Aminul Islam, PhD candidate IMNIS mentee in the 2017 MedTech-Pharma program in VIC (La Trobe University)

“…communication and networking not only open doors of opportunity but also help me to better prepare for my future career”

I am Aminul Islam, a final year PhD candidate in Physical-Environmental Chemistry, Department of Pharmacy and Applied Science, La Trobe University, Australia. I am originally from Bangladesh, a country full of natural beauty and now known as a Land of Cricket. In my PhD research at La Trobe University, I have the privilege to work on an exciting project under the supervision of Dr. Michael J. Angove. My research focuses on wastewater treatment using manganese oxides and boehmite nanoparticles which eventually remove environmental pollutants such heavy metal ions, anions, organic dyes, humic substances from aquatic environment and enable us to understand the interaction of pollutants with soil minerals.

Prior to this, I have completed my MS with BS (Hons.) in physical chemistry from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh where I worked on preparation and application of colloidal manganese dioxide. I also did M. Phil in Nanochemistry from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology where I worked on synthesis and characterization of manganese oxide nanoparticles to degrade dyes from wastewater. In addition, I hold several teaching positions in tertiary education level in Bangladesh where I taught laboratory and theory courses in chemistry. I also demonstrated chemistry practical classes of undergraduate students and performed various volunteering roles at La Trobe University.

My participation in interdisciplinary research enhanced my research knowledge and my work experiences from diverse global work environments have provided me with perseverance to perform effectively in my research area of interest and are helping me to fulfill my career goals. I feel very optimistic to be involved in a project that I am passionate about and that is within the field that I would like to pursue in the future.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

A strong collaboration between universities and industry partners is now a part and parcel in translating early research into commercial development. Being a Ph.D candidate in the environmental chemistry research area I felt that it was the right time to prepare myself for the next stage of my career. As a full-time research student I do not have the experience of working in the industrial environment. Therefore, I joined IMNIS mainly to acquire industry-relevant knowledge, predominantly in commercialisation and regulatory processes, and also to develop my industry network. 

 

Aminul with his industry mentor Tom Williams in an event at Melbourne.

 

What is the most important aspect of this professional relationship for you?

I feel privileged to have a mentor who has extensive experience in research, development, entrepreneurship, and management. Building a professional connection with my mentor has allowed me to understand and compare the industry work environment, the pace and the goals in industry compared to academia.

What do you hope your mentor can help you achieve and what is the best piece of advice you have received so far?

My mentor has always told me that “nowadays a mere PhD degree is not enough to get a good job in industry or to be an industry professional, and you need to be well trained with some industry related short courses”. He has helped me to build up my confidence and encouraged me to advance my research career professionally. With his guidance, efforts and learning from his past experiences, I believe that communication and networking not only open doors of opportunity but also help me to better prepare for my future career.

What are the top 3 key things you hope to learn through the IMNIS program?

Being a mentee, I hope that the initiative helps me:

  • Develop a good understanding of how industry works and learn how to identify academic experiences that are transferable to the industry.
  • Develop professional skills to become a successful professional for working in collaboration with industry.
  • Extend my professional network and learn about the factors that industry professionals consider most in an innovative idea.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the IMNIS program for you so far?

There are many rewarding aspects related to this program. However, the most rewarding was being able to meet new industry people and ask questions to enrich my knowledge in industrial environments. Another aspect is the  networking with  industry personnel and learning more about the skills that  industry leaders look for in a potential candidate. It enabled me to meet my mentor, mentees, other mentors, peers, leaders, policymakers, and others from whom I am learning about a vast area of industry and academic professions where my expertise and experiences can be transferable. I liked the experience and enthusiasm they share, and strongly encourage more postgraduate students to be involved in this initiative.

What are your favorite hobbies/interests

I like to visit new places, sightseeing, know the cultures and traditions of the new place. I love to write something new that is valuable. I like to organise and participate in volunteering, social and religious events. I am also passionate about cooking a new recipe and enjoy listening to music. Finally, I love to achieve my goals in time.

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