News / 12 September 2018

Associate Professor David Rhodes and Dr Luisa Guthrie at Industry Mentoring Program
Associate Professor David Rhodes and Dr Luisa Guthrie discuss their industry experiences at the inaugural session of the Industry Mentoring Program.

There tends to be a common misconception amongst young scientists that academia is the only viable career path. To deconstruct this misleading dogma, ARMI designed the Industry Mentoring Program. By providing ARMI students and early career researchers with insights into the many opportunities open to innovative and ambitious scientists, this program seeks to inform ARMI researchers of the career pathways outside of academia.

“Industry has an important role in translating bench discoveries into treatments for the clinic,” commented Silvio Tiziani, Director of External Strategy and Planning at ARMI and the mastermind behind this new initiative. “It's important we educate young scientists of this role in one of the world's most rapidly growing and in-demand sectors and the many different skills that will be needed - now and into the future.’

The first session took place in May and hosted two of the founding members of the ARMI Industry Advisory Committee, Dr Lusia Guthrie and Associate Professor David Rhodes, both of whom have many years of experience working in the biotech, pharma and medtech sectors. The second session invited Dr Jenny Petering, a leading biotechnology patent attorney, and Mr Tim Murphy, a member of the ARMI Leadership Advisory Board who has worked in government policy, business development, and growth and strategic planning. The four industry leaders, all of whom work across the spectrum of the life sciences industry, were hand-picked to share their stories.

Young ARMI researchers were given the unique opportunity to question Lusia, David, Jenny and Tim about their successes and failures in industry, and to hear the precious and hard-won pearls of wisdom they have both gained along the way. These industry mentors were generous in their advice and emphasised the importance of building and maintaining networks beyond the confines of the research institute, valuing mentorship and asking people to help open doors. Also stressed was the importance of confidence in the highly-valued skillset developed as a research scientist and understanding the motivations when choosing the next step in dynamic career.

“The nature of work and attitudes towards careers are changing and there is no right or wrong way to build a career,” said Dr Jenny Petering. “This program provides up and coming scientists with mentoring and networking support to help them see the range of options and opportunities available to them.”

Undoubtedly, many of those who attended left the session with new inspiration, knowledge and perspective on the many possibilities that the future may hold, as well as a hunger to hear more stories from the wide spectrum of careers that a foundation in science creates. Regardless of the decisions ARMI scientists make, whether it be to have a distinguished life in academia or to partake in the exciting and fast-paced environment of industry, our mentors had one final piece of advice: just enjoy the ride. The program will continue to invite different members of industry to mentor ARMI students and early career researchers and deconstruct a career outside of academia.