Beyond the academy: translating and applying research skills to new contexts

Professional Development for students

Singapore Theatre, Room B120, Basement Level, Glyn Davis (MSD) Building, University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus


More Information

Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education

T: 03 8344 4605


Postdoctoral scholars are highly skilled researchers with the potential to take up careers in a range of different sectors. The move from academia to industry can come with certain challenges, however, and key to achieving success is the ability to transfer, translate and apply the skills gained as a graduate researcher to new contexts. In this panel session, you will hear from PhD graduates from different disciplines with established careers as industry professionals. The panellists will talk about their trajectory from the PhD to the workplace and discuss how completing a PhD contributed to preparing them for careers beyond the University.

Registrations Essential.


  Sue Ann Chen received her Ph.D. degree in Applied Mathematics at the University of Melbourne where her dissertation was on the mathematical modelling of systems in surface chemistry. Since joining IBM Research, her research interests include leveraging data analysis to improve the performance of renewable energy generation in addition to analysing the issues, limitations and requirements in the renewable energy sector, and application of deep learning methods to mitigate risks of non-compliance for financial advice documents. She is also active in the mathematics community, having previously served on the Executive Committee of the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM) society as well as being the current treasurer for the Victorian branch of ANZIAM
  Pasan Karunaratne completed his undergraduate studies in Engineering at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka before coming to Australia in 2014 to start his PhD at the University of Melbourne. He has recently completed his studies where his research focused on machine learning algorithms for performing predictive analytics in smart city environments. Before starting his PhD, Pasan worked as a Software Engineer for MillenniumIT developing high-frequency trading software for the London Stock Exchange. During his PhD he undertook a project with Telstra developing solutions for their Big Data team, and since graduating he has worked as a Data Scientist for Foxtel and as an Analytics Consultant for the National Australia Bank.

Caroline Phillips is a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been exhibited in over 40 solo and group exhibitions internationally at venues including; NARS Foundation (Brooklyn, NYC), George Paton Gallery (Melbourne), First Draft (Sydney), Cité International des Arts (Paris), Slade School of Art Research Centre (London) and Great Hall OCADU (Toronto). She held her first New York solo show (by invitation) at NARS presents @ Anese Projects (NYC) in 2017.  Phillips has been awarded a number of grants including NAVA Australian Artists’ Grant, City of Melbourne Arts Project Grant and Arts Victoria VicArts Grant and has attended international residencies in Toronto, Paris and New York. Phillips also curates collaborative projects to extend her practice and facilitate feminist art community. These projects include The f Word – Contemporary Feminist Art in Australia (2014), f generation; feminism, art, progressions (2015) and AS IF: Echoes of the Women’s Art Register (2015). Caroline received her PhD from university of Melbourne/Victorian College of the Arts in 2019. Her practice-led research investigated the art object and the interval as a strategy for feminist engagement. Since then she has continued her art practice, worked part time in research for Melbourne University and LaTrobe university. She is the Secretary of the Women’s Art Register, Australia’s living archive of women’s art practice.


Dr Sarah French is Lecturer in Higher Education at the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and Academic Lead at Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity. She coordinates the Melbourne CSHE’s professional development programs for graduate researchers and Indigenous researchers. Her current research includes projects in the areas of equity in higher education, affective engagement in teaching and learning, and career pathways for Australian HDR graduates. Sarah has a background as a teacher and researcher in theatre, film and sexuality and gender studies and has published extensively in these areas as well as in the field of higher education.