Industry and engagement

Working together to achieve innovations in drug development
We work closely with industry partners and training programs to take breakthrough discoveries to the next stage.

Our collaborative research and training projects


The DDI is proud to host the Sydney SPARK program in collaboration with the Sydney Knowledge Hub. SPARK is a translational research and education program that provides training, mentorship, and milestone funding to research teams working in early stage drug development.


Four teams, led by Dr Nicholas HuntDr Pegah Varamini, Dr Michael Morris and Dr Shiyang Jia participated in the 2020-2021 Program. Over 24 months, the program provided education, mentorship and funding necessary to advance their research discoveries. Teams were matched with industry experts and personnel with experience that addressed knowledge gaps in their team. Participants attended workshops and regular milestone meetings, with each team receiving seed funding to support their translational journey. Following the SPARK program the participants developed their projects through new patents, creation of spin-off companies, and securing of further investment.

Dr Pegah Varamini is wearing a white coat and holding a test tube

“Being a SPARK participant was a fantastic experience. The knowledge I gained regarding all aspects of drug development and the commercialisation pathway is priceless,” said Dr Pegah Varamini (pictured left), 2020/22 SPARK Sydney team leader.


Three team have been selected, led by Dr. Jonathan Danon, Dr. Hien Duong, and A/Prof Vesysel Kayser. Watch this space to be updated on the teams progress.

Dr Nicholas Hunt portrait

"The oral insulin program that was licenced from USYD/SLHD to Endo Axiom was first supported by the Sydney SPARK program and through this initiative we learnt the pathway from laboratory experiments to target product profiles, pitching to investors and strategies to approach pre-trial and clinical stages. This training was highly important to my and our products development. The SPARK program also allowed us to the Sydney Business School," said Dr. Nick Hunt (pictured right), 2020/22 SPARK Sydney team leader.

The NSW Health PhD Partnership Program

Our researchers have collaborative projects with several biomedical and pharmaceutical companies, supported by PhD scholarships from NSW Health. If you are interested in working with us, please get in touch to find out more.

Learn more about the NSW Health PhD Partnership Program.

The ARC Centre for Fragment-based Design

The ARC CFBD is a multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers from Monash University, the Drug Discovery Initiative, and Griffith University. The Centre provide state-of-the-art training for HDR students, with transformative research programs to build partnerships between university-based researchers and industry-based research end-users.

Learn more aboiut the ARC Centre for Fragment-based Design.

Academic and industry partner in discussion

Our outreach activities

We are always looking to engage with anyone interested in early stage drug development. We run events throughout the year for researchers, medical professionals, industry representatives and the general public.

Find out more about past and upcoming events here.

Recent Successes