WA Industry Panel: How to Kickstart Your Career

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Pictured: MTPConnect Director Stakeholder Engagement WA Dr Kate Brooks opening the event in Perth at KPMG.

The MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, in partnership with CSIRO’s PhD student connecting platform Ribit, hosted a forum for PhD students, post graduates and early-to-mid-career researchers to connect with industry leaders.

We heard from keynote speaker, Paul McCarthy, an Adjunct Professor at UNSW, who gave us an introduction to his newly published report “Advancing Australia’s Knowledge Economy” in partnership with Ribit and APRIntern. The report illuminates current engagement between Australian businesses and research graduates, revealing which sectors within the Australian workforce employ PhD holders, and what the career ambitions of current PhD students are.

With the steep rise in PhD graduations and growing demand within the private and public sectors for innovative capability, universities are no longer the main career option for PhD graduates. The demand for employees who have deep analytical skills, technical depth and the ability to tackle complex challenges is increasing. Even though in theory there is plenty of interest from research graduates and industry to engage with each other, in practice there are still some hurdles to overcome. There is the often-reported hesitation from businesses to hire PhD graduates and the reluctance of graduates to rewrite their resume to seek work outside academia.

Our Director Stakeholder Engagement WA Dr Kate Brooks chaired the industry panel, which featured:

  • Dr Jeremy Nunn (workmetrics)
  • Tracey McClurg (APRIntern)
  • Tom Goerke (Cisco)
  • Prof Joe Luca (Edith Cowan University)
  • Dr Helga Mikkelson (Brandon Capital Partners)
  • Paul McCarthy (UNSW)

The panellists gave advice and shared their personal experiences of transitioning out of academia and into industry or vice versa. As well as answering eager questions, the panellists spent time afterwards networking to swap business cards and provide further advice.

Dr Kate Brooks who brought all the experts together said it was the right time to reach out to early-career researchers in WA to help them advance their careers.

“WA PhD and post-graduate students have a lot to offer industry and it was great to connect these groups, who are integral to driving our knowledge economy through their ideas and digital skill set,” Dr Brooks explained.

We got some great feedback and awesome questions from all who attended. Here are just some snippets!

Today's event "Advancing Australia's Knowledge Economy" left me extremely optimistic and motivated for the future of healthcare innovation in WA and the contribution of PhD graduates to the boost of the ecosystem.

                                                                              Martina Mariano – PhD candidate in Neurogenetics

As I am getting closer to the end of my PhD adventure, expert advice from people in industry and support from fellow PhD students becomes more and more invaluable.

                                                                              Ronniy Joseph – PhD candidate in Astrophysics

Awesome event Kate and the team!

                                                                              Nikhilesh Bappoo – PhD candidate in Vascular Engineering