Opportunities to gain commercial insights and form relationships with industry leaders are limited for most PhD students. With help from the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, the award-winning Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) is providing student mentees the unique opportunity to excel.
Key objectives of the Industry Growth Centres include working to improve workforce skills, collaboration and commercialisation outcomes between research and industry, and this includes the next generation of the Australian workforce. Growth Centres for medical technology and pharmaceuticals (MTPConnect), mining technology (METS Ignited), and energy resources (NERA) are all supporting PhD student mentees to up-skill, network and break down barriers to foster a diverse ecosystem.
The IMNIS program encourages collaboration between industry and research sectors by providing mentees with core skills and business advice and access to industry experience, and networks during a one year mentoring program. Mentees establish strong ties between industry and academia while expanding their professional networks and improving employability.
MTPConnect has helped expand the IMNIS MedTech and Pharma program to 141 students at 11 universities. It has also provided $200,000 of project funding and provides ongoing mentoring support with Sue MacLeman, Chair Elect and Non Executive Director at MTPConnect. METS Ignited and NERA have jointly supported the IMNIS Minerals Resources and Energy Resources programs matching 88 PhD mentees with industry mentors and providing $20,000 per annum each from 2017 to 2019.
IMNIS is just one of many affiliates engaged with the Industry Growth Centres Initiative across Australia’s six growth sectors.
“I believe the most important aspect of this program is the opportunity to directly ask a mentor who is engaged with the industry how things work from the inside.”
— Sebastian Quezada, IMNIS Mentee