Next gen water leadership starts with today’s research opportunities

Posted 31 August 2016

YWPs Leadership in research and innovation seminarYoung Water Professionals seeking research leadership positions have been advised to do their homework, with a leading Australian water chief saying there’s plenty of opportunity for those who can identify an industry need. 

Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management CEO Vincent Pettigrove will be presenting the final seminar of a three-part series for Victorian YWP’s, Leadership in research and innovation, on September 8.

Pettigrove said an in-depth knowledge of the water industry’s systems is the best place to start when approaching potential research topics and positions. 

“Once you have a very good knowledge of the water industry, you then need to understand the current systems; research comes in best when we start to challenge those systems and see if we can improve them,” he said.

“The water industry is in quite a major state of change, and that means that it offers opportunities for people of all ages to look to the future. 

“It does offer a lot of opportunities for more innovative thinking and our young career researchers are the people that can bring those sorts of ideas and innovations to the water industry.”

Pettigrove said water professionals are never too young to start developing leadership skills, as practice is crucial to learning how to manage research teams successfully. 

“Look to develop leadership skills. This can be training. but also working with smaller groups and managing teams or projects. These are the things that are integral to becoming a really good leader,” he said. 

But developing great leaders also means companies and organisations need to allow for young talent to take roles with more responsibility. 

“I think part of the puzzle is ensuring a work environment that encourages people to trial things. There was an old culture where systems were very much entrenched, but if people are encouraged to try new approaches, that helps with developing leadership skills moving forward,” Pettigrove said. 

To hear more from Vincent Pettigrove on research leadership, register for Leadership in research and innovation, held in Melbourne on September 8.