Indian Ph.D. researchers studying in Australia win the most prestigious scholarship

Their projects aim to solve the high energy usage of Internet of Things (IoT) communication networks and to improve petrochemical refinery wastewater treatment.

Joint-PhD scholars of the University of Queensland (UQ) and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) Academy of Research – UQIDAR – have received India’s most prestigious scholarships to become Prime Minister’s Research Fellows 2021.

The scheme was announced in the Budget 2018-19 and researchers are selected through a rigorous selection process.

The PMRF is given to the brightest new minds in the fields of science and technology.

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Successful research fellows contribute to their local community teaching once a week for the duration of their Ph.D.

The PMRF fellowship recipients, Ms. Sushmita Ghosh and Mr. Marut Jain are jointly supervised by UQ and IIT-D researchers.

Their projects aim to solve the high energy usage of Internet of Things (IoT) communication networks and to improve petrochemical refinery wastewater treatment.

Sushmita holds a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communication Engineering and a Masters of Technology in Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) Design from the National Institute of Technology, Agartala.

Image source: Sushmita Ghosh – UQ.

Her Ph.D. is on improving the power-hungry sensors in our digital world under the supervision of Prof. Raja Jurdak and Prof. Swades De.

She says sensors play a vital role and are now their major application during this pandemic.

“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.”

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Through her research, she aims 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.”

Sushmita’s research could be directly used to build up India’s smart city infrastructure.

Marut’s PhDs too is concerned with improving the impact of technologies on our environment under the supervision of Dr. Mark Blaskovich and Prof. K. K. Pant.

Image source: Marut Jain – UQ.

He has received both his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in chemistry and Masters of Science in chemistry, specialising in inorganic chemistry, from the University of Delhi.

He says that today petrol and diesel are an inevitable part of our life. However, there are challenges in its use.

“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.”

Marut’s study is focused on the development of a low-cost and green adsorbent.

This study will help in 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.”

Marut is a lifetime member of the Indian Science Congress Association and is a student fellow of the Indian Chemical Society.

The UQIDAR CEO, Dr Rajeev Shorey, says he is very proud of Marut and Sushmita’s achievements.

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

Currently, the UQIDAR Ph.D. program has 71 students enrolled jointly-supervised by UQ and IIT-D faculty members.