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Engineering lab

Summer scholarships give students hands-on research experience

9 October 2019
Get the chance to work on innovative engineering projects
The Faculty of Engineering's Summer Research Scholarships give students the opportunity to work with experienced academics on their research, to get a taste of what life is like for engineering researchers.

The Faculty of Engineering is offering up to 90 Summer Research Scholarships to students interested in a career in research at a university or within industry.

“The Summer Research Scholarships offer a unique chance to gain research skills and be at the forefront of creating transformative engineering solutions that are changing the world around us,” says Dr Aaron Opdyke, whose research project around reducing mortality rates in the Philippines is on offer as part of the program.

The Summer Research Program is open to students who are enrolled in a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate coursework degree at the University of Sydney or another Australian University. Recipients will receive a scholarship of up to $5,000 and will work with academics for 10 weeks on a range of engineering and computer science projects.

“The program is a great way to learn more about a topic and dive into a specialised field,” Dr Opdyke says. “The program is hands-on and you’ll have the opportunity to engage directly with an academic who will mentor you.”

Being mentored by a senior academic is just one of the perks of the summer program – for those looking to go pursue a career in academic research, the program is invaluable.

“If you are looking to pursue an honours year, or postgraduate research, I would recommend you take this opportunity to get a taste of research and identify what areas and projects will suit you the most,” says Dr Suranga Seneviratne, a lecturer in the School of Computer Science.

“Students who are looking to explore research degrees will find this program valuable,” agrees Dr Ashnil Kumar, from the School of Biomedical Engineering. “It is a great learning experience. If they are excited or curious about a particular field, it is a great opportunity to learn, be part of a research team, and explore what life could be like as a researcher.”

There are projects on offer across aeronautical, mechanical, mechatronic engineering, biomedical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and civil engineering. Plus, there are projects available in collaboration with our Westmead campus. Below are just a few of the projects available.

Students looking at screen in computer lab

The Summer Research Scholarships are available across most of our schools, including the School of Computer Science.

Get to know some of the projects on offer

Understanding and Reducing Disaster Mortality from Typhoons

Work on independent research that seeks to reduce mortality from disasters in the Philippines. As part of the project, you’ll learn more about international disaster risk reduction and interdisciplinary research methods. Analysing causes and trends in mortality from typhoons using geographic information systems (GIS), your findings will inform strategies on how and where infrastructure can save lives.

For more information, email Dr Aaron Opdyke at

Head & neck cancer detection from PET-CT images

PET images can be merged with anatomical information from CT images to enable the detection of cancer at different locations in the head and neck. This research will focus on machine learning algorithms and how to apply them to medical data, working on problems that have potential for translation to practical solutions for developing clinical decision support systems for hospitals.

For more information, email Dr Ashnil Kumar at

Fingerprinting Tor Web Traffic Using Deep Learning

Tor is a commonly used anonymity network; mainly by internet users who need some extra privacy. But recent work highlighted that even though one uses the Tor network, traffic signatures can be built. In this project, you’ll create a data collection framework to collect and process network traffic when using a Tor browser, and evaluate the state-of-the-art deep learning models and evaluate the longevity of those models.

For more information, email Dr Suranga Seneviratne at

Drone-on-demand 3D printing of drones

Advances in manufacturing are leading to a shift from mass production of drones, to one-of-a-kind systems, creating a ‘drone-on-demand’ environment. In this project you will assist with the automation of the manufacturing environment for drone-on-demand. You will help develop the automated CAD framework and its interface with the 3D printing manufacturing environment.

For more information, email Dr Dries Verstraate at

Check out the full list of the projects available here.

To find out more about the Summer Research Program, and to apply, contact or visit the scholarships page.

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