Sreejata Paul

The IITB-Monash Research Academy is a unique academic collaboration between Monash University and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB).

Recognising India’s status as an emerging research and global technological powerhouse, the IITB-Monash Research Academy was opened in 2008.

Since then, the Academy has launched 420 joint collaborative projects, recruited 250 students and attracted $14 million in funds committed by industry partners including CISCO, Orica, InfoSys, TATA, Reliance, SABIC and BHPBilliton.

Sreejata Paul is one of the IITB-Monash Research Academy’s inaugural Faculty of Arts intakes into the project, Gender and Public Sphere. Under the Academy’s flagship joint-PhD program, Sreejata is supervised in Australia by Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Deputy Director of the Monash Asia Institute, and in India by Dr Paulomi Chakraborty from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IITB.

Sreejata’s unearthing of previously undiscovered Bengali Muslim women’s writing during the Indian colonial period is an exciting contribution to the field of women’s education, global feminist concerns and examinations of the public and the private.

“Sreejata’s work is a wonderful way to bring to life different feminist voices, cutting across time and culture,” Dr Chakraborty said.

“Her work illuminates the way feminism was taking form in India during this period of socio-political ferment.”

Sreejata describes her research as bringing to life the experiences of Bengali Muslim women who at this point in history were contained within the home and committed to domesticity, marriage and child-rearing. Their voices were rarely heard in the public sphere.

Despite the confines of their day-to-day lives, these women were in fact making forays into creating and publishing literature that voiced their frustrations, hopes and ambitions and imagined a life for themselves outside the home.

They were also creating revolutionary commentary into the ways in which their religion limited their potential.

“One of my goals with this research is to bring to life literary role models that modern women can use. I want to hold up these women from the past who were clearly envisioning the type of future they believed was possible,” Sreejata said.

Working across disciplines in a joint PhD program has deepened Sreejata’s links to the Indian and Australian academic communities, and created unique opportunities to collaborate and learn from the world’s leading researchers.

“I would never have had the opportunity to do a research project of this kind, in this depth, outside of this program,” Sreejata said.

“The academic community here at Monash is cooperative, co-creative and supportive. I can go to other universities and they will put me in touch with people who can have input into my research. I love that about being part of the city of Melbourne’s academic community; people know about each other’s research and they are willing to be help and support one another.

“The intellectual stimulation I get here is incredible. Australia is often front of mind for students wanting to study medicine or engineering, but it is also one of the best locations in the world for the humanities and social sciences.”

Monash Faculty of Arts Dean, Professor Sharon Pickering, said humanities, arts and social sciences had an important role to play in shaping the workforce in a rapidly-changing world.

“It’s going to be at the intersection of the human and the technological development that our very best, most critical, most innovative thinking will need to occur. It’s also where we stand most to gain,” Professor Pickering said.

“The IITB-Monash Research Academy is an important component of this innovative and interdisciplinary approach.”

Monash University Vice Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner described the IITB-Monash partnership as breaking down barriers to global innovation.


Chromatography Workshop 2018

Day 1: Registration, Introduction and Ion Chromatography (Atrium Area)
Day 2: Parallel Sessions:
Ion Chromatography for Pharma (Atrium Area)
Gas Chromatography and HPLC (Seminar Room)
Day 3: Forenoon: CHNSO (Seminar Room), Afternoon: Hands-on for Group 1,2 & 3 (Materials Lab)
Day 4: Hands-on training for group 1,2,and 3 (Materials Lab).
Day 5: Lectures on Innovation, IPR, Safety and Group Activity (Seminar Room)

For more details Click Here…

Graduation Ceremony 2018


Graduation celebrated at the highest level

Professor Margaret Gardner AO, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University was a special guest at the recent Institute of Technology-Bombay convocation (graduation) ceremony held on August 11th 2018 in Mumbai, India.The guest of honour for the convocation ceremony was the Honourable Mr Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, who delivered an inspiring speech as well as three gold medals and 43 silver medals to students.

Joined by a Monash delegation of senior Monash staff, Professor Gardner witnessed the graduation of 29 PhD students from the IITB-Monash Research Academy joint venture program; five students from the program also received medals from the Prime Minister.  The Research Academy is celebrating its 10th year of operation in 2018 and this was the 6th cohort of students to graduate alongside their IITB peers.

Professor Gardner, Deputy Chancellor Shane Buggle and Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Marc Parlange formed part of the official academic and VIP procession that sat alongside Prime Minister Modi on the graduation stage as part of the formalities.The IITB-Monash Research Academy joint venture was established in 2008 in recognition of India’s status as an emerging research and global technological powerhouse. It is a collaboration between the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and Monash University.

The IITB-Monash Research Academy enables the formation of multi-disciplinary research teams across Australia and India, challenging the traditional individual/discipline-oriented research agenda. The Academy also enables the long-term engagement of industry commitments structured around major research challenges.

The Academy has successfully fostered deeper collaboration across the higher education sector. It has recruited 250 students, launched 420 joint collaborative projects and produced 600 research publications and Industry funded projects to the tune of $14M in committed contracts. The collaboration has also seen a 585% increase in co-publications from 2012 -2017.After the ceremony the Monash delegation hosted an ‘Alumni and Friends’ reception event in Mumbai. Guests included the newly graduated students, Monash and Academy staff and alumni and friends of Monash drawn from government and industry.

Speaking to the group about Monash’s strength in large scale cross-disciplinary research Professor Gardner said, “You can’t do projects of that scale unless you have excellent research. But you don’t do projects on that scale unless you’re prepared to take on big challenges and big challenges mean you have to work across disciplines.”

“…the challenges we’re prepared to put to ourselves (at Monash) are big challenges and we have the excellent people to take on those challenges,” she concluded.

Also speaking at the event was by Dr Murali Sastry, CEO IITB- Monash Research Academy. He joined Professor Gardner is congratulating the new graduates and in highlighting the importance of continued engagement in India. He also encouraged Monash University Alumni to connect with alumni from the Research Academy.

Excellence in PhD Research!

Message from Prof. Murali Sastry, CEO:

“It is a matter of immense pride that 5 of the Academy students have been selected for the “Excellence in PhD Research” Award and will receive this honour at the hands of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, during the Convocation on 11 August, 2018. They are :

  • Dr. Ramakrishna Bairi
  • Dr. Vignesh Kuduva
  • Dr. Jayesh Sonawane
  • Dr. Subhadeep Das
  • Dr. Jhumur Banerjee

On behalf of the entire IITB-Monash Research Academy, I’d like to congratulate all of the award winners and wish them the very best as they set out on their careers.

Alumnus invents tough, metal alloy

Four times stronger than stainless steel, a unique alloy blends chromium, cobalt, iron, manganese and silicon.

It’s not Black Panther’s vibranium or Captain America’s proto-adamantium shield, but a new alloy has come pretty close.

Our alumnus, a University of North Texas researcher Saurabh Nene has been working with UNT’s College of Engineering Department of Materials Science and Engineering to mix and flow material simultaneously, giving the alloy new strength.

The alloy, which has no catchy name like its fictional counterparts, is created by melting and casting the materials, then taking the thin, flat mold to start “friction stirring,” Nene said.

Nene, who has been working on this piece of research for eight months, said the process intensely deforms the metal’s makeup by forcibly inserting a rotating tool into the cold metal.

“When you insert the tool in the metal, it generates frictional heat,” Nene said “When you move the tool ahead, it starts mixing the metal. The mixing and flow of the metal creates an intense deformation.”

The only problem with using Nene’s alloys commercially is the cost. While he said he could not estimate that exactly, he is trying to change the chemistry of the alloy to replace the cobalt element. For reference, cobalt costs $78,500 per ton. Iron costs $65.

“We are still trying to look for a good substitute that is not costly but can have the same result,” Nene said. “The main goal is to maintain the properties.”

Nene, alongside lab colleagues Michael Frank, Kaimiao Liu, Brandon McWilliams and Kyu Cho of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland, published a report July 2 in the online journal Scientific Reports.

A paper related to the topic was also published in the journal in November 2017.

Convalesce in the news!

Message from Prof. Murali Sastry, CEO:

“It is with immense pleasure and pride that I inform all of you that the first startup from the Academy, Convalesce, has been selected for the Acceleration Program of IndieBio this summer 2018. IndieBio is the world’s leading life science accelerator based in San Francisco providing the best support silicon valley can offer to core biotech startups. IndieBio is backed by the venture SOSV.

Each team receives $250,000 in seed funding, lab and co-working space, dedicated mentorship, and becomes part of a huge network of IndieBio alumni, investors, biotech entrepreneurs, investors, press, corporate partners, and more. Founders engage with customers and partners, pitch to investors, and turn science into a real product people pay for.

Twice a year, IndieBio typically accepts 15 startups worldwide for their acceleration program, which lasts approximately 4 months. The aim is to close the distance between science and money.

As you all know, Subhadeep Das, an alumnus of the Academy, is the brains, heart and soul behind this startup and has pursued the dream of being an entrepreneur with single minded dedication. I am personally of the opinion that the future of Indian business and indeed, science and innovation, will be driven by startups such as Convalesce. This is a moment to be cherished by us all and marks an important milestone in the journey of the Academy. Such achievements in technology, science and business will determine what impact the IITB-Monash Research Academy has not just in India and Australia but globally.

Subhadeep – on behalf of the entire Academy, please accept my warmest congratulations, and best wishes in translating your dreams into reality”.

Best Poster Presenter Award from IITB


Vibhuti Chhabra presented a poster titled “Thermochemical conversion of mixed municipal solid wastes” at the Chemference conference held at IITB from 18th to 20th May’18. She participated in the 3MTT competition and won the best presenter award. The poster presented the mechanism of the pyrolysis of MSW. The results were obtained from the experiments conducted at the Australian Synchrotron and Monash University. Her research project is being sponsored by JSW.

Research scholars win second spot in Poster Slam

Research scholars win second spot in Poster Slam

Research scholars Anurag Parihar and Vibhuti Chhabra secured the second prize in the poster slam competition at the Australian Synchrotron-User Meeting 2016 held at Australian Synchrotron, Melbourne, on November 24 and 25, 2016. Vibhuti is a research scholar with the IITB-Monash Research Academy, while Anurag is a PhD student in the Department of Chemical Engineering of Monash University working on conversion of biomass to platform chemicals.

Their poster, titled ‘Thermochemical conversion of wastes to liquid fuel and platform chemicals’, presented their ongoing PhD work and the results obtained from the experiments conducted at the Australian Synchrotron and Monash University.

Globally, the volume of waste generated from urban centres of the world is around 1,300 million tonnes per year (1.2 kg/capita/day) which is expected to rise to 2,200 million tonnes per year by 2025.

Wastes such as biomass and mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) can be valorised into useful products ranging from platform chemicals to oil — using thermochemical processes like pyrolysis. However, pyrolysis is influenced by various parameters like temperature, heating rate, residence time, pressure, catalyst and type of feedstock.

Anurag and Vibhuti investigated the thermal breakdown of biomass and MSW under different heating rates to study the feasibility of formation of intended products—viz. oil (from MSW) and platform chemicals (from biomass). Additionally, they also studied the effect of acid (as catalyst) impregnation on biomass during pyrolysis, and found that various aliphatic and aromatic functional groups identified in their study during thermal degradation of MSW prove its suitability for bio-oil production.

Vibhuti’s supervisors are Prof Yogendra Shastri and Prof Sankar Bhattacharya, while Anurag’s are Prof Sankar Bhattacharya and Prof Gil Garnier.

Congratulations, Vibhuti and Anurag!


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