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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.

2019 projects and partners

Applications for Semester 1 and Semester 2 2019 projects open on 12 December 2018.

The following projects will be available in 2019.

Semester 1

Industry partner Industry project
Accenture Technology disruption through autonomous vehicles
AGL The future of the electricity grid
Allianz Millennials and the future of work
ANZ Bank Digital disruption
Bain & Company Diversity in Australian workplaces
Career Seekers Resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees
City Recital Hall (at Sydney Conservatorium of Music) Future of performance
Data 61|CSIRO The future of milk
DIPX International (at Westmead) Using patient experiences to improve healthcare delivery
DXC Technology Minimum Viable Product (MVP) sprint
NSW Farmers Association Fairness in supply chains: supermarkets, profit margin & dairy farmers
Public Service Commission Diversity in leadership

Impact of climate change


The impact of drones on air travel

Westmead Precinct and NSW Health  (at Westmead)

Clearing the air at Westmead: improving a smoke-free environment


Impact of artificial intelligence on banking

Semester 2

Industry partner Industry Project
Accenture Technology disruption through autonomous vehicles
AirBNB AirBNB Experiences
Allianz Millennials and the future of work
ANZ Bank Digital disruption
Bain & Company Diversity in Australian workplaces
Blackmores Solutions for Obesity
Career Seekers Settling refugees better
CommBank Innovation challenge
Data 61|CSIRO The future of milk
Elizabeth Broderick & Co. Women’s human rights in the changing world of work
MS Research (at Westmead) Personalization to healthy living for those living with MS
Public Service Commission Diversity in leadership
PTW Is the world big enough for humans?
PwC Future of Sydney precincts
Telstra Using cognitive computing and AI to anticipate product-preference
Thales The impact of drones on air travel
Health Literacy Hub and Western Sydney Local Health District (at Westmead) Improving health literacy
Westmead Redevelopment and Western Sydney Local Health District (at Westmead) Disrupting chronic illness 
Westmead Redevelopment and Western Sydney Local Health District (at Westmead) Medical education through immersive technologies
Westmead Redevelopment and Western Sydney Local Health District (at Westmead) Building cultural competency around health care for Indigenous people
WPP: Kantar Australia The changing face of Australia: disrupting ageing
Westpac The impact of artificial intelligence on banking

Disruptive technologies 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 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 of new industries, and 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.

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 is 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.

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 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.

The workforce around the world is becoming increasingly diverse. In Australia, the ageing population and new expectations around careers is leading people to enter professional spaces earlier and leave 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 organisations 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 modernise 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.

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.

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.

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 and 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.

CareerSeekers is a non-profit social enterprise supporting asylum seekers and refugees to enter 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 new Australians 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 and examine the impact of employment on the resettlement of asylum seekers and refugees.

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) and Augmented Reality (AR) and how these will impact the 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.

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, both from Australia and globally, to tell stories that communicate the seriousness of the issue and its impacts on people, communities, ecosystems and economies. You will help advise them on ways to make a positive impact on the world and humanity.

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. 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. In a multi-disciplinary group, and after some stimulus activities, you will discuss the future of milk and choose a component to focus on. You will 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, analyse the data and generate insights to support farm or industry decision-making.

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 biopsychosocial model. Patient-centred care is becoming more 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.

DXC is the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company, known for helping their clients harness the power of innovation to thrive on change.  DXC is seeing that the user experience of technical solutions can be enhanced with new emerging technologies, and the design of such user experiences can be informed by interdisciplinary collaboration.  In this project your group will seek to define and understand the user experience with technical solutions of the future.  You will look at the key business challenges that are facing front line operations and how to frame and execute an innovative response.  Guided by an agile development approach, your team has access to experienced stakeholders or a Scrum Master from DXC Technology.  

History indicates that no industrial or technological change has been gender-neutral. On the one hand, technological innovation, such as mobile phones, have increased women’s access to networks and markets, but at the same time created new tools and spaces for abuse and harassment, both in private life and in the context of work. Artificial intelligence is going to increasingly play a role in how we work and live, yet the design and programming remains male dominated, so we risk ending up with a male dominated view of work and life. As technological change impacts on what work looks like and the kinds of jobs that are ascribed greater value, we need to keep the focus on how women are faring and our overall goal of women enjoying equal rights to decent work. We need to make sure that the structural and systemic barriers that exist today are not replicated or exacerbated in the world of work for the future. In this project you will look at how technological change is impacting on women’s experiences of work, how are women experiencing this differently depending on where they live and whether specific groups of women are more vulnerable than others. How is technological change impacting on women from different socio-economic groups? What is the role of the private sector (both those developing the technologies and those using them) to ensure women’s human rights are not compromised? And what can/should governments do to ensure appropriate regulation and policy is in place to support gender equality in the future world of work? 

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.

People living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can control and potentially minimise the impact of MS on their lives, and this can provide a sense of empowerment and hope.  Research shows that there are a number of risk factors that influence the onset of MS, including smoking, UV light exposure, and weight, and that these can be modified through lifestyle changes.  However, the role that modifiable lifestyle factors may play in reducing disease activity and disability progression in MS is not well understood.  There is emerging evidence that exercise and physical activity are beneficial in MS, although there is no clarity on the exact type, duration and intensity of activity that is needed to make a difference in disease outcomes. Similarly, there is no evidence that any dietary regime can influence MS outcomes, despite a high level of interest amongst people with MS. This project aims develop an evidence-based, customised, self-management program that integrates key healthy behaviours relevant to the progression of MS that is adaptable to account for individual abilities and symptoms. A key outcome of the program is to support uptake of and adherence to healthy lifestyle behaviours in people with MS.

How can we ensure dairy farmers in New South Wales receive a fair profit margin for the milk they produce?  The viability of dairy farming (particularly those reliant on the fresh milk supply chains) in NSW is in question due to the commoditisation of dairy (think dollar-a-litre milk), which reduces the revenues and margins available in the supply chain, and rising input costs (water, energy, labour etc.). The focus of the problem will be around initiatives that target supermarkets in guaranteeing dairy farmers a fair profit margin.

We live in a time when institutions that seem to have been around forever are going to the wall, when a deteriorating climate is an index for uncertain futures, when old enmities are merging with new technologies. What are the solutions to an expanding population and resource exhaustion on a finite planet? Can artificial intelligence meet emotional intelligence, to shape new civilisations? Can we create alternate lifeworlds, give them physical and social shape, a governance structure, real estate, pleasure and play? The business, communication and presentation skills you gather during this project will be relevant to any career, field or lifestyle you choose in the future – all disciplinary imaginations are needed for the key task of shaping civilisation.

The Public Service Commission is a statutory agency of the Australian Government that acts to ensure future capability and sustainability within the approximately 160,000 people that comprise the Australian Public Service.  They 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?  In this project you will think creatively about how to address inequalities in the workforce – for example, you may look to design a tool which will help agencies in the NSW public service to diagnose strengths and weaknesses in their diversity strategies.

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.  The success of precincts can rely on a number of factors including the ability to attract investment (global and local), the successful establishment of a suitable governance structure 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.  In this project you will focus on what currently exists in a precinct and make a case for why this should continue to be invested, or a case for why you would progress it to another offering, such as an innovation precinct.

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.

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 15,000 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.

Air travel in Australia will be safer and faster under a new Air Traffic Management (ATM) system called OneSKY, 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, with a particular focus on UAVs/drones. Ultimately OneSKY will manage all air movements across 11% of the earth’s airspace.  In this project you will investigate the technical possibilities but also liabilities to which the ATM operator of a drone system would be exposed.  You 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.

Can and should all NSW health facilities be smoke-free environments? Policy states they should be. The aim of clearing the air at Westmead is to reduce the risks to health from tobacco use by clients, staff and visitors to NSW Health facilities and the community’s exposure to second-hand smoke. With Westmead Hospital undergoing a major redevelopment, renewed concern about persistent smoking at the hospital has been raised. The key concerns are consumers’ continued exposure to second-hand smoke, poor image for the facility with smokers out the front of the hospital and environmental damage caused by cigarette butt litter. In this project you will look at ways to reverse the passive acceptance and culture of smoking at Westmead Hospital now, so that it won’t continue when the new redevelopment is completed.

The Westmead Health Precinct is undergoing large-scale improvements, including new buildings and increases in the size of its workforce. A unique opportunity exists to re-evaluate and re-design how the Precinct, as an organisation, delivers health care. This is particularly relevant for groups that experience poorer health outcomes, specifically Indigenous people.  Historically, the health care system has not always managed to provide culturally safe and high-quality health care for Indigenous people. Western Sydney Local Health district recognises the right for indigenous people to feel culturally welcome, understood and connected when accessing and receiving quality care.  This project will focus on building the cultural competency of Westmead Precinct staff, ensuring staff have the capability to consider the cultural needs of, and deliver appropriate, safe and quality health care for Indigenous people, leading to improved health outcomes and better experiences of care.  An inclusive and welcoming workforce considers power relations, cultural differences and the rights of the patient and encourages workers to reflect on and constructively alter their own attitudes and beliefs to this end.  This project will provide not only a plan for initial orientation, but also a process for ongoing training, without falling into the trap of making cultural competency a compliance exercise.

Western Sydney has one of the sickest populations in Australia. There is a total of 57.3 per cent of people who have one of four health risk factors - physical activity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and obesity.  How can we formulate a disruptive idea and solution design that tackles chronic health illness in Western Sydney to inspire and promote improvement in health and social outcomes.  Can disruptive emerging health technologies such as mobile apps, wearables, virtual reality, IoT and/or artificial intelligence and machine learning help to encourage a physically active healthy lifestyle and the monitoring and management of chronic illness?

How might we make it easier for clinicians to use newer technologies in the delivery of education, in order to engage junior doctors and increase learning retention? Junior doctors want their education and training delivered using interactive and immersive technologies. However, the majority of clinicians providing medical education haven't been trained as educators and there are a number of factors impacting the type and style of education they deliver. These factors include limited time and resources to develop education sessions, and not being familiar with new and emerging technologies. Clinicians tend to use the tools they are familiar with which can limit engagement with junior doctors.  In this project you will look at ways in how to use newer technologies to help support medication education.

The world’s population is ageing at an unprecedented rate. By 2050, the number of people 60 years or older will exceed the number of young people under age 15 for the first time in history.  Given this massive demographic shift, WPP/Kantar is interested in identifying what sorts of societal and consumer issues government and corporate Australia must prioritise and consider.  The over fifties control close to 80% of Australia’s financial wealth and account for almost half of all consumer spending, and yet less than 10% of worldwide advertising budgets are spent on campaigns talking to people over fifty.  In this project you will analyse existing narratives that the media circulates about the process of ageing, come up with strategies to disrupt our society’s notions of aging and advise WPP/Kantar on how to convey better representations of age diversity.

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.

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