Creating impact: industry-academia engagement symposium

L-R: Panellists Dr Kelly Walton, Associate Professor Andrew Ellisdon, Professor Jose Polo and Dr Remy Robert (panellist Dr Stephanie Simonds not pictured).


Discovery research has the potential to open up new avenues for the development of new drugs and therapeutics. In order for this great research to create impact outside of the lab, it is imperative for researchers to work closely with industry partners. For researchers, this can be a very challenging transition, but it has to be done. There has never been a better time, with pharmaceutical companies coming to universities for research and development work, increased funding available to cross the so-called ‘valley of death’, and of course Monash being ranked the most innovative university in the country.

This is why the Monash BDI hosted the Creating impact: industry-academia engagement symposium last Monday. This event provided clarity about Monash’s industry engagement framework, encouraged collaboration and above all inspired future industry-academia engagement through impactful stories of success.

Researchers wanting to translate their discoveries (and ultimately increase their engagement with industry) heard from a variety of key speakers from the university, faculty and institute level about what connections, support and assistance is available.

Keynote speaker Sarah Newton, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise), spoke about Monash’s vision for industry engagement and proposed two exciting new initiatives. Both initiatives focused on supporting researchers and research groups with the right resources for the right projects to drive greater value in Monash’s industry engagement activities.

“Growing business development capabilities across our research workforce through the right training and resources is essential. Investment now, will build capacity to generate the next tier of enterprising researchers and fosters a culture of commercialisation and entrepreneurship throughout the University”, said Ms Newton.

Sharing is one of the guiding principles of science; researchers share results and experiences with their peers, they discuss, debate and collaborate to make sense of the world.

This theme of sharing was the driving force behind the case study panel discussion, facilitated by Associate Professor Tracey Brown. Professor Jose Polo and Drs Stephanie Simonds, Kelly Walton, Remy Robert and Associate Professor Andrew Ellisdon all shared their experiences and perspectives on industry engagement.

Professor Mark Sleeman, Executive Director Industry Engagement for the Monash BDI, believes there is a lot of value to be gained from listening to young investigators about their actual industry engagement experiences.

Monash BDI Director Professor John Carroll congratulated the Monas BDI industry engagement team on the success of such an important event.

“Discoveries will only lead to better health if we partner with the most innovative companies and the best clinical scientists. It was great to see the impact our panel is striving for, their motivations to make a difference in human health is inspiring,” Professor Carroll said.

With a packed program of education and event opportunities coming up, the Monash BDI industry engagement team is excited to announce the next round of the industry pitching competition ‘So You Think You Can Pitch?’, will be open for expressions of interest shortly.

This competition provides coaching on how to pitch innovations to industry, and culminates with finalists having the opportunity to pitch to an industry audience.

If you are interested in taking part in the 2018 round, start thinking about how your research has the potential to shape the nature of human disease. Check out the pitch videos from our 2017 winners, Dr Kelly Walton and Peter Chandler here.


For those of you who could not attend, a summary of the speakers’ presentations has been collated in this downloadable ‘Monash Unlocked’ document.