"Monash is going to change your life."

"Monash is going to change your life."

Debabrata Sikdar received the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarship in 2012 and has gone on to enjoy tremendous success as a graduate researcher working with the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering.

Debabrata Sikdar received the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarship in 2012 and has gone on to enjoy tremendous success as a graduate researcher working with the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering.

He is first author of eleven journal articles and co-author of over a dozen others focused on the field of nanotechnology and optical engineering.

Some of Debabrata's most recent work was published in the Journal of Applied Physics and examined newly developed tiny optical antennas, which function like spotlights at the nanoscale, offering the potential to measure food safety, identify air pollutants and even quickly diagnose and treat deadly diseases, like cancer.

His other major finding published in ACS Nano and Advanced Optical Materials introduced 'plasmene': graphene counterparts from the plasmonic nanoparticle family. These open up avenues for the development of new, cheap, nanoscale foldable optoelectronic devices with other functions besides facilitating ultrasensitive detection.

Debabrata shared what the PhD journey at Monash has been like.

1.     Looking back on your PhD experience, what have been some highlights?

My PhD began with the prestigious Victoria India Doctoral scholarship. The award came with a grand ceremony in New Delhi in 2012 when the Victorian premier Mr. Ted Baillieu handed over the certificate. I gave my first interview to the Aussie media and it was followed by a lot of media releases. I had the feeling that this journey was going to be special.

My life as a PhD student has been blessed with lots of support from the Australia India Institute, Monash and others around me including excellent supervisors and very helpful lab mates, who are now my family abroad. It has been like a dream working in a department where there are colleagues from all over the world. The media releases about my research work have highlighted my academic achievements.

Throughout my time here I have met a lot of new people, made friends, and learned the Aussie way of living. I really appreciate the culture where there is room for study and research but also fun and relaxation—a perfect balance of work and personal life. The cosmopolitan culture of Melbourne is always a plus. Coming from a small town of Tripura, a hilly state in the north-eastern part of India, I have been amazed to live in the world's most liveable city for more than three years. Melbourne has become like my second home now

The overall experience has been truly amazing.   

2.     In your experience, what are the facilities like at Monash?

Monash provides all the facilities to carry out high end research including the latest simulation tools, laboratory facilities and vast resources. Most importantly it has a great research atmosphere with specific focus on outputs and publications. This keeps me motivated as a researcher. The Faculty organises regular seminars and lectures to help develop the skills needed to be a world-class researcher. A drive towards multidisciplinary research is what makes Monash learning experience so complete in every sense.

3.     What would you say to an international student who is considering coming to study at Monash?

Monash is going change to your life. Be ready to adapt and explore, everywhere you can learn something and grow. It not only brings you a degree but also makes you a true global citizen. 

4.     What do you hope to do after your PhD? How has Monash prepared you for that?

I aim to be in academia and contribute towards the betterment of our society through teaching and scientific research. Monash has given me a perfect platform to prepare myself for the future with a balance of training in both research (through PhD research, seminars, conferences etc.) and teaching (through tutorials and laboratory demonstrations). Besides, Monash also encouraged and has sponsored my conference tours abroad which helped me to interact and get connected to many reputed researchers in my field. These study away tours not only gave me rich international exposure to the highest quality of research and researchers from all over the world, but also helped me to learn about the latest trends in research and adapt smart techniques to do research more effectively.