Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Genovate: Meet our internship graduates

Cydonie Greenaway is Program Coordinator, Innovation & Enterprise at The George Institute for Global Health, Australia. Her association with The George began in mid-2020 as an intern with Genovate – the Institute’s innovation and entrepreneurship program. Genovate facilitates the translation of research - from ideation and product development, to commercialisation and market success.

During her three month-internship, Cydonie worked on a collaborative project between The George Institute and Imperial College London aimed at creating a cross-sector healthcare innovation hub. She was tasked with researching the health innovation landscape in the U.K.

“I did two major scoping scans, the first on Imperial College’s innovation and entrepreneurship programs in their Enterprise Division, and programs in the School of Public Health Innovation, to see what activities Imperial was already doing. The second was on innovation hubs across the U.K. This was to establish whether there was potential for The George to collaborate with Imperial to create a global centre of health innovation and entrepreneurship which would address health challenges in low and middle income countries. The U.K. scoping scan meant that we wouldn’t put forward any ideas that were unoriginal and already established.”

Cydonie has a Bachelor’s degree in History, followed by a Master’s in Teaching and Global Health Nutrition. When she started university, Cydonie didn’t know innovation was her calling, but her internship experience has defined her career path.

“Prior to arriving at The George, I honestly thought ‘innovation’ was just another buzzword. I now have a much greater appreciation for the importance of innovation, particularly in health. I never envisioned I would end up in the commercialisation side of health, and here we are! Right now, I can’t imagine working in any other area.”

Cydonie is currently working to launch a training program internally at The George in mid-2021. The program is designed to facilitate and support researchers to commercialise their work and provide opportunities to learn more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Innovation is at the core of this program because health researchers are an untapped resource in driving health innovation, largely because training programs to support them through this process are not common in Australia. 

The Genovate internship was integral to laying the foundation for Cydonie’s current programmatic work and broadening horizons beyond Australia.

“What I love about the work I’m doing at the moment is the focus on LMICs - facilitating and supporting development of cost-effective healthcare technologies for emerging markets. Making impact in under-resourced communities is how I want to shape my career, so everything I learned in the internship and continue to learn in my Program Coordinator role is integral to my career.”

One of the key takeaways for Cydonie from the Genovate internship is learning how quickly health-tech and med-tech are evolving and the shifting of focus from large-scale established organisations to ‘newbies’ in the industry.

“Start-ups all over the world are rapidly coming up with amazing ideas and technologies that have scope to make huge advances in the public health domain. My favourite part of the internship was seeing what other countries, such as the U.K., the European Union, Israel and the U.S., are doing in health innovation and how we could apply those strategies in Australia.”

On whether she would recommend the Genovate internship to others, Cydonie doesn’t have to think twice.

“Absolutely! Working with Genovate has been such a positive experience. I learned A LOT in a very short amount of time, and I was lucky to have a very supportive and enabling team throughout. The George is a large, global-facing organisation and there is incredible scope to work across a range of health areas. This can be slightly overwhelming if you’re still trying to navigate your own career path, so my main message would be to come in with an open mind, ready to learn and challenge yourself.”