Biotechnology mentoring program launched

July 15 / 161

University of Melbourne PhD candidates and academic leaders at the launch
L to R: Julie Willis (PVC Research Capability), Dinidu Wijesurendra (Veterinary Science), Helen Billman-Jacobe, Associate Dean Research Training, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Akanksha Sharma (Agriculture), Gregory Bass (Electrical Engineering), Roghieh Skandari (Electrical Engineering), Dick Strugnell (PVC Graduate and International Research)
University of Melbourne PhD candidates and academic leaders at the launch L to R: Julie Willis (PVC Research Capability), Dinidu Wijesurendra (Veterinary Science), Helen Billman-Jacobe, Associate Dean Research Training, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Akanksha Sharma (Agriculture), Gregory Bass (Electrical Engineering), Roghieh Skandari (Electrical Engineering), Dick Strugnell (PVC Graduate and International Research)

 

A pilot mentoring program in biotechnology involving sixteen University of Melbourne PhD candidates has been launched by the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews.

The program, known as the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) initiative, will see 50 Melbourne-based PhD students mentored by industry leaders in biotechnology for the next 6-12 months.

 

It is expected students will develop their professional networks, expand their knowledge of industry and learn about research in commercial contexts.

 

In launching the program the Premier applauded the simple but powerful idea of pairing the best new minds in research with those who had made their way in industry, noting that biotechnology is a critically important growth market for Victoria. 

 

The IMNIS concept was developed by Paul Wood, Ronnie Wood, Tony Radford and John Kirby in recognition of the need for Australia to increase its university-industry collaborations, and is being supported by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). 

 

Alan Finkel, President of ATSE, said that STEM skills are core to our future prosperity, with STEM skills underpinning 75% of the replacements for jobs that will disappear in the future. 

 

The willingness of industry to support the next generation of researchers was clear. In his welcome, Dr Radford reported that 50 AusBiotech Ltd members had volunteered as mentors within three days of the call for volunteers being made.

 

If successful, the program will be expanded nationally into other STEM disciplines. 

 

Story by Amanda Davis

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