Claudia Binder, PhD student and IMNIS mentee in the 2017 Energy Resources Program – The University of South Australia (SA)

“The most important aspect [of IMNIS] for me is the non-judging feedback allowing reflection of my performance and my personal development”

My name is Claudia Binder and I am a chemist by training with international and multidisciplinary background. I received my Bachelor and Master degrees in Technical Chemistry at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria. During my scientific education I had the opportunity to visit Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden for one year as exchange student and working for almost one year at Infineon Technologies, one of the world’s top manufacturer in semiconductors.

In 2016, I joined the research group of Dr Craig Priest as PhD candidate at the University of South Australia. My research project is at the forefront of one of the fastest developing technologies: Microfluidics. Here, I focus on the understanding of the interfacial and near-interface phenomena (chemical and physical) of solvent extraction systems of Platinum Group Metals in microfluidic devices.

As part of my career development I have the opportunity to be part of the IMNIS Energy Resources program in South Australia. My industrial internships in the past offered me invaluable insights into diverse chemical disciplines and provided me with skills ranging from analytical thinking over problem solving to team-building. From the beginning of my academic education I realised the importance of engaging with industry to achieve a better understanding of their needs. I believe that innovation starts by understanding the problem and that any problem can be solved by teamwork and innovation.

One of my overarching goals is sustainability that benefits our society. This involves industry as well as the young generations, who will shape the future. After finishing my PhD I plan to pursue an industrial career where I can engage with the research in academia to bring new and innovative products to the end users.

Why are you participating in the IMNIS program?

I am part of this program to obtain an industrial-based perspective on challenges and focuses in regard of research as well as attributes, which are necessary for an industrial career path. Distinguishing and understanding cultural differences of employment expectations and career goals will also allow me to become good future leader in industry.

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

My mentoring relationship gives me the opportunity to gain insights into the Australian industry and discuss my career goals and issues. The most important aspect for me is the non-judging feedback allowing reflection of my performance and my personal development.

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

I hope my mentoring relationship will help me trigger my potential, and allow me to reflect and then reach my full potential. Furthermore, I expect to develop more skills to become a better leader and researcher in industry. Probably the best advice I have received so far was to understand that mistakes are not failures, but a way to motivate for improvement.

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

  • How to manage my time effectively including the application of the 20/80 rule
  • How to develop myself to become an inspiring leader
  • How to be a successful communicator and networker

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

The opportunity to engage and connect with the top leaders from Australia throughout the diverse sectors in a professional but also relaxed atmosphere. In particular, this includes the personal mentor meetings which allow for conversation about personal challenges, goals and feedback.

LinkedIn: Claudia Binder