1 June, 2022
This year we continued our internship placement programme across government sectors, the social enterprise sector, and industry. This year was no different from previous years with our interns repeatedly telling us that these internships are a fantastic means to provide a smooth transition from an academic research setting to a professional setting without losing the skills they learnt as a PhD candidate. We have also received feedback on how interns have really benefited from learning communication skills and understanding various organisational structures across the different sectors we place interns into.
This year we had a total of 15 interns, with two still in progress. Six interns were in ministries and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (OPMSCA). Government internships have especially been reported as intern destinations great for developing varied writing skills and styles outside the academic context, as well as a great way to learn how to ask questions of a varied audience. Our own affiliated spinout company, Allegro Energy, also hosted an intern, which is something we would like to work more toward with our other affiliated spinout companies. Another new style of internship was having a placement of our own in collaboration with New Zealand Product Accelerator (NZPA).
In the Research and Development (R&D) commercial environments, we had new placements at Tectonus, Hydroxsys and Cirrus Materials Science Ltd, and an intern at social enterprise Creative HQ, which was particularly useful for our interns to understand how start-ups work and the benefit of working in a small team with big impact. We placed an intern at UniServices and then the intern managed to secure a fulltime position there, a great outcome and highly desired for our PhD candidates where possible. Ending 2021 with new networks and new types of internships makes us very excited about the potential for 2022 internships.
Once our people leave the Institute, we stay in close touch through our alumni LinkedIn page, our alumni networking events and – new in 2021 – our quarterly alumni newsletters, as well as through Facebook and meetups for our DiscoveryCamp and Discovery Scholarship recipients. We also offer further commercialisation training through our Alumni Business Scholarships and co-funding mentorships.
Matthew Ting interned at start-up Hydroxsys, a clean-tech company using new technology for water extraction in the mining and dairy industries. Matthew’s research project looked at nitrate rejection in ultrafiltration membranes. Following his internship Matthew has continued in a research position with Hydroxsys for a few months, and intends to develop a career in consulting.
Stephen Lo took up an internship at Auckland UniServices as a Commercialisation Analyst in the Engineering and Digital Technologies team. Following his internship he was offered a permanent position as Commercialisation Manager at UniServices.
Déanna Shea interned in MBIE’s Contestable Investments Team, working on applications and contracts for Endeavor and Smart Ideas grants, learning from the inside how government contributes to the science scene. Following her internship she’s returned to a research career, taking up a postdoc position at the University of Otago.
Anindita Sen took up an internship at Creative HQ, designing secondary education programmes for Vanuatu and has now returned to Victoria University of Wellington as a Research Assistant.
Roan Vasdev took an intern position at University of Auckland spinout company Tectonus, researching new materials for seismic friction dampers. Since his internship Roan has been working as an Audit Technician/Scientist for Dunedin biotech company Oritain Global.
Sandhya Singh also worked in the MBIE - Contestable Investments Team, gaining understanding of how the government science system and funding policies fund various science and innovation-based projects. She is next heading to Europe in January 2022 to begin a postdoc position at the Technical University of Denmark working on enzyme-mediated dynamical combinatorial chemistry.
Fraser Hughson interned at Victoria University of Wellington working on the commercialisation of supercapacitor electrolytes. During the course of his internship, Fraser cofounded new start-up company Allegro Energy where he currently serves as CTO. The team has just completed their first round of capital raising which will allow them to begin supercapacitor production early next year.
Vipin Kumar interned at Callaghan Innovation’s Advanced Materials Group, looking at Laser surface texturing market insights. After his internship, Vipin was offered a position in global chemical manufacturing company Hexion Inc. based in Mt. Maunganui, where he has been working since May 2021 as a Chemist, creating new materials for the wood industry and regularly engaging in other areas such manufacturing support and customer support activities.
Caixia Hou interned at Cirrus Materials Science Ltd, a niche eco-science spinout from the University of Auckland that provides patented technology to the global aerospace and electronics industry. She’s applying her research knowledge in a commercial R&D environment, working on the influence of Cirrus Dopant™ on Performance of Electrodeposited Metal Coatings.
Edoardo Galli interned at the Ministry for the Environment, working with the Joint Evidence, Data & Insights team as an intern analyst. The project focuses on the Long-term Insights Briefing and the Environmental Reporting 2022. After the internship Edoardo hopes to find a job in R&D or the government sector.