Media Release

Growing the next generation of stem industry mentors

31 March 2021

The Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) is building on its successful industry engagement program to ensure that the STEM professionals it is developing can inspire and engage the next generation.

The Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) connects PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with influential industry leaders in a one-year mentoring and professional development program.

This year it is forging 350 mentoring partnerships.

A survey of our IMNIS alumni found 90-percent of mentees were influenced to consider work in industry or had begun to work in industry already.

Now ATSE is launching IMNIS Catalyst – an opportunity for past mentees to engage more broadly throughout the STEM ecosystem.

ATSE Chief Executive Kylie Walker said Catalyst participants will be given the opportunity to share what they’ve learned about industry careers and the broader STEM ecosystem through the IMNIS program with their peers and with senior high school students.

“Catalyst is a powerful extension of the IMNIS initiative since it connects today’s high school students with early-career STEM professionals at a time when they are making key decisions about their future studies.

This ensures Australia’s Year 10 to 12 students understand where a qualification in STEM can take them,” Ms Walker said.

“This is a core focus of ATSE – to foster a mobile, highly skilled STEM workforce that is inclusive and diverse.”
Catalyst participants will also receive science communication training, engage with industry leaders, and participate in IMNIS events and strategy sessions.

Industry professionals Dr Navpreet Kaur and Dr Greg Bass, as well as research biophysicist Olumide Opeyemi are among the ten inaugural participants.

“I joined IMNIS back in 2017 when I was an international student and wanted to build up my network in the STEM community in Australia. I met a lot of intelligent people who have achieved a lot in their careers,” Dr Kaur said.

“I want to build on my science communication skills to improve my capacity to forge networks within the professional scientific community. I hope to improve my ability to lead and mentor staff and students within my own team too,” Dr Bass said.

When asked what he hopes to achieve through this program Mr Opeyemi said: “To consistently nurture the next generation of effectual scientists. My work and my dream is bigger than me, it must, and will be handed over to the next generation.”

IMNIS’s Catalyst program is supported by MTPConnect’s $32 million Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative made possible by the Medical Research Future Fund.

The inaugural IMNIS Catalyst participants are:

• Olumide O. Opeyemi: PhD student, Queensland University of Technology

• Navpreet Kaur: Senior Bioprocess Scientist, Thermo Fisher Scientific

• Greg Bass: Senior Scientist – Image Analytics and Systems Biology, CSL

• Fatematuz Zohora: Research Engineer & Lead Tutor, Queensland University of Technology

• Edith Botchway: Postdoctoral Researcher, Deakin University

• Kay Myo Min: PhD student, University of South Australia

• Catriona Nguyen-Robertson: PhD student, University of Melbourne

• Samantha Papavasiliou: Risk Manager, Australian Taxation Office & lecturer at University of Adelaide

• Thilanka Morawakage: BRACE Trial Project Assistant, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

• Nick Hong Seng Lee: Laser Development Engineer, Vaxxas


Media note: More information about the Catalyst program and its participants can be found here.

Media contact: Liz Foschia or 0419 976 903

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.