Samia Amin, mentee in the 2018 MedTech-Pharma program in NSW. (Macquarie University)

I am pursuing a PhD at Macquarie University, working on a project of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) which will explore the reasons why people use e-cigarettes and how friends, family and social media influence people who use e-cigarettes. We will also measure the intention of future smoking of those who are using e-cigarettes currently or used previously. There is a scarcity of evidence to support e-cigarettes as a quit smoking tool among smokers or gateway effect among non-smokers to smoke in future which has serious public health consequences. I am expecting that results from this study will fill a gap in knowledge about the potential harms and benefits associated with the introduction of e-cigarettes and could be used to inform policy and health promotion activities in the future.

I am a medical doctor, besides a clinical career from 2002, I enjoy working in the academic sector and am passionate about research. I have extensive experience in research and my area of interest is women’s health with chronic disease, smoking cessation, health promotional intervention, e-health and mobile health technology. I relish the challenge of managing a diverse workload and am engaged in continuous learning to broaden my knowledge and experience. I am fascinated to contribute my knowledge and skill to improve health informatics.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

Before joining my PhD program, I was Assistant Professor of Community Medicine for 6 years in Malaysia and assigned as a coordinator of undergraduate medical student mentoring program where I was actively involved as a mentor. While doing my PhD, I was curious about industry jobs. To learn in-depth about the industry job sector, I decided to join the IMNIS initiative as a mentee. I feel that my research capability is high, but I must equip myself with skills to create an innovative, sustainable and prosperous future. I believe, under the guidance from someone with an industry background, I will gain a fresh perspective and learn a new way of thinking about upcoming carreer options beyond academia; it will also enhance my social connections. I am now a 2nd-year student, not sure about the transition from clinical or academia to industry, therefore I believe that IMNIS will be a great platform for me to think ahead to decide confidently.

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

The culture of research is changing and many employers are now seeking multiple transferable skills beside the academic proficiency. At the top of the list are leadership skills, critical thinking, problem-solving and conflict management that can help researchers advance to senior roles. Therefore, this program can directly enhance my employability which will help to bridge the gap between research and implementation. It will also influence my outlook and capacity beyond the traditions of academia which in turn, will create scope for changing the culture of science.

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

Research and development are a vast area of the pharmaceuticals industry and I am very fortunate to be connected with a mentor who explored my career prospect in this sector – specifically how a medical doctor can improve the research segment of a pharmaceutical company and developed the patient orient action plan. He is also supporting me in taking action to move toward my goal; helping me to update my resume as an industry job application prospect. He also asked me to explore the job placement criteria and write a sample cover letter to insight. We also aimed to progress connection with his network to boost my opportunities exponentially. Now, I am confident to translate my research training to seek a career in the scientific industry.

What are the top 3 key things you hope to learn through the IMNIS program? Do you have a plan, and have you set goals?

Yes, together we are exploring possible career prospects in the pharmaceutical industry and through the IMNIS initiative I aim to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. To engage in the industry sector to transform academic skills for commercialisation
  2. To develop a network with future industry area for future job scope
  3. To generate new feasible ideas beyond PhD scope

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

It is crucial for someone to decide to choose academia or industry scope during their PhD journey, but it really matters on individuals own consideration about what appeals to you: industry or academia. The IMNIS initiative assists me in considering a PhD, either seeking an intellectual challenge in an industry sector, or self-directed research coupled with academia which is the most industry-career-oriented objective of this program.

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