Industry engagement with influential STEM professionals

Industry mentoring in STEM expands to foster global connections

28 September 2021

210931 International for web2

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) is launching a dynamic new program designed to nurture Australia’s future leaders in science, technology, engineering and maths to engage with industry globally.

The IMNIS International program will connect five outstanding PhD students at the vanguard of innovation in health technologies, agriculture and renewable energy with high-calibre international experts, to develop their professional skills and networks, and boost their career trajectory.

IMNIS – the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM – is ATSE’S flagship industry engagement initiative. In partnership with MTPConnect’s Researcher Exchange and Development in Industry (REDI) initiative*, it is expanding  to include engagement with influential STEM professionals who hold influence in the international academic, business, community and diplomatic worlds.

ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said the new IMNIS International program will grow Australian awareness of STEM industries globally, foster a deeper understanding of Australia’s position internationally, and forge important international networks for aspiring leaders in Australian STEM.

“ATSE is proud to create this opportunity for Australia’s future STEM leaders to learn about international operating environments and promote inter-cultural competence, global awareness, and understanding,” Ms Walker said.

“By connecting IMNIS mentees with international mentors, we’re providing a unique industry engagement and professional development experience.”

IMNIS International mentees will be better equipped to understand international trends and advances in applied science, technology and engineering, as well as the relationships between international, national or regional organisations and their impact on business practices and the regulatory environment globally.

The five IMNIS International pilot mentees were selected through a competitive process. Each successful mentee demonstrates the desire to develop their understanding of the global STEM environment, international career pathways, and the economic, political, legal, and socio-cultural nuances to the domestic STEM market.

The mentees are:

  • Meysam Khodaparast Afarmajani, La Trobe University. Meysam’s PhD project is ”rapid in-field detection of pathogens in wastewater”.
  • Joanne Coyle, Monash University. Joanne’s PhD research explores “liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS)”. Her PhD focuses on advancing current methods that are used to study phase separation, and in creating novel methods to explore this multidisciplinary topic.
  • Joao Mendes, RMIT University. Joao’s research is focused on solar energy.
  • M Arifur Rahman, University of Queensland. Arif is examining the immunopathology of mucosal tissues during chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases.
  • Devi Jenika, University of Melbourne. Devi’s PhD investigates the potential of nanoparticles as vaccine carriers.

Their mentors are:

  • Dr Michael Zalunardo – Genetic Sciences Senior District Manager – North America with Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Dr Linda Somerville – Consultant for the UK Govt Innovation Agency (Innovate UK).
  • Dr Despina Anastasiou – Global Marketing Director, Growth Platforms with Dow Europe GmbH
  • Dr James Rush – Global Director New Products with Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG in Switzerland.
  • Professor Bobby Gaspar – CEO of Orchard Therapeutics in the UK.

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For further information about IMNIS and the IMNIS International program visit IMNIS – Today’s influencers mentoring tomorrow leaders in STEM

Media contact: Liz Foschia or 0419 976 903


*Background: Researcher Exchange and Development within Industry (REDI) initiative
The MTPConnect REDI program leverages the expertise of research, training and industry partners to drive skills development and workforce training, through deployment of an integrated, three-pillar plan. The $32 million REDI initiative is funded through the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund and will roll out in 2020 over four years.