Speed dating for PhD students and industry

Friday 24 November 2017

students in conversation with industry representatives seated at desks

PhD students chose their targets and had six minutes to demonstrate their competitive edge to the businesses.

In summary

  • Swinburne teamed with job matching platform Ribit.net to connect PhD students with innovative organisations at a speed networking event
  • Opportunity for students to build networks beyond their field of expertise

Swinburne has teamed with CSIRO-Data61’s job matching platform, Ribit.net, to launch Australia’s first speed networking event offering paid placements for PhD students.

The event, titled Speed Dating with PhD Students, saw more than 80 PhD students from Swinburne ‘speed date’ with more than 25 companies, small businesses, start-ups and innovative organisations from across Melbourne on 23 November.

“Swinburne has a reputation of being highly engaged with industry, especially through our talented PhD students who undertake innovative research with impact in collaboration with industry,” says Professor Aleksandar Subic, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development).

“Our PhD students have highly desirable and transferrable skills including critical analysis, creative thinking, entrepreneurial flair and broad-based problem solving. Working with Ribit to provide opportunities for real world industry-based experience will assist these businesses and organisations in an increasingly knowledge-based and disruptive economy.”

Organisations eager to access Swinburne talent comprised leading Victorian start-ups and large companies across data analytics, blockchain and identity authentication, health, games, software development, organisational change, defence, logistics and infrastructure. They included Opturion, Rubix Consulting, LINCD, HubHello, Second Sight, MetroTrains, Digital Agriculture and Wolters Kluwer.

“Swinburne has a proud history of being innovative. This shows most clearly in the new ways we work with industry. We aim to supercharge our relationships with the start-up community and innovative organisations by connecting them to our leading scientific, technical, business, creative – and highly ambitious – young research talent,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Linda Kristjanson says.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to build networks beyond their own fields of expertise, develop industry insights and apply their learning in ways they may have never previously contemplated.”

Liz Jakubowski, Founder and Director of Ribit.net says: “Helping industry better understand the value of PhDs, and helping PhD students sell their expertise, are both essential for Australia’s competitiveness. This event demonstrated this value quickly and simply and Ribit is excited to have been involved.

“The speed dating events follow a set format. Each of the start-ups and companies delivered a 30-second pitch to convince students why they would make ideal employers. Students chose their targets and had six minutes to demonstrate their competitive edge to the businesses,” Ms Jakubowski says.

The event was also a hands-on learning opportunity as the students connected with supportive industry mentors in between their ‘dates’, where they discussed practical career topics including interview and presentation skills.