iPREPWA is an initiative to support research and industry collaboration and involves interdisciplinary teams of PhD researchers working on a project for 6 weeks with an industry partner.

On Tuesday 19th July the participants came together at Dumas House to celebrate the past 6 weeks and present their ideas and findings to industry representatives, university executives and fellow team members. It was a privilege to have the support from the new Minister for Innovation, Honourable Bill Marmion, who attended the evening and presented the students with their certificates.

First to grace the audience was Elvina Lee from Murdoch who was representing her team of 3 made up of Tanveer Adyel (UWA) and Anandkumar Arumugum (Curtin). The team were placed at Water Corporation and the issue they were faced with was to to investigate the causes and effects of water quality changes in the south west dams as a result of the drying climate. Emma Plant, Source Protection Consultant for the Water Quality Branch of Water Corporation mentor of the researchers commented ‘this is an ideal project for the students to work on where they can apply their expertise and get experience in a real working environment, and at the same time, we get the benefit of fresh eyes and research approaches’.

Up next was Ali Fardinpour from Curtin, representing his team Marta Galindo Romero (Curtin) and Maryam Shahabi (Murdoch), who surprised the audience with the work they had achieved over 6 weeks at Western Australian Health Translation Network working on the Research Education Training Program. The work involved the build of a new website, the development of 6 new courses in the research training space, they developed over 100 graphics to be used for online courses, and provided IT and graphic support. All three students have been offered part time roles to complete the project, a fantastic outcome for iPREPWA and for the industry partner.

Ben Yee from Curtin, with Sanaz Moayer (Murdoch) and Ahmad Aridah (Curtin) were placed at CBH Group. Due to confidentiality reasons, the team weren’t able to disclose the finer details but the recommendations they provided has allowed CBH to take a more critical view on the constructs that occur on a daily basis. Richard Eason, Data, BI and Reporting Manager of CBH Group says ‘As a result we shall review our current assumptions and thinking around some key activities of both the Marketing & trading team, and the data solutions team’.

Chinedu Ossai from Curtin, Amardeep Kaur (UWA) and Shyam Madhusudhana (Curtin) worked with VROC, Intelligent Asset Management and Tech start up to help fast track a range of core activities. The students contributed different perspectives in terms of risk, and alternatives have been thoroughly explored. The iPREP students have diverse backgrounds and have brought expertise and an indivudial approaches to solving problems. The researchers mentor and VROC director Trevor Bloch concluded, ‘The students analysis and findings to date have provided a fresh perspective in solving some of our challenges.’

Minnovare, a Mining and Civil firm have a passion to remain at the forefront of technology change and have access to the best emerging technologies as

they become commercially available. Ayham Zaitouny from UWA presented the teams findings on behalf of Xiao Sun (UWA) and Evans Okan (Curtin), and described how they have helped Minnovare to better understand the technical capabilities and commercial considerations of currently available and emerging sensor technologies for use in their key products. Christian Collings, the researchers mentor, explained to the audience ‘We have just hired a new engineer and his first task is to work through the report and consider the recommendations the students have made.’

Last but not least Redman Labs, a sunscreen company who produce the brand Maxi Block hosted students Asha Gunawardena (UWA), Aminul Haque (Curtin) and Nandini Makwana (UWA). Asha presented the teams findings and have delivered a different perspective to the project and provide a sharper assessment of the situation. Thibaut Mortier mentor and director of Redman Labs says that team have ‘Defined a way forward in the industry’.

At the conclusion of the presentations Minister Marmion expressed his delight about iPREP. ‘This is an exceptional program, linking academia with industry, bringing them together. This is exactly what we need to do to drive innovation in Western Australia.’

Thank you to the PhD researchers and participating industry partners who participated in Round 2 of 2016. If you would like to benefit from having a team of PhD researchers to solve a business problem or to innovate with new ideas and a fresh way of thinking, then contact iPREPWA at The next round is running from the 3rd October- 11th November.

Student applications open soon!