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Summer innovation program

19-24 January 2020
The Summer Innovation Program (SIP) brings together students from across the University to identify, understand and explore innovative solutions at the nexus between law and science.

The Summer Innovation Program (SIP) will give you the opportunity to live, work and learn within a vibrant collegiate environment on campus for five days in January 2020. Working in teams, you will tackle some serious challenges –legal/regulatory/ethical and scientific – facing society in Australia and globally.

Challenge topics include:

  • Autonomous transport
  • Global health and environment 
  • Crime, security and justice on campus
  • Data analytics: "From surveillance to sousveillance"

Taking into account student interests and disciplinary background, organisers will allocate successful applicants into four teams (five students allocated to each team), with each group tackling its own individual challenge.

Over the five day program, teams have access to:

  • ongoing mentoring from leading researchers, legal practitioners, policy entrepreneurs and industry partners who will join and participate in the residential experience
  • Innovation Hub resources including advanced technical facilities, such as 3D-Printing and coding support, as well as take tours of the VR Lab and Nanoscience facilities. 

These experiences will assist teams to understand the wide range of technologies that may be deployed to translate new ideas to viable prototypes or programs of work.

Five days of intensive work culminates in competing and pitching individual projects to a panel of leading experts. All teams will receive feedback and the winning team will be awarded with a package of resources, with ongoing support and mentoring, to develop further its ‘winning pitch’ into a viable future work program.

Applications for the 2020 Summer Innovation Program are closed.

Current University of Sydney students from all disciplines and from all levels with an interest in law and technology are encouraged to apply.

The Summer Innovation Program values diversity and encourages creative and original thinking. We are looking for bright, independently-minded students who are keen to learn and have the ability to get on with people. SIP will prioritise equity and diversity in applications, as well as applications from students who have not yet lived on-campus.

Step 1: Eligibility                                                              

Any current student, studying in any discipline at the University of Sydney can apply.

Step 2: Apply online

Complete our online application, which includes:

  • CV [2 pages maximum] and academic transcript
  • A statement of motivation in one of the following formats: a 1-2 minute video or audio file, OR 500 word statement OR infographic explaining your interest in SIP and what contribution you hope to make.
  • Ordering, by preference, which topic you would like to work on
  • An optional equality and diversity survey.

Step 3: Confirmation and team Introduction

Students will be advised of the outcome of their application by 6 December 2019, by email. Students must accept or decline by 12 December 2019. Once confirmed, students will be allocated to teams, and there will be some induction and introductory readings that will assist students orient themselves their expectations of the program and their specific challenge.

  • A maximum of 20 students will be admitted into the program to form 4 teams
  • Team members must be current students of the University of Sydney. Members must be available for entire program 19 – 24 January
  • Applicants may indicate preferences about the four challenges . Where possible, these preferences will be accommodated.

SIP aims to ensure that participants will experience the best of student life, through opportunities to live and learn on campus within a residential college, to experience ‘hands on’ interdisciplinary learning outside the formal constraints of grade coursework, and establish new and ongoing professional networks. This process is supported by a team of leading academics, practitioners and industry mentors who will live and learn with the students.

SIP addresses the University of Sydney Graduate Qualities through a program that provides opportunities for developing the following:

  • Depth of disciplinary expertise – SIP students will have the opportunity to apply and develop a prototype or solution responding to a challenge facing their discipline. .
  • Broader skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication (oral and written), information and digital literacy as well as inventiveness SIP students will participate in seminars and round-tables with invited innovators and industry professionals, gain access to advanced technical facilities, and be faced with novel questions, will learn how to increase the impact of their expertise, and their ability to effectively and creatively respond to new challenges.
  • Cultural competence –SIP students will learn how to form effective teams, and to work productively, collaboratively and openly in diverse groups and across cultural boundaries.
  • Interdisciplinary effectiveness – SIP students will be drawn from across the University, requiring participants to consider broader perspectives, cultivate innovation mindsets, and gain more contextualised and systemic forms of understanding.
  • An integrated, professional, ethical and personal identity – SIP students, through structured collaboration, have the freedom to experiment and invent, alive to the ethical, political and moral questions of these challenges.
  • Influence – SIP students, over the 5 day program, will gain in confidence and personal resilience, and enhance their capacities to understand complex challenges and cope with uncertainty, and to tackle these challenges with a holistic, interdisciplinary approach, considering the wider impact of their proposal, their professional and social responsibility, and their proposal’s ability to make a positive contribution to society.

For further information on our Graduate Qualities, visit the Educational Innovation’s Sydney Graduate Page.

Professor Simon Bronitt is the new Dean of the Sydney Law School. Simon has three ARC Laureate decades of working across disciplinary boundaries and working with and nurturing inspiring legal minds. His commitment to interdisciplinarity culminated in his leadership of an interdisciplinary ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (2009-2014). He has devoted much of his academic life to seeking knowledge to hold the powerful to account, and improving the quality of justice for powerless members of society.

Dr David Martinez-Martin is a physicist and Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Sydney. Trained in Spain and Switzerland, David describes himself, first and foremost, as an innovator. With many significant patents and inventions under development, he understands the challenges of scientific translation, and how new biomedical inventions designed in partnership with global industry partners must work for the betterment of society. He provides a unique perspective on commercialisation and how intellectual property plays a role in advancing (and sometimes frustrating) scientific advances.

Get to know your Challenge Champions who will guide and mentor you throughout the program! Check back here regularly as more Champions are announced.

Clive Harfield MSc, LLM, MA, MPhil, PhD is Associate Professor of Cyber Security (Ethics & Investigation Management) at the Institute for Cyber Investigation & Forensics, the University of the Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia; Adjunct Professor of the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland, Australia; and a Visiting Research Fellow in Criminology & Policing at Bath Spa University, UK. In 2001 he held a Fulbright Research Fellowship at Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA; and between 2004-2008 was a Visiting Lecturer at the Norwegian Police University College, University of Oslo, Norway.

Clive has published widely, particularly on the law, ethics and governance of covert investigation and is currently writing a book on ethical policing to be published by Routledge in 2021. Prior to commencing his academic career in 2004, Clive served as a police officer in the UK for 20 years, a graduate of the high potential development scheme at the National Police Staff College. As well as undertaking numerous operational roles, he was the Strategic Manager for the National Crime Squad of England and Wales in which role, amongst other tasks, he worked closely with government policy-makers and law-writers in the drafting of new investigation powers legislation. On secondment from the National Crime Squad, Clive worked on the six-person team that researched and devised the business case for the UK’s first hi-tech crime strategy, and secured 25 Million GBP of new government funding to establish a new National Hi-Tech Crime Unit for the UK and enhance digital investigation capabilities in UK local police forces.

In the international arena, Clive represented UK law enforcement on the G8 hi-tech crime experts sub-group advising Ministers of State and Heads of Government; he has undertaken two anti-corruption capacity-building projects for the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea; and he has twice been a Course Leader for DFAT-funded Australia Awards programs delivered in Bangladesh. He first visited Australia in 2001 to train with the Australian Federal Police on the Management of Serious Crime Course, and has lived and worked here since 2008 when he accepted the position of Associate Professor of criminal law at the University of Wollongong where he also led programs for the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention.

Erika Ly is a Director at The Legal Forecast and works in the Public Policy team at Amazon. Erika recently organised the Sydney chapter of the inaugural Global Legal Hackathon and has worked as a "Technolegal" at Gilbert+Tobin. Prior to this, Erika worked for one Australia’s first legal-tech startups, LawPath. Erika is interested in interdisciplinary innovation, futures thinking as well as the regulation of technology and impact of innovation in the legal profession. She has facilitated Design Thinking and Innovation workshops for law firms and in-house counsel across the world. Erika is a trustee at the Awesome Foundation, has been involved in the Women in Cyber Program organised by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is an active member of the global LawWithoutWalls community.

Milan Ghandi is the founder of “The Legal Forecast”, a not-for-profit think tank run by early career lawyers and law students that explores issues at the intersection of law and innovation. This year, The Legal Forecast won the prestigious Law Council of Australia Award for Young Lawyer Organisation of the Year. He is a construction litigation lawyer at the national law firm McCullough Robertson, and occupied a dual role at the firm as its first ever “Innovation Ambassador”. As the “Innovation Ambassador”, Milan provides strategic support to the firm’s leadership on the opportunities inherent in change. Milan was the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Student of the Year in 2017 and has been advisor to organisations such as the Centre for Legal Innovation.

Successful applicants and teams will recieve the following support:

  • five days of residential living on campus at St Paul’s College
  • access to a diverse range of mentors from law, science, industry and academia
  • access to advanced technical facilities including 3D-Printing, coding support, to support rapid prototyping of ideas. 
  • dedicated team mentor to help your ideas develop
  • exposure to industry partners and networking opportunities
  • access to all SIP alumni events
  • ongoing internal media exposure and support.

Do I have to pay?

SIP is free for all participants. There is no enrolment cost. The program covers college accommodation (single room) and shared dining catering for the duration of the program. A holding deposit ($200) is required to be paid, when you accept the offer, which is refundable at the end of the program.

Can I get course credit?

SIP is designed as a dedicated extra-curricular, so course credit is not available.

Do I have to study law?

No, only an interest in law and science is needed!

Do I have to study science or engineering?

No, all disciplines are welcome to apply.

Do I have to study at the University of Sydney?


Do I have to be an undergraduate?

No. Students at all levels are welcome to apply.

Can I apply if I need to miss a few days?

No. You must be available for the entirety of the program duration.

How do I apply?

See the instructions above.

What is the application process like?

See instructions above. We want you to use your statement of motivation to give us a sample of your talents, ambitions and ability to contribute. That’s why we’re open to different forms because we realise that everyone has talents across different media. Use this to show off your best ideas!

How are teams allocated?

Organisers will teams are allocated on a number of different factors including demonstrated interests, topic preferences, and disciplinary background.

Can I choose who I work with?

No. You can enter preferences as to the challenge topic, but we cannot guarantee you will be placed in that team.

Once accepted, what do I need to bring?

More information will be provided to successful applicants.

How should I behave?

Students are expected to uphold the university code of conduct

Summer Innovation Program


Professor Simon Bronitt
Academic profile


Dr David Martinez-Martin
Academic profile