The right path to an academic career
During his years at Monash, the stars aligned for Aditya Putranto (PhD 2013). A reputation for excellence in research and teaching, along with a strong commitment to doctoral students, had attracted him to the University. But once he’d settled into the Department of Chemical Engineering, he truly realised his good fortune, and that he would reap benefits well beyond his already high expectations.
Now a Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Soochow University in China, Aditya describes how Monash prepared him: “Its pleasant yet competitive working environment encouraged me to excel. Also, I had the opportunity to engage with outstanding people, from supervisors to lecturers to students. My mentor – a great professor – taught me a lot about how to work with others. And I served as a teaching associate in a number of courses. All this has paid off in my academic career.”
In his research, Aditya has focused primarily on drying technology and food engineering. “I’ve developed an effective drying method, which can now be implemented in industrial settings,” he explains. “I’m also working on various other ways to process food and agricultural materials.”
While doing his PhD, Aditya had the chance to present his research at international forums, where he mingled with leading experts in the field. Not only that, his findings were published in top journals. It wasn’t long before Aditya was awarded the Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for best doctoral thesis in the faculty. “Senior researchers suddenly began to consider my ideas more seriously,” he shares. “Because of the award, they came to view me as an emerging researcher.”
Of course, Aditya has faced some challenges along the way. “I confronted limited research infrastructure, but was able to overcome this by collaborating with prominent research groups who allowed me to use their facilities,” he reveals. “I also had to learn to better manage my time in order to juggle research and teaching.”
Aditya believes a balanced research and teaching portfolio will open doors to an academic career. “Academics are expected early on to demonstrate strong research potential and outcomes, as well as effective and engaging teaching methods,” he maintains. “It also helps to have a PhD from Monash. Monash graduates are well-regarded worldwide, and academic recruiters keep an eye out for them.”