Five projects you could be working on in your STEM degree

From electric car racing to building robots in global competitions, STEM students at RMIT work on a range of industry-leading projects.


Ever wondered what it’s like to build an electric race car and test drive it on a Grand Prix track? Or work with global researchers to 3D print life-changing implants? How about programming a robot and competing in an international robot soccer competition? 

As an RMIT STEM student, you’ll work with industry partners on real-world projects, creating innovative solutions to global challenges and getting unique experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.

We have world-leading research centres contributing to real change, and our courses are created in collaboration with industry partners to ensure our students get the skills, knowledge and confidence that put them ahead of the pack. Here are just a few examples of what our STEM students have worked on before, and what you could do in your STEM degree at RMIT.

1. Build and race an electric race car

Do you know what the largest engineering competition in the world is? It’s the Australasian Formula SAE (FSAE), a student Formula race university competition organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers International. 

Every year, the RMIT Electric Racing team designs and builds a Formula-style race car to compete. Team members, made up of students in RMIT's mechanical and automotive engineering programs, apply their theoretical knowledge and skills to real-world problems to promote the viability and exciting future of electric cars.

The School of Engineering’s Executive Dean Professor Adrian Mourtiz says being part of such a high profile international event gives the student racing teams an opportunity to showcase their design and engineering talents to the world.

Electric car

“Our students make valuable industry connections, helping their careers flourish,” Mourtiz says.

Through RMIT’s partnership with the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix, the team’s race car is test driven on the Albert Park race track, and displayed at the Technology and Innovation Hub throughout the Grand Prix event. 

Discover RMIT’s courses in mechanical and automotive engineering.

2. Use GPS tracking in a citizen science project

Through RMIT, you could be part of first-of-their-kind STEM projects like Litter Trackers. This collaborative project between RMIT and Melbourne Water used GPS tracking to reveal how litter travels in Victoria’s waterways. 

This was only the second time that litter has been GPS-tracked in Australian waterways, and the first time for Victoria.  

RMIT students and scientists worked with schools and community groups to deploy 100 GPS-tracked bottles in 20 locations across Melbourne’s catchments. Project leader Dr Kavitha Chinathamby says Litter Trackers gives all of Melbourne a chance to see the true environmental scale of our litter problem and shows how we can all be part of the solution.

The initiative was led by RMIT’s Aquatic Environmental Stress research group, which works with schools, community groups, government and industry partners to support healthy waterways across Melbourne through the development of innovative approaches to preventing and cleaning up pollution.

Make a difference with environmental science at RMIT.

Litter Trackers project

3. Learn to 3D print at RMIT's Advanced Manufacturing Precinct

3D printing is a game changer for manufacturing in the aviation, aerospace, automotive and healthcare industries, and in RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) students and researchers are developing robotics, aero type components and surgical implants.

The AMP is the largest additive manufacturing facility in Australia. It’s where Associate Degree in Digital Technologies (Advanced Manufacturing) students complete their capstone project, fully equipped with the latest FESTO cyber physical system lab, robotics stations, a FESTO mini factory and state-of-the-art Siemans software.

Professor Milan Brandt, Technical Director of the facility, says the research conducted at the AMP combines RMIT’s expertise in technology and design innovation with a focus on additive manufacturing.

“RMIT's commitment to additive manufacturing teaching and research is not only producing the next generation of engineers, but also helping industry adopt new advanced manufacturing technologies, making them more competitive globally,” Brandt says.

In 2020, the AMP partnered with Europe’s leading 3D printing institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, to support the transformation of Australian manufacturing through student exchanges, PhD supervision and joint research projects that focus on using advanced 3D printing technologies to manufacture and repair high value-added products.

Learn in RMIT’s state-of-the-art facilities with courses in biomedical engineering.

4. Build and program robots in global competitions

In 2020, an RMIT team was chosen to compete at the largest robotics and artificial intelligence competition in the world, RoboCup 2020 in Bordeaux, France.

Made up of academics and students in a mix of experienced AI researchers and enthusiastic young rookies, the team was to compete in the headline event of humanoid football, featuring state-of-the-art, fully autonomous Nao robots that think and act for themselves.

Coach of the team, Dr Timothy Wiley, says the highly competitive environment is an ideal platform for students to learn about the challenges of autonomous robotics.

“The problems we have to solve in this competition are also the problems we have to solve in large-scale robot applications like autonomous cars. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!” Wiley says.

For computer science student Sam Komesarook, applying his programming skills to advanced robotics and writing the scripting tools to sync the bots gives him the chance to work with some of the university’s best. 

“The best moments are the ones when the models we’ve spent weeks or months refining finally deliver astounding results,” Komesarook says. “It reminds me how much this field has to contribute to society.”

Find out why RMIT is ranked in the world’s top 150 universities for computer science and information systems.

Female engineering students
Soccer robots

5. Network with industry-leading women in tech

Imagine being able to meet professionals from companies like Slack or Xero and ask them how they got there, and how you could too. RMIT’s wide range of student clubs make it possible through networking events organised to give students one-on-one access to inspiring speakers and potential mentors.

Tech industry professionals recently joined RMIT students for a networking event held by two RMIT student clubs, Females in RMIT Engineering (FIRE) and Society for Women in Information Technology (SWITCH).

15 professionals from a range of areas including start-ups, consulting, telecommunications and workplace productivity management software development companies, including Slack and Xero, shared insights and knowledge with students in breakout networking sessions, discussing what it’s like to be a woman in the tech and IT industry.

Female engineering students

For Bachelor of Engineering (Adv Manufacturing and Mechatronics) student Simran Bhalla, having one-on-one chats with a diverse group of professionals was an opportunity to learn and make connections.

“Hearing their journey and advice was incredibly insightful and it was a great way to connect with professionals in the tech industry,” Bhalla says.

Industry partners praised the event, both for giving students access to potential mentors and professional contacts, and for being able to share their learnings and insights with the bright minds at RMIT.

Find out how RMIT supports women in STEM

Story: Hilary Jones

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