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The original CEED Program was developed by the late Rowland Cearns in the Department of Communication and Electrical Engineering (from which the acronym CEED was derived) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and trialed in the Department from 1984-1987. It was designed to integrate industry-based training with mainstream undergraduate education, to better prepare students for their role in industry.  

CEED has a dual mission:

Educational Mission

Produce distinguished graduates ...
with skills enhanced through co-operative education experiences
on real-world projects.

Industrial Mission

Promote enterprise development ...
through a university-industry partnership in training, expertise transfer,
innovation and development.  

At RMIT, through the original CEED model, senior undergraduate students (with a certain level of academic performance for eligibility) receive extensive training for ~16 months (a combination of in-company and on-campus) and are guided through research projects, including work during the summer vacation period. Project costs are around $12,000 per student.

The original program at RMIT received external funding from the Victorian Education Foundation in 1998 that allowed consolidation at RMIT and subsequent expansion to other disciplines within the RMIT Faculty of Engineering and to other universities around Australia.

In 1989, the National Industry Extension Service (NEIS) introduced CEED to Western Australia with funding by the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce (DITAC). This funding saw the establishment of CEED at the University of Western Australia and the West Australian College of Advanced Education (later Edith Cowan University). The acronym CEED was retained as a trademark by RMIT and was used by other universities on the condition that they adhered to the guidelines set down by RMIT for the operation of the Program. About this time, the Program was renamed 'Co-operative Education for Enterprise Development' to retain the acronym and to link the Program with other forms of co-operative education.

The University of Western Australia adopted the RMIT model for CEED within the Faculty of Engineering and chose to operate the program internally with a part time coordinator from the Faculty appointed to manage the program. In contrast the West Australian College of Advanced Education departed from the model introducing short low-cost projects ($2,000 per project at the time), the program again being run internally. This resulted in large numbers of projects (est. 70 per annum) generated.

Further expansion in Western Australia came as a result of the efforts of a private company, Expert Access Pty Ltd, under the direction of its founder, Dr. Gil Stokes.

Expert Access entered into five year contracts to establish and operate CEED at Murdoch University in 1990 and Curtin University in 1991 as an external broker. The Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) funded both Programs with two-year grants from the National Priority Reserve Fund (NPRF). Grants totalled $128,700 and $103,500 respectively each deployed over two years.  

1992 – CEED expands to Queensland

In 1992, three new sites were established with funding from the NPRF. In each case Expert Access was contracted as Program Manager in a broking role for five years. These sites were the University of Adelaide, the University of Technology Sydney and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Each grant deployed over two years totalled $154, 280. All Expert Access sites adopted the RMIT model and maintained a rigid format and induction of students.

Early 1994, Professors Baumgart and Kouzmin were commissioned to evaluate the CEED Program on the sites funded by DEET. They noted that CEED had failed to reach target numbers of projects at all sites and hence student numbers entering the program were well down. Of concern was that there was not a clear upward trend in numbers although sites were variable from 1992-1994. They also found that funding of sites lacked accountability. The report titled "Evaluation Report on the Cooperative Education for Enterprise Development Program (CEED)" made 12 findings and 31 recommendations, including:


  • Students benefited considerably from the program 
  • Industry links developed by supervisors were not significant
  • Access to university expertise and facilities were seen as important by industry
  • Long term research contracts resulting from CEED were few and far between 
  • Although financial viability is probably as low as 15-20 projects per year they recommend a level of 30 projects per year is required for a sustainable program. This is on the basis of employing a full time manager with office facilities.


  • The essential features of the model should be retained 
  • Any funded expansion of the program should retain the name CEED
  • Funding should continue for new sites on a three year basis
  • Funding to be at a reduced level with greater accountability

1994 - CEED Program at QUT and UQ

In January 1994, QUT opted to manage the Program directly and terminated the contract with Expert Access as CEED Program Manager.  

This role was later taken over by Mr. Graham Willett (Corporation Technologies P/L) who has been with CEED since 1992, and is now CEED Program Director with responsibility for the marketing and management of the Program.  

A committee of industry, university and student representatives, operates under the Chair of Mr. Colin Melvin, Manager - QUT Office of Commercial Services.  The Committee receives reports from the Program Director, regularly reviews the Program, makes recommendations and sets policy. The committee Chair reports to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Division of Research and Advancement, QUT.  

On 31 May, 1994 Expert Access announced that it was withdrawing from the CEED Program. This led to the cessation of activity at a number of the sites. As no national review of the CEED Program has been carried out since this move, only scattered information is available on the Program and its activities around Australia. Where external management has remained (QUT, University of Queensland and various universities in Sydney), the programs have developed into sound businesses with evolving models, responsive to local demand and conditions.  

From what is known, CEED programs which are managed internally by a University have tended to adhere closely to the RMIT format (duration of projects is ~15 months and there is a minimum academic performance criteria for student eligibility).  

The CEED model adopted by QUT and the University of Queensland, by contrast, targets a different segment of the market than CEED Programs operating elsewhere in Australia.   

CEED Program Qld (registered by Corporation Technologies Pty Ltd in 2005) has a little less emphasis on research projects and more on industry-based innovation and development projects. The duration of projects is shorter, usually one semester (~15 weeks), and there is no minimum academic performance (GPA) criteria for student eligibility.

The host company chooses the most appropriate student for their project. Sometimes a more 'practical' student is required and sometimes more theory or research is involved.  Projects and their requirements vary, as do the skills and knowledge of students available through CEED.

All final year students (in participating schools/departments at UQ and QUT) have an equal chance to apply for a CEED project, and they apply on a competitive basis with the host organisation choosing the student most suited to their project. CEED Program Qld is open to domestic and international students from all participating schools/departments.

As at end of 2007, CEED students have completed over 560 projects for industry-based clients across SE Queensland.  The project numbers are steadily increasing each year.  

2007 – The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Joins CEED

As at the end of 2007, the Schools of Engineering, Mathematics and Computing Science at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) joined CEED Program Qld.

Final year, Honours and Masters students from these schools are eligible to participate in CEED projects from end of 2007.

Due to USQ’s strong distance education program, their students can work on industry-based projects located in the Toowoomba region, across SE Queensland, regional Queensland, and sometimes interstate.   

CEED is in discussion with other Schools at USQ, who are also interested in offering CEED projects to their senior students.

2010 – The University of Sydney (USYDNEY) Joins CEED

As at start of 2010, the School of Information Technologies (IT) has allowed their Master of IT students to participate in CEED projects.

At the end of 2010, the Schools of AMME (Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronics) and EIE (Electrical and Information) also joined CEED, thereby allowing their final year Undergraduate students to participate in CEED projects.

USYDNEY's involvement is important to the growth of CEED, in order to meet the demands of companies with a national presence.

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