Dr Neil Ireland

Science and engineering is very important to me as not only is it a challenging and fulfilling career choice, it also means that my work days are spent on interesting topics where I am constantly learning.

Dr Neil Ireland came second in the 1984 Awards, with a project designed to help his local community.  Growing up in a regional area, Neil was interested in exploring whether he could help farmers improve their product yield, via optimising their seed selection. He achieved this by investigating the effect of wheat seed size on various growth criteria. 

Motivated by his experiences as part of the Awards, Neil followed his passion for science into tertiary studies and a successful career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). His career reaches beyond the traditional walls of the research laboratory. Following a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and PhD in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne, Neil worked for the food industry in research and development for 3 years.

 In 1997 Neil felt his skills were not being fully utilised in the research environment and began investigating alternative career options. He was keen to find a career that kept him at the cutting edge of STEM, which utilised critical thinking and looked at the bigger picture. Neil left the lab and joined the patent attorney profession, and he continues to practise as a patent attorney today. Neil specialises in Chemistry and Life Sciences patents, with expertise in polymers, nanotechnology and pharmaceutical molecules. To become a patent attorney Neil undertook further studies whilst practising, including a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law, and a Bachelor of Law (Honours).

One of the attractions of the patent attorney profession is that rather than concentrating on one area of science, I am exposed to a broad range of innovative chemistry areas, which is both challenging and stimulating.

In 2018 Neil continued his involvement with the Awards, as a member of the student finalist judging panel; just one of the ways our Alumni members support and inspire future STEM innovators in Australia.

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