Senator Simon Birmingham, education and training minister, Australian government, has awarded a three-year tuition fee waiver scholarship to 11 Indian students, worth AU $ 1.1 million. He made the announcement during a visit to the TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre (TDNBC) in Gurgaon.
The scholarships have been awarded to the PhD students engaged in research programmes at the TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre in Gurgaon. They are currently enrolled at Deakin University under the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI), which was launched in India in 2009. DIRI builds on Deakin University’s world-leading expertise in material sciences, nanotechnology and biotechnology.
While addressing the gathering at TDNBC, Birmingham said, “The TERI Deakin Nano Biotechnology Centre facility is not incredible because we are commissioning bricks and mortar, it’s incredible because of the brains, the students, the knowledge that is embedded within the facility, and the potential that they (students) are going to realise in so many different ways.”
Under the programme, each student will get a full tuition fee waiver from Deakin University of up to an amount of approximately AU$ 100, 000 for a period of three years. The students will travel to Deakin University, Australia, for six to eight months during their PhD to work closely with their Deakin supervisor.
Elaborating on the scholarship programme, Professor Jane den Hollander, AO, VC Deakin University said,” The three-year scholarship programme is predominantly designed to equip the best of the talent with advanced research facilities. Under this programme, Deakin University and TERI will provide joint supervision to the students. TDNBC envisions meeting the demand for a global, skilled workforce in nanobiotechnology.”
Students selected for the programme include Devangana Bhuyan, Poonam Shashidhar, Mohd Azeem Khan, Rahul Chandra Mishra, Gaurav Chugh, Tanuka Sen, Nandini Bhattacharya, Shifali Garg, Amos Samkumar Rajan and Aditi Pandit. Bhuyan has completed her masters in Biotechnology from Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore. She also has more than three years of work experience in government sponsored research as senior research fellow. Shashidhar is a graduate from Savitribai Phule Pune University who has specialised in biotechnology . Her research interests are plant molecular biology, plant stress physiology and plant biochemistry. Khan has completed his masters in engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani. He is also a rank holder in Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-NET-Life Sciences, 2016. Mishra, an MSc-life sciences student from the National Institute of Technology Rourkela has been a senior research fellow at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) and has interests in immunological and cell biological techniques, molecular genetics techniques and microbiological techniques. Chugh, who holds a master’s degree in Botany from Delhi University has worked as a student research assistant in a Delhi University-funded innovation project on soil pollution. Sen is a post graduate in microbiology from University of Delhi, south Campus. Her current research interests include immunology and antibiotics resistance in microbes, bioremediation techniques, pathology , various aspects of molecular therapeutics especially regarding cancer and HIV-AIDS pathologies. Bhattacharya, a master’s in biochemistry from Allahabad Agricultural Institute, has worked with several reputed research institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University . Garg has pursued her MSc environmental studies from Delhi University and was awarded a junior research fellowship in 2016. Rajan is from Karunya University and has worked in the molecular plant immunity laboratory,National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. Thakkar is a post graduate in botany from Jamia Hamdard University, New Delhi. Her interests include plant science and agriculture. Pandit graduated in plant biotechnology from TERI University, New Delhi and has been working with TERI in Mycorrhiza Culture Collection .
Giving more details of the awards, Dr. Ajay Mathur, director general, TERI, said, “Within five years, the Centre aims to have a number of researchers, including PhD students, enrolled at Deakin. With its cutting edge technology at the disposal of these bright minds, this Centre will help India make a mark on the global map for building new capabilities and bringing new innovations in the field of science and technology”.