On Wednesday 10 April 2019, members and friends who attended the last seminar in the “Industry meets Academia” series with Education as its theme were treated to outstanding presentations by three top quality speakers covering key aspects of the topic from different perspectives.
Dr Richard Thwaites, Australia International group Chair
Professor David Shallcross from the University of Melbourne spoke about the need for chemical engineering graduates to become familiar with a whole new range of emerging technologies brought about by recent advances in digital technology. David emphasised the importance of understanding the value of data management systems in the process industries now that it was possible to generate vast new amounts of data. New chemical engineering graduates would need to acquire and continuously update their skills inter alia in statistics, mathematical modelling, data analysis and cyber security in addition to the traditional skills of heat and mass transfer, kinetics and equilibria.
Dr Leonie Walsh, former Lead Scientist in the State of Victoria, now with her own company, Productive Management Solutions P/L, spoke of the need for graduates to develop new skills to change their focus and adapt to new challenges as their careers progressed. She entitled her talk “A Career Based on Chemistry”, and illustrated her presentation by linking the attributes of Education, Core Work and Career Choices, Volunteering and Relationships, particularly as they had applied to her own career. It was important, she said, to ensure that chemistry graduates took advantage of new education and skills acquisition opportunities, often outside chemistry, to be prepared to take the next steps in their careers, and to foster relationships and volunteer in professional and other relevant organisations.
Professor Cordelia Selomulya from Monash University addressed the substantial range of interactions and partnerships between the university and industry. Cordelia focused on collaborations within the food industry, and mentioned the numerous companies and organisations with links to the university, providing opportunities for students to get jobs in industry, or do research with an industry focus. She spoke about the Monash University Food and Dairy Graduate Research Industry Partnerships (GRIP), particularly mentioning the focus on sustainable manufacturing. One of the most popular new developments was the establishment in 2018 of MonashBrewLab, a student operated nano-scale brewery on campus. No prizes for guessing why this initiative is so popular!
All four seminars in the “Industry meets Academia” series covering the themes of Innovation, Regulation, Collaboration and Education have been extremely successful, with excellent speakers and stimulating discussion afterwards. The RACI Victoria Branch and SCI Australia Section will now have to put their thinking caps on to come up with the next topics.
Many thanks again to BASF, specially to Dr Yvonne Mah, for hosting the meetings in their offices in Southbank overlooking the Yarra River.