A Dream Career

Manager, Innovation and Commercial Development, UniQuest Pty Ltd
Qualifications: BSc (Drug Design and Development)/BBus 2001, BSc Hons (Biochemistry) 2002, PhD (Science & Business) 2007
Salary Range: Minimum $50,000, Maximum $200,000, Average $90,000 p.a. (source: MyCareer.com.au)


BELIEVING in his dreams has turned them into reality for UQ Science graduate David Ireland. As the first-ever UQ graduate to attain a PhD in both science and business, David advises: “Do what interests you.”

“Don’t be put off if no one has done it before,” he says. “If you think it is worthwhile, go after it.” David’s pioneer dual PhD took him all over the world.

He collected plants in Hawaii, visited biotechnology companies across Europe and Asia, and spoke at conferences in Poland and Canada.

“UQ has got a great infrastructure for innovative research programs, so even if there isn’t a bench mark to compare what you are doing to something that has already been done, there is a system and a culture in a place to support you to do it anyway,” he says.

Now, David is employed as an Innovation and Commercial Development Manager for UniQuest – Australia’s largest commercialisation company, which works to take leading-edge innovations from concept to commercial reality.

David’s role sees him liaising with managers from UQ, the University of Wollongong, the University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University in Townsville, and the Mater Medical Research Institute, to review opportunities for commercialisation of life science technologies.

“This involves building a business plan and commercialisation strategy, including preparing pitches for investors,” he says.

But it is the diversity of both the science and the people he works with that keeps David challenged and interested in his work.

“I have worked in technologies ranging from biofuels, to laboratory software applications, to novel diabetes therapeutics,” he says.

“We have accountants, patent attorneys, chemists, past CEOs and researchers.

“This means that for every problem or opportunity that comes across our desks, we can draw on an incredible range of expertise to get the most out of the situation.

“Don’t be put off if no one has done it before,”