1. How does the IMNIS initiative work?
IMNIS coordinates industry mentoring programs around Australia to increase engagement with industry, extend networks, and PhD students and early career professionals in STEM* strengthen transferable skills and understand their career options beyond academia.
IMNIS connects motivated mentees with influential industry mentors in a one year mentoring program. IMNIS also hosts five state-level events to facilitate industry-based education, training and networking.
2. Do mentees need to be PhD students or early-career professionals in STEM?
YES. IMNIS currently provides mentoring to PhD students and postdoctoral fellows either enrolled or employed at an Australian research organisation.
PhD students must be post-confirmation and in good standing (typically in year two of their PhD degree). This is to avoid the pressures often faced in the final year of the PhD where research is being finalised and the thesis written.
Early career postdoctoral fellows within 3 years of their PhD graduation are also eligible. Career disruptions will be considered.
Mentees can be domestic or international, full-time or part-time, but must be based in Australia for the duration of the program.
3. Do Mentees have to hold Australian citizenship?
No. IMNIS mentoring programs are open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and international PhD students who meet the criteria in FAQ no. 2. Mentees must be based in Australia for the duration of the program.
4. Is there an age limit for mentees?
No. IMNIS welcomes eligible mentees of any age who meet the requirements in FAQ no. 2
5. What IMNIS programs are currently available?
IMNIS provides industry mentoring in STEM areas: medical technologies, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine, digital health, data science, bioinformatics, minerals resources and services, and the energy sector (including resources and renewables), as well as agriculture, space, clinical research, sport science, psychology, AI/VR/AR, as well as other areas of health and medicine.
6. Will IMNIS be offering other Programs in the future?
Yes. IMNIS plans to develop additional programs that provide unique opportunities. This includes programs such as IMNIS Catalyst for alumni.
7. How are IMNIS mentors and mentees matched?
IMNIS uses an online platform called Mentorloop which facilitates our comprehensive on-boarding process. Participants answer a series of questions and provide their professional biography.
IMNIS mentors and mentees are carefully matched by the IMNIS team in collaboration with an experienced state-based panel of industry experts using a range of criteria including professional expertise, skills, discipline areas and career interests, while also taking specific requests into consideration.
We encourage all pairs to be open and respectful of the person on the other side of this new partnership. IMNIS goes to significant lengths to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
8. Can IMNIS Mentees choose their Mentors?
Mentors and mentees are carefully matched as outlined in FAQ no. 7, based on their location, professional interests and expertise. Specific requests are sometimes made and these are taken into consideration during the matching process.
9. Do Mentors and Mentees meet in person?
Yes. IMNIS mentees are matched with local industry mentors to facilitate face-to-face meetings. Teleconferencing or videoconferencing can be used as needed (e.g. during travel periods or government health restrictions).
10. What do IMNIS Mentors and Mentees talk about?
IMNIS is about professional skills development, sharing knowledge and expertise about the broader STEM ecosystem, and sharing career journeys and experiences in industry. IMNIS is about helping students to extend their professional network and understand the implicit skills required to succeed in industry.
Importantly, if mentees stay in research, they need to know how to engage and pitch their research to industry, and foster long-standing relationships with industry leaders in their field. If they decide to pursue an industry career, they will have the know-how and network to do so with confidence.
Typical topics for discussion include: networking, communication, working productively in a team, managing collaborations, commercialisation, career transitioning, different professions in industry, transferable skills, and the value of having a PhD.
Though not required, mentors will often help their mentee develop an industry CV, do a mock interview, strengthen their communication and networking skills, connect them with colleagues, and help them understand the potential career opportunities in industry.
11. How long is each IMNIS program?
A formal IMNIS program is one year (12 months) in duration from the date the mentor and mentee are matched.
12. How often do IMNIS Mentees and Mentors meet?
IMNIS requires a one hour per month time commitment over the year to ensure there is an opportunity to build rapport and facilitate effective mentoring.
13. Do IMNIS Mentees and Mentors receive training?
IMNIS organises events and workshops to facilitate industry-based education, professional development and networking. IMNIS also hosts a series of workshops to upskills mentees and Leaders Forums for mentors to connect with their peers.
14. What is the overall time commitment per IMNIS program?
IMNIS asks all mentors and mentees to commit to one hour per month over the year to ensure there is time to build rapport and facilitate effective mentoring (FAQ #12).
We encourage all pairs to meet ten (10) times each year. Some pairs meet for a longer period less often and vice versa. Overall, it is 10 hours per year for the individual mentoring component.
There are also networking events (2 hours in duration). All IMNIS participants are strongly encouraged to attend these events and participate fully, although we appreciate sometimes schedules may not allow.
15. Do IMNIS Mentors or Mentees get paid?
No. The IMNIS mentoring program is free to mentees and mentors generously volunteer their time, energy and expertise.
16. What if I want a different Mentor or Mentee?
IMNIS encourages all mentors and mentees to meet three (3) times before making major changes to their match. The IMNIS team also provides extra support during this process in an effort to facilitate a positive mentoring experience.
If after this time, a mentor or mentee still wish to change, there is a ‘no blame exit’ clause. A new mentor will be identified and if there is a student available, the mentor may also be rematched.
IMNIS encourages all participants to respect the individual on the other side of the mentoring partnership and explain that no one person will be perfect. In 2017, this has been requested in <2% of over 200 mentoring matches to date.
17. How do I get involved?
You can get involved as a mentor or mentee here or join the IMNIS network here. Feel free to contact us if you would like more details about IMNIS.
If you have queries not in the FAQ please contact us.
*STEM = science, technology, engineering and mathematics (including health and medicine)