How can Australia Best Benefit from the Space Industry?

Location: Melbourne, VIC

Duration: 5 months

Proposed start date: ASAP

Project Background

KPMG is the leading industry consultancy in Australia, for defence, national security and related technologies. KPMG is currently standing up a dedicated Space practice, focusing on the commercial potential for Space-related and Space-enabled technologies to thrive in Australia. KPMG understands that Space-enabled technologies are transforming business practices in two key sectors for Australia – the Extractive Resources and the Agriculture & Livestock sectors.

In partnership with the APR.Intern program, KPMG is proposing to establish a cluster of three PhD researcher internships, as part of a multidisciplinary initiative to conduct research into identifying optimal benefits for Australia from the space industry, following the Australian Government’s 2018 investment in an Australian Space Agency (ASA), with particular reference to the implications for Mining and Agriculture.

To achieve maximum synergy from the researcher team, it is envisaged all three interrelated projects could be presented by the PhD researcher team, as part of a one-day public, KPMG Space Colloquium and Workshop, in conjunction with the ASA, at the conclusion of the internship Program.

In addition, the research findings will enable Thought Leadership publications and presentations under the KPMG banner by practices outside the Defence and National Security sector, namely the Extractive Resources and Agriculture practices.

Research to be Conducted

The research to be undertaken will be conducted and presented through a multidisciplinary team, ideally all based in Melbourne, but not necessarily from the same university.  This approach will enable optimal cross pollination of ideas, as well as views and inputs from the PhD candidates’ mentors across several universities.  Research and deliverables of project three, Mining, will focus on the following area:

  1. Providing a recommendation on technologies how the Australian mining sector can profit and generate complementary entrepreneurial spin-off, from engagement in space industry activities/space technologies. That research focused specifically on the mining will investigate and answer some of the big questions around this area.  For example, space-based platforms can assist terrestrial mining by providing remote, large scale images of surfaces in terms of composition and topology. These can both change over timescales in the order of 1 hour, hence existing data bases are rapidly out of date or inaccurate, and for many applications data bases require regular updating. A core question is whether or not existing platforms and existing international image services (such as provided by LANDSAT, Airbus DS, etc) are adequate, and/or whether or not new platforms are needed, in particular ones that should be under Australian sovereign control. In terms of new platforms, the research will also explore what type of missions, platforms and instruments are best suited to the tasks envisaged. Is there a possibility of adapting instruments used for alternative missions? What overseas organisations should be partnered with, in order to best bring about the desired advances? What are the exact needs of the users? Who exactly are the users and how can their needs best be met? What are the capability and data gaps that need to be filled?  In addition, and most importantly, the research will dive deeper on the commercial proposition? How will Space business entities be remunerated? What is the involvement of third parties such as commodity speculators and stock traders? How is the data sold to end users? Is this a domestic market, or are we also interested in commodity shipping? How are market surveys to be performed?

Skills Required

We are looking for a PhD student with the following:

  • Extractive Resources
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Remote Sensing
  • Strong writing skills
  • Able to work in a multi-disciplinary team

Expected Outcomes

Expected outcomes would include: A publication/final report summarising findings.

A final presentation slide deck and compendium of data to be provided KPMG, summarising research analysis, findings and recommendations, with the aim of assisting KPMG partners and consultants to informing policy for both industry and government, demonstrating KPMG’s unique grasp of the implications of Space technology for terrestrial industries like Mining and Agriculture.

There may also be opportunities for a KPMG-University team approach to present findings at high-profile industry conferences.

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.

Applications Close

27 March 2019


APR – 0883