Industry Engagement & Collaboration

In our 2017-2018 program, there were high levels of collaboration and engagement within our mentoring partnerships.

The majority of mentees (91%) said they had a better understanding of industry, the skills needed to succeed, the careers available, and that they had extended their professional network beyond academia. Importantly, 95% of mentors agreed.

Most mentees (86%) said they had attained the knowledge and skills to assist them in engaging and collaborating with industry, while two thirds of our industry mentors were engaged, or planning to engage, in their mentee’s academic research, their research group and/or their organisation.

The positive effects of these industry-academia collaborations are felt on both sides of the mentoring partnership.


Industry Internships & Employment

Additional bonus outcomes, that are not considered primary objectives of the IMNIS initiative, were that most mentees (84%) said they developed knowledge and skills needed to attain an internship or job in industry. Excitingly, almost one third of IMNIS mentees – 60 students – went on to do an internship or land a job in industry during their one year program. These students attribute this success to the advice of their mentor and their increased confidence, knowledge and skills through mentoring.

IMNIS Alumni who gained industry employment:

Aida Shakouri (2017-18 MedTech-Pharma Program VIC)

Aida is a late stage PhD candidate majoring in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital. Her research focuses on developing a platform to improve stem-cell based therapies.

Aida finished her undergraduate and master’s degree at the Amirkabir University of Technology, Iran and worked as a research fellow at the Sina Trauma and Surgery Research centre, Sina Hospital (Iran) focusing on spinal cord injuries before coming to Australia for her PhD studies.

In her final year of PhD studies, Aida joined the IMNIS program as a mentee (Victoria), and was mentored by Ms. Gina Kennedy from Covance. The IMNIS mentorship program helped her to pursue her career in the industry as a Clinical Research Associate at Syneos Health.

Why did you participate in the IMNIS program?

From the beginning of my PhD journey I was curious about the alternative career paths to the traditional academic one. In the first year of my PhD studies, I volunteered to organise two career development sessions through the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) as the chair of the organising committee. In these events, the panellists were all individuals with different career paths, all stemming from a STEM PhD. I was so lucky to see and learn from these incredible individuals and found what would be the most exciting career opportunity for me. I knew what I wanted, but I was not sure how I could get there and I found IMNIS to be a perfect support for me to find my paths to get where I want to be.

Did you achieve what you originally aimed to achieve in your mentoring journey?

“I joined the IMNIS program not knowing how much support I would receive and how much this support would help me get my first industry job. This journey not only achieved what I was aiming for, but also worked out way beyond my original aims.”

How did your IMNIS mentor/ the IMNIS initiative help you get to where you are now? Do you feel more confident? Have you gained new skills?

“This program has helped me in many ways. To name a few, I got the confidence and assurance that I will be able to pursue my dream job, it helped me to extend my network and to improve my communication skills. I am so excited to see how this fantastic initiative achieves bigger goals in the future and helps the next generation of STEM PhD to pursue their career goals.”


Jomana Al-Nu’airat (2017-18 Energy-Minerals Program WA)

Jomana Al-Nu’airat is currently a systems engineer with Synergy at Muja Power Station. She has five years of experience in engineering research, development, and management. Her motivation stems from her passion for excellence and a strong commitment to finding solutions.

Jomana received her honours in chemical engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology with the degree of achievement. She also awarded the First place at the Sixth National Technology Parade (NTP), the First place at JOSCO (Jordan Oil Shale Company) Award for Applied Scientific Research, and the First place at the Jordan Engineers Association Competition for the graduation projects of engineering colleges in Jordanian universities. Her novel research approach not only provided a solution to eliminate two industrial wastes (Electric arc furnace dust and waste halogenated plastic materials) but also to extract Zinc in feasible way.

Recently, Jomana finished her chemical engineering PhD while holding the Murdoch University Strategic Scholarship (MUSS) award. She worked on putting an end to coal spontaneous fires worldwide. During her research at Murdoch, she maintained an excellent performance and delivered 10 scientific research papers in top-tier journals. She has landed the Three minutes thesis competition (3 MT) runner-up award, the Three minutes thesis competition (3 MT) People’s Choice award, and was awarded Australia’s (EA) selected finalist Postgraduate Research Excellence Award (2017). In general, she loves design in all terms especially those providing practical solutions to industrial problems, and a love for hiking completes the list. Jomana was a mentee in the Energy-Minerals Resources program in Western Australia.

Jomana says:

“I am greatly thankful for the opportunity to be part of the IMNIS mentoring program. It was a wonderful experience and made me even more certain that I would like to pursue a career in industry.”

“I was able to spend many hours with my mentor talking about my goals and plans. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to get the help I needed to focus and make plans when I started out without much hope. The advice and experience have been tremendously helpful throughout these past twelve months. As a result of the expertise and guidance, I landed my first industrial job, and am proud to be the first woman engineer to work at Muja power station.”


Jitesh Hora (2017-18 Energy Program SA)

Jitesh Hora is a result-oriented professional specialised in Metallurgical Engineering & Materials Science. Jitesh completed a Bachelor & Master of Technology (Dual Degree Program) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India (IIT BOMBAY). He then commenced his PhD in the field of material science in Future Industries Institute at University of South Australia. Jitesh’s project objective is to use nanoengineering to understand the effect of mechanical properties of polymeric substrates on structure-property relationships of metallic ultra-thin films, deposited on them in order to produce nano structured coatings.

During his PhD journey, Jitesh developed a firm desire to pursue a career in the protection and management of intellectual property supporting commercialisation of research in this subject matter area. Jitesh joined the IMNIS Energy-Resources program in South Australia where he was paired with his mentor who helped him to understand industry, clear many confusions, and provide valuable advice and guidance. With the guidance of his mentor, Jitesh gained his first employment as a Trainee Patent Attorney in early 2019.

Would you recommend participating in the IMNIS program to your peers?

I am a great supporter of IMNIS program. I have learnt a lot from the program. The regular events are amazing and provide a lot of scope for networking. Overall, I would say IMNIS provides a very strong platform to learn a lot in order to become an accomplished professional.

I can assuredly say that it was the IMNIS mentoring program and my mentor that gave me the tools, guidance and determination to make a transition into industry that might have otherwise never happened! I strongly recommend participating in the IMNIS program to my peers.

What was the best piece of advice you received? What was the most important aspect of this professional relationship for you?

I had no clear idea of the different career options available in the area of IP management and protection. I prepared a list of questions for the first meeting with my mentor, as my mind was full of questions. When we first met, my mentor gave me clear direction, and with frequent discussions over email and phone my initial questions were answered. In subsequent communications, my mentor guided me to develop a professional career in this field. I firmly believe that I got my first employment as Trainee Patent Attorney only because of the guidance of my mentor.

Did you achieve what you originally aimed to achieve in your mentoring journey?

I have achieved more than what I had originally aimed to achieve in my mentoring journey. I have learnt a lot during this journey and have made many good networks.