Arup Research Investment Portfolio Value Assessment

Location: Melbourne, VIC

Duration: 3 months

Proposed start date: June 2018

Keywords: Research Impact Framework, Value from Investment

Please note: Due to funding requirements, students must have Australian Citizenship or Permanent Residency to apply. Applicants not meeting this requirement will be deemed ineligible for this project.

Project Background

Arup is an independent firm of designers, engineers, architects, planners, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment. Arup Research is part of the Arup Foresight, Research and Innovation team and works to increase the value, visibility and social usefulness of Arup’s research investments. They lead programs that test early and high-risk technologies, methodologies and ideas in real-world scenarios.

Working collaboratively with industry, university, government and community partners, Arup Research tackles the problems we expect to encounter over the coming decade. Arup Research identifies trends and problems in collaboration with Arup Foresight. They run about 70 projects each year across Australasia and about 500 globally. For a sample of projects go to

Research to be Conducted

Arup are seeking an intern to help coordinate and deliver a high-quality program audit for a suite of 60+ research projects recently run in Australasia in cities, transport, water and energy research areas. Through the audit they wish to assess the:

  • Value and impact of research investment across a range of tangible and intangible values.
  • Basic project management compliance (reports, literature reviews, collateral and dissemination submitted)
  • Areas for improvement in research value and impact at a portfolio level

Working as part of a small team, the project offers the chance to immerse yourself into the firm and gain exposure to a broad range of research topics across design, planning and engineering disciplines.

Skills Required

Arup are looking for a PhD student who is passionate about research, and its impact on the built environment. They are open to a variety of disciplines – engineering, architecture, computer science, economics & commerce / MBA, arts, planning – so long as you are interested in the built environment, and can work at a detailed level to pick up technical concepts quickly, but also work at a strategic level to assess Arup’s research portfolio as a whole.

• Able to pick up, interrogate and discuss technical concepts quickly, even if outside your own discipline
• Able to draw connections and synthesise many, sometimes competing, ideas.
• Demonstrate understanding, and be able to explain simply, the research process, whether through traditional (scientific method) or through newer (design thinking) methods.
• Good visual communication skills – able to present information in a simple, visual way that is intuitively understood by those who don’t have much time to read…

Commercial and communication
• Able to work in a commercial environment where colleagues don’t have much time to spend on research. This means being efficient when talking with researchers, and working around their needs
• Communicates articulately and openly through asking questions and listening to ensure comprehension
• Ability to check own work before distributing to others
• Capable of judging a situation and choosing the best communication method to achieve the desired outcome
• Ability to build and maintain relationship with internal and external parties by demonstrating a polite, open, honest and fair approach
• Capable of working well with people at all levels – technical and strategic
• Self-aware, understands their role in the team and takes responsibility for own actions
• Proactive in showing others how things are done in order to improve the operation of the team and build researcher capacity

Planning & Organising
• Concerned with outcomes, thinking things through and making contingencies
• Organised, methodical and thorough in approach to work in order to meet deadlines
• Takes a leading role in tasks and activities
• Able to multitask and balance demands, taking responsibility for tasks and delivering appropriate solutions

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcome of the audit is a report detailing the value assessment of the tangible and intangible impact (including metrics) of Arup’s research portfolio. The report should include:
• Introduction to the project
• Method statement (they have already developed one, but it will need to be tweaked)

To do this, Arup expect your duties will include:

Program audit
o Deliver an audit of internal 17/18 research projects, ensuring that project collateral (deliverables, outputs and review) has been captured, documented and appropriately managed
o Deliver a portfolio level value assessment to supplement the audit through a series of structured internal face-to-face interviews
o Work with the global research team to ensure consistency in the audit methods and findings
o Manage internal client communications with composure and clarity, achieving buy-in and support to conduct the audit
o Manage communications with the Research team on the status of the audit.
o Provide timely and accurate reporting of project progress

Administration and documentation
o The audit will require quite a fair bit of administration. This will involve contacting (phone, email, slack etc) researchers, setting up times to meet and interview them, checking their projects are appropriately documented and recording the outcomes.
o Through these conversations, you will likely be asked all sorts of questions about the research program, and you’ll need to respond to these questions (with help if needed)
o Other administrative duties may be required at times i.e. assisting in the booking of resources, diary management, research administration support and internal communications.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.
It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner. The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.
The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

To participate in the APR.Intern program, all applicants must satisfy the following criteria:
• Be a PhD student currently enrolled at an Australian university
• PhD candidature must be confirmed
• Applicants must have the written approval of their Principal Supervisor to undertake the internship. This approval must be submitted at the time of application.
• Internships are also subject to any requirements stipulated by the student’s and the academic mentor’s university

Applications Close

 22 June 2018


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