deakin, UNSW, Curtin, RMIT, Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of Melbourne— Malaysia, Macquarie, USYD, JCUS, Swinburne and QUT.

CSIRO’s digital arm Data61 boss professor Jon Whittle said understanding AI and emerging technologies will be an advantage for the next generation of Australian 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.” 

“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.”   

“The range of universities and industries putting forward submissions for the next generation programs shows how ready Australia is for this kind of collaboration.”

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