The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) recently hosted a series of exciting events with IMNIS mentors, mentees and invited speakers on Engaging with Industry.

To translate research to knowledge, practice, policy or product, researchers need to know how to pitch the benefits and impact of their research clearly to a wide range of audiences. They also need to understand what it is exactly potential industry partners need to know.

Keynote speakers shared their key strategies and advice for successful industry-academia collaborations, as well as the challenges and successes faced during their careers in research and innovation. Our Keynote speakers included:

  • Dr Carrie Hillyard FTSE, Director, Academy Fellow and IMNIS mentor
  • Professor David Huang, Clunies-Ross Awardee and Group Leader at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research
  • Dr John Walshe, Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO Minerals Resources in Perth
  • Professor Robert McLaughlin, Chair of Biophotonics at The University of Adelaide in South Australia.

In each state, the Keynote was followed by an expert panel discussion on how, when and why to engage with industry, the importance of understanding commercialisation, milestones, timelines and budgets, developing strong professional connections beyond academia, as well as how an entrepreneurial mindset can facilitate resilience and success in any setting. They also discussed how to foster stronger collaborations between industry and academia, and the best strategies for success.

The advice was astute and actionable, and it included networking and connecting broadly, learning the jargon, seeking out education and training opportunities, communicating clearly, understanding that the public and private sectors have different drivers, not making assumptions prior to engaging, engaging early, developing trust and relationships with industry professionals over time, working with industry to solve problems, and having a good team around you.