Companies benefit from student researchers

Image supplied by iMOVE CRC

It goes without saying that there is an enormous upside for students in joining the iMOVE Undergraduate Student Industry Program. Industry experience, mentorship, learning to put experimental ideas and products into a commercial production setting, and more.

But what might not be immediately apparent are the benefits for companies joining the program.

iMOVE, through a previously run Cooperative Research Centre, Automotive Australia 2020 CRC run by Excellerate Australia, has a decade-long involvement in education programs, that also deliver to the industry partners on a number of levels.

What is the iMOVE Undergraduate Student Industry Program?

It’s a partnership between universities, undergraduate students and companies. iMOVE introduces students to industry at an early time in their career and provides support via funding, mentoring, and events.

The year-long research project is defined by the company and runs with regular industry mentor contact. iMOVE acts as a facilitator throughout the course of the project.

Industry partners can range from start-ups, to SMEs, to corporations, and projects can be anywhere within iMOVE’s three core areas of focus – Intelligent Transport Systems, Freight and Logistics, and Personal and Public Mobility.

What do past industry partners in the program have to say?

Dennis Savic was a Western Australia-based engineer and entrepreneur, building a performance-level electric motorcycle. He took on two students to bring his ideas and designs to life.

He said joining the program was easy. “I met Excellerate staff at a conference, heard about the program, and sent through a high-level scope document to iMOVE. The university recruited the students, and we were all set to go, all in the space of a couple of weeks.”

Dennis was impressed by the calibre of his students in his team. “The students were passionate, and self-motivated. I was able to achieve more than I set out to, in less time,” he said.

The opportunities didn’t stop there. Dennis tells us that one of his students is working with him on a new venture as a mechanical engineer, and indeed has equity in the venture.

Not only that, but Dennis hopes to partner with iMOVE in its 2018 iteration of the program.

At the other end of the spectrum from Dennis in terms of company size, was General Motors Holden (GMH). It took part in the Excellerate Undergraduate Student Industry Program from 2007, and stayed in the program for almost its entire run. Each year GMH took on multiple teams of students, across a range of projects, working across various sectors of the company.

Artur Candido, GMH’s Specialist Project Design and Release Engineer, supervised student teams for three years in the Undergraduate Program. For him, the major benefit provided by the students was the injection of ideas.

“Students come in with experience in new technology, and new ways of thinking. In industry we can sometimes lag behind, though we do have the advantage of experience in production and commercialisation. The new thinking and techniques of the students might not be commercial now, or production-ready, but over time it can and did happen.”

“The students also come in with strong experience in experimental analysis”, said Artur.

Joe Basile, the Regional Engineering Group Manager, General Motors International, added another perhaps less obvious benefit that students bring to business.

“We get a lot out of mentoring students. On top of the technical aspects Artur mentioned, they also help us hone our management skillset.”

Blue sky thinking for the new mobility industry

The Undergraduate Student Industry Program at Excellerate ran for almost a decade. Over that span of time almost 400 students completed the program, and of that number 92% were employed within the auto or related industries after graduation.

Imagine what that enthusiasm, new thinking, and passion can bring to your company in the mobility and transport industries.

Enquire now

For more information visit our Education and Undergraduate Student Industry Program page. To make an enquiry about joining the program now, fill in the enquiry form here. We look forward to talking to you about the program, and helping you to help advance Australia’s capabilities and technologies in 21st-Century mobility.

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