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Industry and community projects

Gain career experience and boost your employability with our new Industry and Community Project Units (ICPU).


Industry and Community Project Units (ICPUs) are elective units, where you have the opportunity to work on authentic problems and issues set out by industry, community and government organisations.

In collaboration with the industry partner and academic lead, you will work in a group with other students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. Together you will research, analyse and present solutions to the problems set by the external partner organisation. You will then present your project with your group to the industry partner at the end of the semester.

The projects are 6 credit point units and open to all eligible undergraduate students who have completed 72 credit points and have a spare elective.

Summer intensive and Semester 1, 2019 projects

Applications for summer intensive and Semester 1, 2019 projects will commence in September. You can register your interest by emailing us at with your name, SID, and email address. 

Check back here for more information about Summer intensive projects. Partners will include Accenture, Airbnb, Allianz, ANZ Bank, AGL, Art Gallery of NSW, Bain & Company, Career Seekers, Data 61, CSIRO, CommBank, City Recital Hall, DXC Technology, JWT, NSW Farmer's Association, PwC, Public Service Commission, Westpac, Westmead and WPP.

Semester 2 2018 projects and partners

Applications for Semester 2, 2018 projects have now closed. 

In Semester 2, 2018 students worked on the following projects:

Disruptive technologies (such as autonomous vehicles, drones, artificial intelligence and health genomics) will have a significant impact on the community and the economy in Australia and globally. For example, Uber was in effect operating illegally in Australia in many states for several years, before government regulation “caught up”.

The disruption of industries and the Public Sector caused by new technologies will continue to occur and at an increasing rate. The government will need to respond and adapt to these impacts in its various roles; as a regulator, as a promoter and supporter or new industries, as a provider of services to citizens.

In this project you will develop a framework and approach, for government to use, to investigate the introduction of disruptive technologies. As an example this framework could be used in approaching technology of autonomous vehicles.

Project supervisor

Eva Huang –


What will the electricity grid look like in 10 or 15 years? Will we have a grid, or maybe a grid of grids? The relationship with consumers and retailers are changing and their relationship with the grid can also mean consumers can now become producers of electricity. We are faced with new technical risks and different business models.

In this project you may look at ways to completely disconnect from the grid. With increasing electricity prices and falling costs of technologies such as solar panels, battery storage and fuel cells, going off-grid may now be feasible. You will look at the lifestyle and wider societal implications with the future of the electricity grid. You may explore whether it is technically and economically feasible to completely disconnect from the grid today.

Project supervisor

Maryanne Large -

AirBNB experiences are activities designed and led by inspiring locals. They go beyond typical tours or classes by immersing guests in each host’s unique world. It’s an opportunity for anyone to share their hobbies, skills, or expertise without needing an extra room. Hosts can be musicians, chefs, artists and other in-the-know locals like you who give their guests access to activities and places they can’t typically find on their own. They make everyone feel welcome, and help people in a group connect with one another. In this project you can decide which Experience or Experiences your group want to work on. You may look at what kind of experiences locals in Sydney want to book, or how to grow the supply of Experiences in Sydney, or how to foster a community within the Experience Hosts, or maybe even look at a potential competition of onboarding or hosting an Experience targeted to locals. Your group will get to decide the direction your Airbnb Experiences will take.

Project supervisor

Michael Katz –

The workforce around the world is becoming increasingly diverse. In Australia, the aging population and new expectations around careers is leading to people entering professional spaces earlier, and leaving later in their lives. Simultaneously, the nature of work is shifting as we increasingly rely on team-based and interdisciplinary projects. One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is helping multi-generational teams to work together. With different workplace values and expectations to prior generations, millennials are a driving force behind workplace change, pushing companies to modernize to keep up with the competition.

In this project you will look at the traditional corporate workforce, work practices, and employee value propositions to understand how they can cater to the needs of millennials, underpinning retention and engagement. Ultimately, this project seeks to find how to best meet millennial expectations whilst ensuring stable and sustainable corporate culture.

Project supervisor

Dr Steven Hitchcock -

What does digital disruption look like? Technologies such as digital payments, digital identify, contactless payment and blockchain, will continue to have a significant impact across many businesses.

ANZ are currently looking at key transformation streams: financial, digital and cultural. This project will cover institutional banking which has global presence by nature, a wide range of customers with complex needs and structure; complex relationships with customers, vendors, partners and competitors and innovation pressures.

In this project you will look broadly at opportunities for collaboration, ranging from ecosystem creation (multi device, multi-platform, multi play) through to fraud prevention and risk minimisation. You may consider open banking, artificial intelligence, cyber security, eco-systems or blockchain.

Students do not need a technical, data or analytics base for this project. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Project supervisor

Tess Lea –

There has been growing recognition and focus on the importance of increasing diversity in Australian workplaces, yet there are complex structural and cultural factors which seem to limit progress. Opportunities continue to exist for workplaces to implement changed practices to address all forms of diversity. As Australian society continues to change in size and nature, how should businesses respond to prepare for and meet the needs of future generations of employees? This project will involve a combination of research and strategic problem solving to develop specific and practical recommendations for Australian employers to incorporate into their business strategies in order to increase diversity in their workplaces.

Project supervisor

Vik Naidoo -

Obesity is a major public and personal health issue and a key factor driving most of the chronic diseases that are now afflicting Australia.  There are a large number of solutions that have been proposed for obesity.  With various modern screening technologies like DNA testing and microbiome testing it may now be possible to identify causes of obesity that are amenable to different forms of treatment. In this project your group will investigate the various tools and technologies that have been developed over the last 5-10 years, look at an effective weight loss solution that overcomes some of the limitations currently offered.  You will look at key issues of obesity – emotions, behaviour, appetite, unhealthy choices, metabolic disorders and physical activity.

Project supervisor

Kim Bell Anderson -

CareerSeekers is a non-profit social enterprise supporting asylum seekers and refugees into professional employment. They aim to reconnect asylum seekers and refugees with the careers that they were forced to flee in their home country. It currently takes on average 3 years before these New Australian’s are able to find professional jobs. CareerSeekers has reduced this to 3 months.  With nearly 200 participants in the program to date, the aim is to better understand the impact of the program for the individuals and how they contribute to the Australian economy. This project aims to create an evidence based call to action to employers highlighting the untapped talent sitting in our communities and instil a sense of urgency to speed up the employment process. Your project group will assess the social, financial and economic impact in speeding up the resettlement process though employment and seek to answer the impact of employment on the resettlement of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

Project supervisor

Devorah Wainer –

Live music performance is a multi-billion dollar industry in Australia but it is under pressure.  Venues and cultural presenters need to consider what their role is in a society where so much cultural product is on-demand, free and global in scope. There is a significant rate of change in how audiences consume cultural product and audiences have an increasing level of discernment and choice in cultural offerings. What’s on stage has evolved, though the basic concert hall experience has changed little since the 19th century. Similarly, there is a sense of potential impact from developments in Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) and how these will impact a concert-going experience.  Your project group will explore what the future of performance is, with an emphasis on music. You will consider the impact of digital developments, online distribution, VR/AR concert experiences, live performance and venues, including the impact on the performer.

Project supervisor

Ian Whitney -

Climate change poses a significant risk to our environment, our economy and our society. CommBank are committed to limiting climate change to well below two degrees, through actions across their own operations as well as lending, investing, insuring and procurement. They will continue to measure and reduce environmental impact, as well as help their customers to transition to a low carbon economy and invest in renewable technology. In this project you will look at ways in which to compile existing research and data on climate science (Australia & globally) to tell stories that communicate the seriousness of the issue and its impacts to people, communities, ecosystems & economies. You will help advise them on ways to make a positive impact on the world and humanity.

Project supervisor

Lynda Ng –

What is the future of milk? Australia is one of the few places left where consumers expect and receive fresh milk all year round. As a result, milk is a daily purchase for many households and a reason for many supermarket visits. Whilst the market price for milk is being kept low, production costs continue to rise. This drives dairy farmers to push productivity and improve efficiency to maintain incomes. At the same time, the dairy industry is coming under scrutiny for what has been described as its ‘social license to practice’. Many people are choosing milk substitutes such as soy and almond milk for health and ethical reasons. Animal advocates are questioning the ethics of the treatment of animals in the dairy industry. Some environmentalists are questioning the efficiency of using scarce resources to feed cows to produce milk when substitutes are available. It is conceivable that genetic and biotech advances may see synthetic milk produced in factories without the need for animals or crops. In a multi-disciplinary group, and after some stimulus activities, you will discuss the future of milk and choose a component to focus, define a problem or opportunity in consultation with project partners and supervisor, research your problem/opportunity and identify some data that will help resolve the problem/realise the opportunity, and analyse the data and generate insights to support farm or industry decision-making.

Project supervisor

Rosalind Deaker –

Technology is transforming every aspect of our lives and this trend is expected to have a significant impact on the transport industry. New mobility solutions such as electric and autonomous vehicles are expected to influence where individuals work/live and how existing transport and carparking infrastructure is utilised.

The majority of office buildings are located within CBDs in major cities. The buildings are generally leased to large companies on long term leases.

In this project you will seek to understand aspects to consider with what the future holds for carparking within the CBDs?  You will look at many areas, including the level of threat due to technological advancements in mobility solutions,  what alternative uses could exist for underground carparks, and much more.

Project supervisor

Tess Lea –

How can we use patient experiences to improve healthcare delivery and education of our future healthcare professionals?  With increasing rates of chronic disease and long term conditions, healthcare providers need to move from the traditional biomedical model of healthcare delivery to a bio psychosocial model. Patient-centred care is becoming more of an imperative and this requires a cultural and educational shift in how healthcare is delivered to people with long term conditions, and how our future and current healthcare workforce is educated. In this project you will look at how we can improve healthcare delivery so that patient experiences are taken into account and how we can incorporate patient experiences into the education of our future health care professionals.

Project supervisor

Leigh Wilson –

Development in inner Sydney is creating many challenges for local communities, businesses and governments. These challenges include: access to affordable housing; the displacement of low income people of multiple types; traffic; overcrowding, particularly in schools and health services; and loss of amenity, particularly green spaces and options for active movement. At the same time, inner Sydney has a vibrant history of activism, cultures and innovations in the built environment. Can we imagine a future for Inner Sydney that is culturally vibrant, socially inclusive, economically and environmentally sustainable, now and into the future? In this project you will identify best practice, consult with relevant stakeholders, design strategies and develop a strategic or project plan to guide future work.

Project supervisor

Dr Margot Rawsthorne -

Nanoscience is a rapidly advancing field of science, crossing disciplinary boundaries and moving into the realm of innovation. This project explores the way a design approach can be used to harness the innovation potential in nanoscale science, and aims to bring the science out of the lab and into the real world. Throughout the semester you will learn about what it means to design by collaborating in groups with students from across the university from different degrees, where you can learn from each other’s knowledge and perspectives to form a “start-up”. Working on specific projects within the Sydney Nano Institute, you will learn about design innovation methods and use them to identify key problems and potential for novel solutions, to translate current cutting-edge nanoscience into real world. This project will equip you with the strategies to approach research problems with a perspective that goes beyond the lab and looks at the future potential for science and engineering.

Project supervisor

Cara Wrigley –

The Parliament of New South Wales is Australia’s first and oldest parliament. While its primary purposes are to make State laws, approve the expenditure of State money, and debate public policy issues, it is also a space where the public can view Parliament in action, learn about NSW’s earliest colonial history and the development of democracy in Australia, and meet Members of Parliament.

The NSW Parliament is made up of three Departments: the Legislative Assembly; the Legislative Council; and the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS). DPS’s Parliamentary Education team is responsible for much of the Parliament’s public outreach by engaging with a range of audiences including school students, tertiary students, the general public and tourists.

In this project you will work across the DPS area to help identify gaps in the way NSW Parliament engages with the community, this could be in the digital space, the physical space, the education space or other areas.  There is substantial scope for the NSW Parliament to improve its engagement with existing and new audiences.

Project supervisor

Ian Whitney –

Social media is rapidly changing the landscape of current politics. The use of twitter by Donald Trump and the unmaking of Barnaby Joyce are only two examples of how politicians are increasingly using social media to connect with a broader public, with both positive and negative consequences.

This use of social media also raises important problems and challenges, particularly for those trying to track, capture, and manage the ephemera of social media. The NSW Parliament engages with the public on a range of issues including housing, transport, local councils, the environment, crime and justice, utility prices, and youth and community services. The Parliamentary library is faced with the challenge of capturing and managing the ways that politicians engage the public across a broad range of rapidly evolving media.

In this project you will specifically look at social media posts of Parliamentarians and how they should be approached. You may investigate how Members of Parliament use social media, explore what their needs are with regards to access to social media information about other Members of Parliament, research and test software to archive social media use, investigate issues around security, privacy, ethics, legalities and/or relevance issues of capturing parliamentarians’ social media use, or explore how other communication revolutions in history have been handled for contemporary parallels.

Project supervisor

Daren Smith –


Miscarriages of justice can and do occur in countries like Australia, it is an unfortunate fact of our legal system. This project reviews cases of possible wrongful convictions with the ultimate aim to seek justice for wrongfully convicted inmates. Maybe you have watched “Making of a Murder” on Netflix. This project will provide a unique educational experience where you can look to apply the knowledge you have acquired during your degree. You will work with students from different degrees and have the opportunity to work closely together and learn from other each other’s disciplines, but relevant perspectives. You will ultimately be seeking social justice for those in need and assist in forming closer collaboration between different fields and assist improvements in the legal system. This project would suit students from Psychology and Law, though is open to all students with an interest in wrongfully convicted inmates.

Project supervisor

Celine van Golde -


We want the workforce of the public service to reflect the diversity of the Australian public itself – but how do we make that happen? What business processes, workplace designs, management practices and social factors make organisations most likely to meaningfully include employees with a wide range of lived experiences? What practical steps can government agencies use to increase the number of Indigenous Australians, women, LGBTIQ people, people with disabilities, older people in the workplace, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in their leadership teams?

Participants in this project will think creatively about how to address inequalities in the workforce, designing a tool which will help agencies in the NSW public service to diagnose strengths and weaknesses in their diversity strategies.

Project supervisor

Jessica Kean-

To retain Sydney’s global status, we need to invest in innovation – and this can best be harnessed through the development of precincts which are centred on catalytic institutions in education, innovation, health and research. As Australia continues to transition to an ideas economy, the development and commercialisation of ideas and innovation will be paramount to ongoing economic success.

Some precincts that come to mind: Camperdown-Ultimo, Westmead, Liverpool, Randwick and Kogarah.

The success of each Precinct will rely on a number of factors including the ability to attract investment (global and local), the successful establishment of a suitable governance structures to manage the Precincts, a brand and identity which attracts global talent, and a focus on suitable industries and institutions for the continuous growth and productivity of the Precinct.

Your task for the project is to focus on what currently exists in a Precinct and make a case for why this should continue to be invested as a Health and Education Precinct or a case for why you would progress it to another offering, such as an Innovation Precinct.

Project supervisor

Catherine Gilbert –

Climate change is a key topic for many businesses around the world due to the physical impacts of extreme weather events and the impact of changes in climate and sea level on everything from property to liability to crop insurance. QBE have a sophisticated catastrophe modelling capability and use stress and scenario testing to assess the impact of extreme but plausible weather events to help them better prepare for such situations. What they are now seeing is a range of other potential risks and opportunities resulting from climate change due to things like changes in technology, new policies and regulation, new cases of litigation and increasing stakeholder expectations for how corporations manage risk and offer customer solutions. In this project you will look at the potential implications and what are the opportunities that climate change presents.

Project supervisor

Tess Lea –

In this post-digital era, our world is changing rapidly, technology is all around us, changing the way we live, work and relate to each other. In a 24/7 economy, it’s changing the skills and talents employers are looking for and of course, it’s changing the way customers want to be served.

In this project you will look at the office of the future and how an organisation can develop high performance workspaces. Does an organisation need to open more physical locations to grow, does an organisation need to look at bit different for an office of the future?

You will be encouraged to question an entire Future of Work approach. Some areas you may consider will range from looking at the physical location, to an optimal environment for people to work in, to understanding if housing prices in Australia impact where employees live and therefore, want to work, to what is the optimal structure for a high performing team, and much more.

You will have access to local and international HR experts, HR technology providers, IT resources, marketing experts, end employers and candidates.

Project supervisor

Christhina Candido –

It’s no secret that jobs are changing. Google “Future of Work” and there are over 250m hits. Technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence bring the promise of higher productivity, increased efficiency, compliance, and convenience. But this also raises interesting and challenging questions about the future of jobs, skills, wages, and the nature of work itself.

In this project you will gather information and speak to futurists and experts to develop “What If” scenarios to help predict what the future of work and employment will look like in 5 and 10 years from now.   You will be encouraged to be imaginative and look at a range of areas, including the impact of emerging technologies and automation on the workforce, the cost of business premises in Australia over the coming years and if companies will need large offices, to how the sharing economy and Gig working impact our notion of work and employment? (eg: Uber driver partners).

You will have access to local and international HR experts, HR technology providers, IT resources, marketing experts, end employers and candidates.

Project supervisor

Lina Markouskaite –
Peter Reimann –

How can we explore differences between experts and novices within the workforce?

A major problem for industrial stakeholders that use semi-automated distribution systems in their warehouses, is that there is a high turnover of manual pickers. This implies a constant need for training of new staff. However, there is a significant productivity difference between an experienced picker and a new person. It is clear that speeding up the learning curve has significant economic value as well as an effect on the psychological wellbeing of the employee.

Is it feasible that by using augmented or virtual reality the high turnover of manual pickers in warehouses can have a significant productivity difference between an experienced picker and a new person?

In this project you will seek to understand if there is any way of speeding up the learning curve by using AR/VR in a structured training program to assist with shortening the learning time for new staff.

This project will suit students with an interest in the use of state of the art technology in addressing economic and societal issues. Cognitive engineering, computer science, psychological sciences, all STEMM oriented disciplines, but also those interested to apply high tech solutions to Marketing Communications.

Project supervisor

Rosalind Deaker –


Can artificial intelligence be used to anticipate product-preference for customers?  Marketing, operations and technology will help shape the future of the desk bound employee.

Individuals manage 15000 customers via phone and can be needed to understand over 2000 product offerings. This project will have you looking at solutions in how best to service customers and consider the people and practices to support the future of work. You will look at the attributes and skills required of a desk bound role and consider processes, systems and practices in how an organisation could use technology such as cognitive computing or artificial intelligence to change the business model.

This project does not require computing, AI or data skills. Students from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Project supervisor

Tess Lea –

Air travel in Australia will be safer and faster under the OneSKY Air Traffic Management system, delivering economic and environmental benefits to the nation. Thales Australia’s ambition is to deliver the world’s most advanced and integrated air traffic management system to benefit all travellers. Ultimately OneSKY will manage all air movements across 11% of the earth’s airspace. 

The intent of this project is to investigate the technical possibilities but also liabilities to which the ATM operator of a drone system would be exposed. Students will also investigate issues around regulation, innovation, pricing, monetisation, business models and market segmentation of air traffic management operations of drones in the regional, urban and international context.

Project supervisor

Rico Merkert –


Are you interested in making a difference and having the opportunity to work on real-world issues that have tangible outcomes? THRIVE is a not-for-profit organisation established with the vital financial backing of Westpac, private donors and the generous support of leading companies such as Allianz, Deloitte, Gilbert & Tobin, KPMG, Korn Ferry, LOUD, Newgate and Equifax. THRIVE’s primary role is to provide microfinancing and business support to help refugee entrepreneurs start and grow viable new businesses. THRIVE has identified a range of potential start-up projects that you will work on and help to address for refugees and asylum seekers who are eager for a fresh start. In this project you look at ways to support business enterprises, which enables and empowers refuges and asylum seekers to become financially independent, to create jobs, and to integrate faster and more successfully as active contributors to our economy and society.

Project supervisor

Betina Szukdlared –

Health literacy is about how people understand information about health and health care, and how they apply that information to their lives. It’s important because it shapes people’s health, safety, and quality of care. Good health literacy contributes to better health outcomes. People with low health literacy are between 1.5 and 3 times more likely to experience a poor health outcome. In this project you will looks at solutions to address the mismatch between individual health literacy and materials developed by health organisations.

Project supervisor

Danielle Muscat -

How can we maximise sustainable sourcing and reuse of hospital equipment? The Westmead Hospital Redevelopment is a multi-stage project creating a precinct for health care services within Western Sydney. All furniture, fixtures and fittings have socio-economic and environmental impacts however they are a significant part of most health, commercial and institutional building projects. Economically, there is a major financial incentive to reuse, repurpose and recycle current assets. 

In this project you will look at how to deliver a sustainable model with current assets combined with new equipment requirements. The project spans from the main entrance waiting spaces, clinical and non-clinical areas (such as wards and play areas for children who are in-patients), to complex surgical and medical imaging environments. By considering options, you will look at the reduction in overall environmental impact to make a positive contribution towards sustainability, as well as economic and environmental benefits.

Project supervisor

Paul Gardiner -

The Westmead Precinct is a 75 hectare site comprising numerous health facilities for both patients and health professionals. Currently significant redevelopment and construction is underway, to form a diverse yet interconnected set of health services. Navigating around the Westmead Hospital Precinct is challenging. In this project you will focus on developing innovative, user friendly wayfinding which will enable patients, visitors and staff to navigate the Children’s Hospital, the Westmead Hospital and Sydney University, and to make optimal use of both internal and external environments to enhance the visitor experience.

Project supervisor

Leigh Wilson –

The booming growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence is both exciting and intimidating. In shifting conventional computing paradigms, can innovations led by AI provide new and lucrative opportunities for businesses across all sectors? A number of clear potential applications for AI already exist for the banking sector: customer service interactions, providing financial advice, mitigating risk and decision making. In this project your group will provide a brief that prepares for or takes advantage of artificial intelligence on Banking.

Project supervisor

Corina Raduescu -
Geoff Harrison -

Semester 2 project timetable

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