Engaging industry to train future leaders

Engaging industry to train future leaders

Monash interdisciplinary graduate researchers recently received training from KPMG, CSIRO, PPG and others from within the chemicals and plastics industry.

The Monash Chemicals and Plastics Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Program (GRIP) has been in operation since the beginning of the year and represents an innovative approach to PhD training and collaboration with industry.

The program brings together graduate researchers from the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering and places them in industry-based research projects.

Graduate researchers also receive training facilitated by commercial partners, mentoring within their host company and participate in internships during their PhD candidature.

"The program offers graduate researchers tremendous links to industry and excellent training. The most recent training included input from KPMG, CSIRO, PPG and other leaders from within the chemicals and plastics industry", said Tony Patti, Associate Professor in the School of Chemistry and Co-Director of the program.

Graduate researcher Giselle Pacot noted the immediate usefulness of the recent three-day training as well as its value for career development.

"The project management training is immediately helpful because it helps us plan out our PhD. The different speakers also helped me think through the challenges and opportunities involved in moving from academia to government and private industry", she said.

Vu Dao, another graduate researcher who participated in the training, said the workshops helped to develop important interpersonal skills for a professional work environment.

"The training in personality types and teamwork was great for learning more about how to interact with others – just because someone is quiet doesn't mean they are not interested. These are the type of skills I can use now but also take with me anywhere", said Vu.

Associate Professor Tony Patti and Co-Director Professor Karen Hapgood are excited about the next steps in the program but also see it as a model that provides an alternative approach to doctoral training which better prepares graduates for careers in industry.

"Future training will include the serial innovation program run by Procter & Gamble which is something they offer their own staff and is also taught at Harvard. By bringing graduate researchers together for training we are also building a cooperative cohort from different parts of the University that don't normally interact. It's part of a broader vision for PhD programs", said Tony.

Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Programs (GRIPs) are one option within the Monash Doctoral Program.

Find out more about the Chemicals and Plastics Manufacturing Network and Training Program.