Work with the experts. Get your hands on the latest technology. Apply now for the Summer Research Program

Curious and ambitious, Shayne D’Lima (BE(Hons), BCom) saw the Summer Research Program as a wonderful way to gain insight into engineering research and develop his technical skills. This scholarship program promised an exciting and rewarding 12 weeks over summer break before finishing uni.

As part of the program, Shayne joined Professor Tom Drummond, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, Dr Akansel Cosgun, Research Fellow, and Luke Ditria, PhD researcher, in their work on robot manipulation. They wanted to find out whether a robotic arm pushing multiple objects at the same time might be a viable new sorting method, along with the traditional picking and placing of each object individually. (Spoiler alert: the answer was “yes”.)

“I had a chance to work with cutting-edge technology,” says Shayne. “Using location information from depth cameras, we could then program the positioning of the robotic arm to sort objects on a table. And seeing what we’d simulated in a software environment performing in the real-world was a huge highlight.”

Full of praise for the program, Shayne relays, “From my very first day, I was treated as a valued member of the team, engaging in frequent meetings with academics to discuss ideas, problems encountered, and the project’s next steps. I learned a lot from those around me, and was encouraged to ask for help whenever I was unsure about anything.”

Weekly workshops covered everything from how to source relevant research papers to how to present research findings to an academic audience. “I also had to work with software and hardware I hadn’t used before,” explains Shayne. “This introduced me to emerging technologies, and improved my programming skills – skills that will transfer to my future studies and undoubtedly help progress my career.”

Program participants presented their research to peers and academics. “Everyone was genuinely interested in hearing about everyone else’s project, and this sparked many in-depth discussions, with new ideas from different perspectives,” shares Shayne. “We also received instant feedback from academics on how to improve and build upon our work.”

Shayne sums up his eye-opening experience: “The Summer Research Program let me see firsthand what’s involved in engineering research, and that it’s a career with endless possibilities – one that feeds your curiosity, nurtures your creativity, and constantly expands your knowledge.”

Now open for applications, the 2019-2020 Summer Research Program offers a choice of over 80 engineering research projects to eligible students in or entering the final year of a relevant undergraduate or coursework master’s degree. Applications close Friday 26 July.