Home » Case Studies » Atlassian Gets Ahead with PhD Intern


When Information Technology leader, Atlassian, needed a smart innovation solution to optimise their lead product, Confluence, they turned to APR.Intern.

“We wanted to access the expertise to develop a content recommendation engine to provide Confluence customers faster access to relevant content so they could get back to what they do best,” said Derek Ho, Senior Data Scientist at Atlassian.

Australia’s leading all-sector, all-discipline national postgraduate internship program matched Atlassian to University of Technology Sydney (UTS) PhD student, Nazanin Borhan.

“Her research expertise and her full-time dedication were the qualities we needed most. Her great work led to the successful implementation of the content recommendation proof of concept,” said Derek.

For Nazanin, it was a chance to apply her background in data mining and machine learning to a real-world industry challenge and work with a sector leader. It was also a great way to get a foot in the industry door and fast track her career.

“APR.Intern is one of the best ways to start fresh in the market and develop the skills and networks needed to pursue industry. I learned how machine research is used in industry and new techniques, as well as developing essential soft skills,”

PhD intern, Nazanin Borhan

One of the keys to success for Nazanin was the support of academic mentor, UTS Associate Professor Paul Kennedy. He helped both Nazanin and the Atlassian team bridge the research-industry divide, bringing unique insights to advance the project.

“I really enjoy collaborative and multi-disciplinary research. Taking on the role of mentor with APR.Intern broadens your horizons beyond academic research and helps foster industry relationships,”

Associate Professor Paul Kennedy

Thanks to the project, Atlassian is keen to pursue further research collaboration, and is keen to take on future APR Intern placements.

“This project has shown us that research collaboration with academia can be a fruitful process. We definitely have plans for further engagement with the program,” added Derek.