Industry Engagement

The Coleman lab is interested in engaging with partners to solve real-world problems, and to create new technologies. We have collaborated with industry, government, and community organisations:

+ We have helped Orica Australia Ltd to understand the microbiology at their Botany site, and to identify, characterise, and map the distribution of pollutant-degrading microbes​

+ We have worked with Environmental Earth Sciences Inc. to investigate the feasibility of microbial methods for chloroform bioremediation

+ We assisted United Voice to perform microbial analyses, in support of establishing better working conditions for cleaners in shopping malls

+ We have acted as consultants for the Environmental Defender’s Office, to provide expert advice on groundwater microbiology and pollution issues ​

+ We have performed contract research for Austar Coal to assess microbial methods to remove organosulfur compounds from coal​

+ We worked with Biometic Pty Ltd to develop antibacterial scaffolds for wound healing

+ We are partnering with Quantal Bioscience to investigate the microbial communities in the equine hindgut, and assess the implications for horse health​

+ We are working in an ARC Linkage project with Ventia, to investigate microbial methods for remediation of polyfluorinated aliphatic compounds (PFAS)

Project types and Costs:

Our industry collaborations can take different forms, depending on whether the work is lab-based or not, whether it employs other workers or students, whether it generates novel intellectual property, and how much time commitment is needed.

Broadly speaking, these collaborations are described as ‘consultancy’, ‘testing’, or ‘research’, and they may be done as direct contracts between the University of Sydney and the industry partner, or formulated as part of larger grants which also include government funding (e.g. ARC Linkage). Estimated costs for different kinds of industry partnerships are given below (note that these are only indicative; different projects will vary substantially).

+ A consultancy not involving lab work, which generates a report based on literature review and expert opinion: $2000-$5000, depending on time commitment.

+ A lab-based project that uses Honours students or Graduate Diploma students as the hands-on workers: $10,000-$20,000, depending on consumables (1 year).  This is  the most cost-effective way to answer a serious research question.

+ A lab-based project that requires more intensive research via a Masters or PhD student: $50,000 – $150,000, which includes a student stipend and consumables funding (1.5 – 3.5 years).

+ Short-term lab-based studies can also be done via hiring a research assistant; these are more expensive per unit of time than student projects (approx. $50 per hour incl. on-costs), but can be cost-effective if the research is straightforward.

+ Acting as the partner in an ARC Linkage grant is a great way to leverage funds, and allows us to employ a postdoctoral fellow to perform the hands-on work. These workers are experts, and can tackle more difficult problems than students, and produce world-class research. A cash contribution of ~ 30% from the industry partner is typically needed, which is approx. $150,000 for a 3 year project.

​All industry contracts are managed via the University of Sydney Commercial Developments and Industrial Partnerships (CDIP) office.