1. How does the IMNIS initiative work?
IMNIS coordinates multiple programs around Australia that provide one-to-one mentoring between motivated PhD students in STEM* and high profile executive-level industry mentors for one year. IMNIS also organises five state-level events to facilitate industry-based education, training and networking.
2. Do mentees need to be PhD students in STEM?
At this stage YES. IMNIS currently provides mentoring to actively enrolled PhD students in good standing who have passed confirmation and are in their second year of the PhD. This is to avoid the pressures often faced in the final year of the PhD where research is being finalised and the thesis drafted. PhD students can be either full-time or part-time, as long as they are post-confirmation and formally in their second year.
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.
4. Is there an age limit for mentees?
No. IMNIS welcomes STEM PhD students of any age who meet the requirements in FAQ no. 2
5. What IMNIS programs are currently available?
IMNIS currently offers industry mentoring in the following STEM areas: medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, minerals resources and energy resources (including renewables).
6. Will IMNIS be offering other Programs in the future?
Yes. IMNIS plans to develop additional programs in other STEM areas such as information technology, agriculture and regenerative medicine. IMNIS also aims to extend the program to early and mid career researchers in the future.
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 an experienced state-based panel of STEM 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).
10. What do IMNIS Mentors and Mentees talk about?
IMNIS is not about supervising the PhD student, nor advising or consulting on their PhD project. IMNIS is about professional skills development, sharing knowledge and expertise about the broader STEM ecosystem, and sharing their career journey and experiences in industry. It 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, it is important they understand how to engage and pitch their research to industry, and foster long-standing relationships with industry leaders in their field. Typical topics for discussion include: networking, communication, working productively in a team, managing collaborations, commercialisation, career transitioning, different types of professions in industry, transferable skills, and the value of having a PhD.
11. How long is each IMNIS program?
A formal IMNIS program is one year (12 months) in duration.
12. How often should IMNIS Mentees and Mentors meet?
IMNIS requires a minimum of 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 five state-level events (ranging 1-3 hours in duration) to facilitate industry-based education, training and networking. These are typically targeted at mentees with mentors playing an expert advisory role.
14. What is the overall time commitment per IMNIS program?
IMNIS requires a minimum of a one hour per month time commitment over the year to ensure there is an opportunity to build rapport and facilitate effective mentoring (see FAQ no. 12). This means 12 hours per year for the individual mentoring component. There are also five state-level events (ranging 1-3 hours in duration). All IMNIS participants are strongly encouraged to attend these events, 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?
We encourage all mentors and mentees to meet at least twice before making any 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 mentee or mentor will be obtained whenever possible. We encourage 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?
If you have queries not in the FAQ please contact us.
*STEM = science, technology, engineering and mathematics (including health and medicine)