More than 60 Australian and Indian emerging researchers have been awarded an Australia India Research Students Fellowship for 2023.
The diverse cohort consists of 28 Australian and 35 Indian research students and early-career researchers, 59% of which are women.
Lisa Singh, CEO of the Australia India Institute said the selection process was highly competitive, with more than 500 applications via the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub-India.
“These Fellows are the next generation of research leaders in Australia and India, and we are excited to see the results of these new collaborations.
“We are thrilled to have such a talented group of individuals joining the AIRS Fellowship program this year and look forward to supporting their professional development,”Ms Singh said.
The bilateral program, led by the Australia India Institute and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education supports research collaboration and student mobility between the two countries.
“It is through opportunities like this unique program that Australia and India can continue to learn from each other’s quality research and drive global social and scientific advancement,”added Ms Singh.
The Fellowships form part of the Update to the India Economic Strategy to 2035 action plan to strengthen education and research ties between the two countries. The program will see 22 Australian universities collaborate with 37 Indian higher education institutes.
Fellows will undertake short-term research exchanges of 4 to 8 weeks, working with a host research mentor on a range of impactful topics, including:
Mr Shubham Vishwakarma: A novel solution to heat stress on rice plants. Based at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Tirupati, India undertaking an exchange with the University of Melbourne, Australia. Rice is the third most cultivated crop in the world, but this staple food is becoming increasingly vulnerable to rising temperatures. Thermopriming – a novel method that involves pre-exposing rice seeds to high temperatures – can help to mitigate the impact of heat stress. This project will further research on thermopriming by understanding its impact on grain quality.
Mrs Wilma Serrao: The contributions of radio to Australia’s Indian diaspora. Based at Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India undertaking an exchange with Deakin University, Australia. Ethnic broadcasting is an important tool for supporting migrant communities to stay connected to their home country. In Australia, Indian radio stations continue to evolve, reflecting the country’s booming Indian population. This study seeks to evaluate the cultural, diasporic, and ethical impact of radio on Australia’s Indian community.
Ms Shuai Shao: Empowering Indian patients with diabesity. Based at Nossal Institute for Global Health, Australia, undertaking an exchange with Christian Medical College Vellore, India.
Underdiagnosis and undertreatment of diabetes and obesity is prevalent in India. This research will examine the characteristics of healthcare providers that motivate Indians with diabesity – the coexistence of both diabetes and obesity – to seek care. The project, which combines expertise from two prominent health research institutes in Australia and India, will generate valuable evidence for policymakers and contribute to global efforts to address a critical health issue.
Mr Joshua McDonald: Supporting smart and sustainable agriculture. Based at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, undertaking an exchange with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India. Biodegradable electronics is a rapidly growing field of research that aims to reduce the environmental impact of traditional electronic devices. This project seeks to expand on biodegradable electronics using chitosan – a biopolymer derived from the shells of crustaceans – to develop flexible electronics for sensing and power generation. A potential area of application includes smart agriculture for monitoring the health of crops.
Education is viewed as a flagship sector of the future bilateral relationship and research and innovation partnerships will play a key role in realising this vision.
Research collaboration between the two countries has increased significantly in recent years and there is potential to expand academic partnerships further for greater outcomes.
“The AIRS Fellowship program is set to deepen research connections and boost student mobility after COVID-19 put many foreign exchange programs on hold,” Ms Singh said.
“By working together, we can leverage the expertise and resources of both nations to achieve greater progress on shared challenges than we would be able to on our own.”
More information on the AIRS Fellowship program, including a full list of recipients, can be found here.