SPARK Melbourne 2019 Travel Scholarship winners

In September 2019, two outstanding PhD candidates – Ghazala Naureen from the Department of Medicine and Jing Cai from Melbourne Dental School – were awarded University of Melbourne travel scholarships to attend the International SPARK Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship training course in Sydney.

Ghazala NaureenJing Cai
PhD candidates Ghazala Naureen and Jing Cai

Based on the SPARK Stanford program, the 14-day training course aimed to advance biomedical research discoveries into promising new treatments by fostering the next generation of biomedical entrepreneurs. Ghazala and Jing were joined by more than 20 PhD candidates from around the world.

Biomedical Training Course 2020
Biomedical Training Course 2020

Ghazala, who is working on the development of an evidence-based self-administered Vitamin D screening tool had this to say about the course:

“SPARK is truly training people who can change the world in some way. Participants are taught how to be able to innovate in their own field for unmet medical needs and impact the lives of patients. The connections made during this course will enable collaboration with like-minded scientists from diverse backgrounds from around world,” said Ghazala.

“Another important aspect of this course was learning through lectures on different topics related to product development (e.g. Intellectual Property Rights, Regulatory Affairs, Venture Capital) about alternative career paths for Biomedical Science PhD graduates in industry. This course has made me excited about embarking on a career in translational research in the future.”

Jing – who is working on approaches for preventing dental root caries  – also found the course invaluable.

“The two-week journey of SPARK course was an in-depth immersive experience in translational research (i.e. taking a lab discovery, developing it into a product and taking it to market). It was an unforgettable experience of developing an innovative mindset, enjoying the spirit of teamwork and getting connected with amazing and talented people from multiple disciplines and diverse backgrounds worldwide”.

For more information about SPARK or to find out what the Faculty is doing to help researchers realise their ambitions in research translation and/or commercialisation, please visit Innovation and Enterprise.