STEMM PROFILE: Dr Joanne Boag | Head, Intellectual Property and Licensing – Biotech and Medtech | Murdoch Childrens Research Institute | Melbourne | VIC
“It is important to let women know that their contribution, female contribution, is important and would be missed if they left”
Dr Joanne Boag is Head of Intellectual Property (IP) and Licensing – Biotech and Medtech at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and Non-Executive Director with Prota Therapeutics. Joanne is responsible for the identification, protection and management of IP generated by MCRI researchers, as well as working with researchers to develop and commercialise their research.
Joanne has been working in health and medical research for over 10 years now, firstly as a research scientist, then as a patent attorney and now in technology commercialisation. Broadly speaking, she works with senior management and researchers to develop and enhance the quality and impact of research programs and services that address specific institute requirements, such as intellectual property, commercialisation and research development/strategy.
Joanne says the best part about her role is working with great researchers doing exciting medical research. She loves hearing about the different research projects that are going on within the institute and working with the researchers to protect and develop their research outcomes into products and services that can benefit society. Prior to her current role, Joanne worked in a commercialisation and research development role at a medical research institute in Perth, and before this as a patent attorney at an intellectual property firm. Joanne has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Western Australia and is a Registered Australian Patent and Trade Mark Attorney.
What is one thing you would change to improve the gender balance in senior ranks of scientists?
Quotas – there, I said it. I don’t like the idea any more than you, but change is too slow and we won’t see more women moving through the ranks to senior scientist until there are more women in the senior ranks of scientists.
Who and/or what inspires you to achieve?
Certainly there is a personal drive to succeed, but also believing that the organisation and people that I work with are doing important work is very inspiring. Research is important, medical research really important and it’s great to be a part of that.
If you have transitioned careers, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
Believing that I could do more than what my official qualifications specifically stated and fighting the urge to undertake another degree so I could say that I could do/knew something! I now believe that a STEM background and a PhD in particular can be useful in almost any role.
If you have done multiple types of roles (e.g. in industry, academia, education, business, government), what skills from your PhD could be applied to all?
So many! Project management, problem solving, resilience, oral and written communication, desktop research, presentation, working in a team environment, working independently, marketing and negotiation.
How do we keep more females engaged in scientific careers? How do we retain women?
It is important to let women know that their contribution, female contribution, is important and would be missed if they left. I also think that the availability of engaging, senior roles that can be flexible/part time would help retain women, especially after having children.
Connect with Joanne on LinkedIn: Joanne Boag