IMNIS wins national collaboration award

17 November 2016

The IMNIS mentoring scheme – a recipient of the MTPConnect Project Fund Program – has won the 2016 Best Higher Education and Training Collaboration Award at the Business/Higher Education Round Table (B/HERT) national awards.

The B/HERT Higher Education & Training Collaboration Award recognises outstanding contributions to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in higher education by members of tertiary education institutions and industry partners.

Led by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences (ATSE), the IMNIS program aims to narrow the cultural gap that exists in Australia between business and academia through the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) program, developing a national mentoring program linking PhD students with qualified industry mentors.

The program aims to develop a new generation of industry-aware PhD graduates; through engagement with industry mentors, graduate students expand their knowledge of, and appreciation for research and development, and commercial activities in relevant industries.

Over the past two years, programmes have been established in three states with 100 PhD students from 11 Universities, partnering with industry groups such as AusBiotech, Engineers Australia (WA) and TechinSA (formerly BioSA) to recruit leading professionals in their fields to mentor these students. In 2017 the program is set to expand nationally.

Through the MTPConnect Project Fund Program, a successful Victorian IMNIS pilot in biotechnology will be rolled out to all states in collaboration with AusBiotech. The focus will be on PhD students in all fields of relevance to the medical technology and pharmaceutical industry sector.

MTPConnect CEO Sue MacLeman said the B/HERT award was well deserved, with the IMNIS program set to have highly positive and practical impact.

“Congratulations to Professor Paul Wood and his team on recognition of the IMNIS program – a truly collaborative project that will be greatly beneficial to the medtech, biotech and pharma sector.

“We are delighted to be providing industry-matched funding to contribute to rolling out the highly recommended IMNIS program nationally. It is through programs like this that together we can boost the productivity and innovative capacity of the sector.”

IMNIS Principal Professor Paul Wood FTSE said collaboration between business and publicly funded research organisations (PFROs) was crucial to improving the translation of research into productivity.

“By developing a new generation of PhD students who have a better understanding of industry and the skills it values we hope to create a more innovation-focused culture within the biosciences community,” he said.

“With only 10 per cent of PhD students finding long-term academic positions, it is critical that they develop skills outside of their specific technical area. If the future PhD students do not see and understand the opportunities beyond an academic career then the number of people entering PhD programs may be significantly reduced.”