HDR Scholarship - The value of data and digitisation for government agencies

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'The value of data and digitisation for government agencies'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Digitisation of assets is underway across most government agencies but the process and future of digitisation is still poorly understood. Currently, asset registers are being digitised across all government agencies; however, there are still significant issues with defining a ‘single point of truth’ for digital assets, assets may be missing or mislabelled and, for many organisations, assets databases may be held in groups within an organisation rather than available across the organisation. A significant amount of data is also collected which provides information on performance of assets – this includes energy performance and water consumption of buildings but also data from SCADA and sensor devices which assist in managing water and wastewater treatment plants. The quality of this data is also problematic.

To be useable, collected data must be verified and validated and cleansing is often required, especially for data either manually collected or collected from old devices which may be inaccurate, inconsistent in data collection or collecting the wrong type of data.  Significant time and resources are required to ensure data are ‘fit for purpose’. Complicating the internal digitisation process is the requirement for all government agencies to make data openly available as required under the Victoria Data Sharing Act 2017. This places a requirement on agencies to manage accountability, accuracy, privacy and security as part of the data sharing process.

As digitisation and data collection processes are improved, it is expected that data will require less time and fewer resources to verify, validate and cleanse. As data storage and management processes are improved and standardised, the concept of data as a valuable asset to the organisation will change, with data streams potentially having a greater value than the sensor devices providing the data. An investment of time and resources is required to develop a robust data management system which will provide an economic value to the organisation.

Project aim

This research will examine the future of digitisation and its impact on infrastructure asset and data management in water corporations and local government, including addressing changing financial accounting and reporting requirements, understanding and maximising the value of data and meeting legal requirements for data sharing, cybersecurity, privacy and asset management. This research will initiate a new approach to infrastructure data asset management leading to a better understanding of infrastructure management, economics, life cycles and sustainability.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 31 October 2019


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • systems thinking capability with a strong mathematics and problem solving focus
  • experience with Matlab or similar software
  • demonstrated ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary research team
  • understanding of sustainability, social and cultural contexts

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Carol Boyle

Prof Carol Boyle
Professor Of Infrastructure Engineering Design
Email Carol Boyle
+61 3 524 79356