Hello there, my name is Imanda and I come from Australia. I am currently a MSCA COFUND Sparkle Fellow. It has been a long journey over the ocean for me to be here!

At school, I studied a few different subjects, including STEM, history, social studies, music and English literature. I was also involved in extracurricular activities; they helped me balance out my learning experience at school.

A younger me wanted to be airline cabin crew! But, as I grew up and learnt more things at school, I became more interested in the Sciences, particularly Chemistry.

I went on to study chemistry, among other science subjects at university, and after my Honours year, I pursued my PhD. My PhD was very interdisciplinary and included applied subject areas such as Chemistry, Biomaterials, Health, Proteomics, Biomedical Engineering and Physics. I did teaching, STEM outreach and a few extracurriculars during my Bachelor and PhD years. My teaching experience helped me become a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Following my PhD, I continued to do more research, but also worked corporate roles, as I wanted to get some experience outside of academia. I really enjoyed working in the corporate world, but I missed being a researcher. So, I applied for various opportunities and was successful at my current MSCA fellowship. Through this project, I look at ways of improving fracture healing times, by monitoring bone cell growth on hydrogel scaffolds/bone-on-chip devices, with the aid of non-invasive spectroscopic techniques.

I have absolutely enjoyed coming over to Europe! Being able to live and travel through Europe has always been a dream of mine, and thanks to my fellowship which opened up a researcher mobility opportunity for me, I am able to enjoy that experience alongside my research project!

If you are wondering how to best navigate your career, I’d say, do what you love, and do it really well and be successful at it! It is easier to put in more effort into something you love. But, learning to do things that you may not like so much, is also part of the experience, and is something you’ll have to be comfortable with too. Trying different avenues for short periods of time, via internships, placements and even changing careers when you are young, can be very helpful in finding out what you really enjoy doing. I put this into practice through internships and placements during my Honours and PhD years and explored corporate roles after my PhD. It made me realise how passionate I was about being a researcher!

Sparkle has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 847652 and from Science Foundation Ireland.