Scholarship details

Study levels


Student type

Future students and Current students

Study area

Creative practice and communication and design

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

Application dates

Applications close
30 October 2020

What you'll receive

As the scholarship recipient, you will have the opportunity to work with a team of leading researchers and designers at QUT within the BMW Group + QUT Design Academy and with colleagues at BMW Group, to undertake your own innovative research to advance the fields of industrial design, design thinking and creativity and design expertise, and to gain an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification.

This scholarship is for exceptional students to complete a PhD on industrial design, design thinking and creativity and design expertise. It is targeted specifically for researchers interested in design, emerging technologies and its relationship to leading global corporations to advance the field of design, design thinking and design education. The scholarship is funded by QUT and based at BMW Group + QUT Design Academy at QUT, Gardens Point campus.

A scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually $28,092 per annum for a period of three and a half years will be provided to the successful applicant. Paid leave is provided equivalent to QUTPRA scholarships. The scholarship provides some funding support for travel to undertake fieldwork and data collection in Germany. The successful applicant will need to supplement travel costs through QUT HDR funds provided as part of enrolment in a PhD program in Creative Industries or through personal funds. The scholarship does not cover relocation expenses.

International students will also receive either

  • an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset (International), or
  • a QUT research degree (HDR) tuition fee scholarship.

The scholarship will be governed by QUTPRA rules. Attribution of Intellectual Property (IP) are governed by QUT’s HDR rules.


To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.

You must also:

  • have recently completed a first-class Honours degree, a research Masters degree, or a coursework Masters degree with a significant research component from a recognised institution and in a cognate discipline
  • be able to take up the scholarship and begin full-time study from February 2021, but before the 1 July 2021
  • have a strong interest in undertaking a three-year research project on industrial design, design thinking, creativity and design expertise
  • develop a research proposal that responds to and aligns with the scholarship topic, that demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the topic area, and that clearly articulates the contribution your research will make
  • demonstrate excellent capacity and potential for research
  • demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams, as well as proven ability to use initiative, and to work independently with minimal supervision and self management to deliver outcomes
  • demonstrate proficient verbal, graphic and written communication skills which will enable you to prepare scholarly and other publications, presentations and funding applications.

Ideally you will also have (not necessary but preferred):

  • demonstrated knowledge in the fields of Industrial Design, Product Design, Design Thinking and Creativity, and Design Expertise
  • demonstrated experience in the planning, conduct, analysis and reporting of qualitative and/or quantitative design research
  • demonstrated ability to apply research to meet end user and stakeholder needs through designed outputs/outcomes
  • demonstrated experience in designing, prototyping, and evaluating tangible and interfaces.

How to apply

Application for the scholarship is a two part process:

Part One

Interested applicants must submit an EOI for consideration prior to applying for this scholarship. The EOI must include:

  • a cover letter
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a one-page research proposal addressing the scholarship topic
  • a writing sample (e.g. copy of an article/essay/thesis you have completed).

The EOI should be sent by email to Dr Rafael Gomez ( no later than Friday 11 September 2020.

Part Two

On review of the EOI selected applicants will then be invited to submit a full application in the QUT Annual Scholarship Round that closes on 30 October 2020

What happens next?

Applicants will be contacted directly after the Scholarship Round closing date of 30 October 2020.

For details about QUT's application process please go to the QUT Scholarships Website.

About the scholarship

This PhD project is affiliated with the BMW Group + QUT Design Academy and is fundamental to the academy’s vision of fostering design excellence, exploring knowledge horizons and advancing cutting-edge technologies. This particular research project focuses on exploring the ways in which Industrial Designers, Creative Processes and Design Thinking have been assimilated by a multinational corporate leader like BMW Group to foster positive impacts through the application of emerging technologies. This research project is specifically for researchers interested in design, emerging technologies and its relationship to leading global corporations to advance the field of design, design thinking and design education.

Traditionally Industrial Design (ID) is founded on a blend of core competencies including user-centered design principles, manufacturing and fabrication knowledge, engineering expertise, advanced visualisation and communication skills, computer-aided design, human behaviour and business knowledge to design products and associated devices and services. However, in recent years, there has been a shift in this landscape and ID professionals are applying their knowledge, skillsets and expertise in a broad range of areas including business strategy, creative innovation, systems thinking and a host of other non-traditional functions for large multinational corporations faced with opportunities and challenges relating to emerging technologies (Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation).

Although there has been a recognition of this shift, little is known about the ways in which ID professionals are able to successfully apply these types of skillsets and approaches for corporate success, or the implications for tertiary design education. As a result, there are various opportunity areas for research including:

  • How are ID skills and knowledge helping in corporate contexts for positive impacts?
  • How can corporates better take advantage of design and creative thinking in non-traditional contexts? (e.g. in non-design departments)
  • What are the implications of this shift for tertiary design education now and in the future?
  • How does/can ID education better prepare students for these types of roles in the 21st century?

For five years, QUT has collaborated with BMW Group in Germany to provide internships for over 20 Industrial Design students. The students are having a significant impact at BMW Group and this PhD project aims to investigate the ways in which ID thinking, skillsets and aptitudes are able to create these outcomes in non-traditional contexts in the hopes of advancing knowledge in this area. These can benefit both corporate contexts (BMW Group) to better leverage designers to benefit business goals, as well as tertiary educational contexts (QUT) to better recognise these impacts and develop degrees that match these needs. Therefore, the partnership between BMW Group and QUT is a perfect case to help investigate this research.

This scholarship is suited for future domestic or international research students interested in investigating and advancing cutting-edge knowledge in Industrial Design, Design Thinking, Design Expertise and Creative Thinking within Multinational Corporations, situated within the Creative Industries Faculty, Industrial Design and the BMW Group + QUT Design Academy. The PhD research will likely involve travel to BMW Group in Germany for fieldwork and data collection.

About BMW Group + QUT Design Academy

BMW Group (BMW, Rolls Royce and Mini) is a Global Fortune 100 company and is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium automobiles, motorcycles, and provider of premium financial and mobility services headquartered in Munich, Germany. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a leading Australian university and is a national leader in collaborative industry research and teaching located in Brisbane, Australia.

The BMW Group + QUT Design Academy’s mission is to strengthen and expand BMW Group and QUT’s partnership through three bespoke programs; Internships, Research and Special Projects. Our vision is to create a hub that focuses on Fostering Design Excellence, Exploring Knowledge Horizons and Advancing Cutting-Edge Technologies. We aspire to position design and creativity as an unparalleled and indispensable skillset for the world’s best organisations. The academy is a design hub for advanced learning, cutting-edge research and R+D projects focused on the application of emerging technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and robotics among others. The academy is a partnership between BMW Group in Germany and QUT in Australia and is run and administered by QUT from its Gardens Point campus in Brisbane, Australia.

About QUT Design Lab

Design is no longer just the pursuit of creating objects or artefacts. It is a method and a research approach able to drive Australia’s National Innovation agenda.

Harnessing this potential, the QUT Design Lab was founded in 2016 to employ bold, fresh, and rigorous design-led research to tackle major societal challenges facing society, industry, community, and the environment.

Acting as a hub and home for a diverse team of academics, research students, and industry professionals, the QUT Design Lab supports transdisciplinary collaborations that result in tangible impact and engagement, and which transfer knowledge and technology into beneficial applications for industry and society.

Our mission is “Change by Design.”

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