Joint-PhD scholars of The University of Queensland (UQ) and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) Academy of Research – UQIDAR – have received one of India’s most prestigious scholarships to become Prime Minister’s Research Fellows.

The fellowship aims to improve the quality of research in higher educational institutions in India using the brightest new minds in the fields of science and technology.

Research Fellows also contribute to their local community teaching once a week in a neighbourhood Polytechnic, Industrial Training Institute or Engineering College for the duration of their PhD.

Ms Sushmita Gosh

The fellowship recipients, Ms Sushmita Ghosh and Mr Marut Jain, are jointly-supervised by UQ and IITD researchers on projects to solve the high energy usage of Internet of Things (IoT) communication networks and to improve petrochemical refinery wastewater treatment, respectively.

A large part of Sushmita’s PhD is on improving the power-hungry sensors in our digital world.

“Sensors play a vital role in a multitude of applications across various industries from smart homes to border surveillance, and now its major application during this pandemic,” Sushmita said.

“But in many applications, these sensors are deployed in a dense manner to monitor the environmental condition over a large area, which requires huge energy to continue their operations.

“They also create a huge amount of data, which increases the communication energy as well.

“To solve these problems, I have developed machine learning-based adaptive sensing algorithms that reduce the amount of data that needs to be collected from the sensors and increases the energy efficiency of these vast real-time monitoring networks.”

The Prime Minister fellowship has provided Sushmita with the opportunity to showcase her work on a world-class platform with other frontline researchers in India.

Mr Marut Jain

“My research contributions can be directly used to build up the smart city infrastructure towards making a self-reliant India,” Sushmita said.

“Winning this fellowship also means I am able to support my family financially.”

Both Sushmita and Marut’s PhDs are concerned with improving the impact of technologies and industry on our environment.

Marut believes his research will lead to advances in the field of water purification.

“Petrol and Diesel are an inevitable part of our life,” Marut said.

“But along with its benefits, it comes with a series of challenges of its own. Petrol refineries produce an excessive amount of hazardous chemicals in their water streams, which is a major concern from a waste management and sustainability perspective.

“Removal of toxic and hazardous chemicals like phenol and its derivatives is vital as phenols are carcinogenic and non-degradable.

“My study is focused on the development of a low-cost and green adsorbent for the removal of phenols and their derivatives from Petrochemical Refinery wastewater.

“We use chemical compounds along with agricultural and biological waste products for the development of a novel hybrid aerogel – like an industrial jelly – to achieve the goal of waste to wastewater treatment.

“This work will result in the development and analysis of a lost-cost technology for the treatment of petrochemical refinery wastewater using waste products.

“We all know that water is the source of happiness, health and energy, therefore we have to save every single drop of water around us for our future.”

The UQIDAR CEO, Dr Rajeev Shorey, is responsible for the overall functioning of the academy including partnership with Industries in India and Australia. Dr Shorey is enormously proud of Marut and Sushmita’s achievement in receiving the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship to improve research excellence at higher-education institutions in India.

“In becoming Research Fellows, both of these UQIDAR students have demonstrated that they have the right minds, right attitudes and right will to make a positive impact in sustainable energy and development research,” Dr Shorey said.

“I applaud their determination to make a difference in their local community and the world.”

The UQIDAR PhD program has 71 students currently enrolled. Upon completion of the program, students receive a jointly awarded Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from both UQ and IITD.

Would you like to join a world-leading, transnational research team on a generous scholarship?

Register to attend an online information session on Wednesday 6 October.

Apply for a UQIDAR’s joint-PhD program. Applications close 17 October for December 2021 commencement at IIT Delhi.