CSIRO Alumni panel for CERC Fellows

April 4th, 2024

Wed 3 April 2024 – Online event

We heard from a panel of CSIRO Alumni talking about their career journeys after working at CSIRO. This was a great opportunity to hear about roles outside of the organisation and potential career options. We thank the panellists for giving insights, advice and tips on life after CSIRO

The event was hosted by Dr Kathie McGregor and facilitated by Reem Sherif and Nicole McNamara.

Dr Kathie McGregor has more than 25 years’ experience as a research leader at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and she has led research teams in the Minerals, Energy and Manufacturing Business Units.

Kathie is presently the Research Director for the Advanced Materials and Processing Program in CSIRO Manufacturing, and she is responsible for the science and commercial strategy for the program of 160+ scientists and affiliates. The Program works with industry partners to develop novel materials with designed properties and new processes for scale to manufacture. There is a significant focus on additive and digitally enabled manufacturing.

CSIRO’s Lab22, Australia’s Centre for Additive Innovation located in Victoria, is a key program facility.


Our panel speakers were:

Dr Raju Adhikari

Dr Raju Adhikari is one of the co-inventors of platform technologies Elast-Eon TM,  NovoSorb, Synthetic Heart Valve, Sprayable biodegradable polymer (TranspiratiOnal),and worked in Conducting and OLED polymer areas.

He also worked in start-up companies PolyNovo Ltd and Cram Responsive Polymer Pty Ltd. Raju is currently working as a consultant to Foldax Pty Ltd and CSIRO Food and Agriculture and holds an adjunct position at RMIT. He has 28 years of R&D experience and provides consultancy in the areas of polymeric biomaterial research, proposal development, project management, and patent portfolio.

In his community work, he serves on the Board of the Eastern Volunteer (ev), advisory position of the Victoria Multicultural Commission (VMC), the Ethnic Community Council of Victoria Emerging Community (EECV), and as research director of the Emotional Wellbeing Institute, Geneva and few others.


Dr Shakuntla Gondalia

Dr Shakuntla Gondalia is the Territory Account Manager at Bio-Strategy, a leading provider of innovative scientific solutions and services across Australia and New Zealand.

With a PhD in Biological science, combine with sales and business development experience, I am passionate about delivering value to customers from diverse sectors and industries.

In my current role, I support customers from research, academia, government, clinical, biotech, and manufacturing, across South Australia and Tasmania. I leverage my strong scientific knowledge and relationship-building skills to identify sales opportunities, negotiate long-term supply agreements, and exceed budget targets. I also have been trained in project management and professional networking, which enable me to manage complex projects and collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders.


Dr Daniel J. Eyckens

Dr Daniel J. Eyckens is an early career researcher (Research Scientist) at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) based in Melbourne, Australia. He completed his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Science, followed by an Honours year (subject area of organocatalysis), before undertaking a PhD, all at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia. His PhD thesis was entitled “Applications of New Ionic Liquids for Organic Transformations” and was awarded the Rex Williamson Prize for best thesis in the field of Chemistry at Deakin University. Following graduation, Dr Eyckens became an Associate Research Fellow at Deakin University under the same supervisor from his PhD, Professor Luke Henderson. During that time, he transitioned more towards materials chemistry research, working on the surface modification of carbon fibre to improve composite performance. In late 2020, Dan moved to CSIRO in Clayton, Melbourne to begin a CERC Fellowship under several supervisors, including Professor Graeme Moad. There, his work focuses on the use of RAFT polymerisation to synthesise star polymers as additives for coating formulations. Currently, he holds a position as a Research Scientist at CSIRO working on a variety of projects spanning from developing coatings for passive lunar dust mitigation to sprayable, biodegradable mulch films.

Dr Sara Khalifa

Dr Sara Khalifa is an associate professor at Queensland University of Technology, specialises in ubiquitous sensing and edge computing for IoT applications. Her research focuses on enhancing energy efficiency in mobile sensing systems and developing lightweight machine learning techniques for resource-constrained devices.

During her tenure at CSIRO’s Data61 from 2016-2023, she established the foundational research area of “Energy Harvesting Sensing (EHS),” pioneering new paradigms for energy-efficient sensing and context recognition. She obtained a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from UNSW Sydney and received the 2017 John Makepeace Bennett Award for the best PhD dissertation of the year within Australia and New Zealand in the field of Computer Science. Dr. Khalifa’s impactful work has also been recognised with multiple iAwards, highlighting her substantial contributions to innovation in computer science and engineering.