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AJ Banks Travel Bursary recipient, Kandi Sridhar, reports from the International Food Research Conference 2017, Malaysia

28 Nov 2017

Kandi Sridhar was awarded the AJ Banks Travel Bursary to attend the International Food Research Conference 2017 with the theme ‘Emerging Challenges in Food Research, 25-27 July 2017. Here he tells us about the conference and workshops that contributed to improve his research and writing skills.

‘International Food Research Conference 2017 with the theme ‘Emerging Challenges in Food Research’ was organized by the Faculty of Food Science and Technology, University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia on 25-27 July 2017. The aim of the conference was to learn and share experience among academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, industry practitioners, and policy makers who are involved in food research. The conference was also aimed to foster industry-university collaboration.

‘University Putra Malaysia, a leading research university, occupies 1822 hectares located in Serdang, Malaysia, next to Malaysia’s administrative capital city; Putrajaya, which is 40 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur. The conference lasted 3 days excluding a pre-conference workshop on 24 July 2017. The pre-conference workshop was presented by an academic expert on “How to achieve excellence in publication? Manuscript Writing and Publication”. This session contributed to my writing research articles and also improved my writing skills. The first day of the conference included registration, welcome delegates, and opening ceremony with keynote speakers. I was surprised to see Prof Da-Wen Sun of National University of Ireland and author of the book ‘Emerging Technologies for Food Processing’, as the keynote speaker at the conference. I had read his textbook for my undergraduate and post-graduate studies. After the opening ceremony, the conference began with keynote speaker Prof Da-Wen Sun on ‘Developments of Novel Processing Technologies for Enhancing Food Quality and Safety’. Other plenary speakers ranged on topics such as food processing and functional foods. These techniques are able to provide the solutions for existing problems in food processing sector: this discussion enlightened participating students thinking and approach.

‘After lunch, we attended concurrent sessions (>100), and poster presentations (>133) from 17 countries, which were set up in the morning with food processing equipment exhibitors. During the break from the plenary sessions, I attended the poster session to observe research activities and findings of students and delegates, which provided me with new research ideas and critical thinking in my discipline. I enjoyed this session interacting with other students & delegates.

‘The second day was the most important day for me to present my academic findings to professionals and other international researchers. My oral presentation with the title ‘Effect of solvents on extraction and bioactive properties of commercial grape cultivars in Taiwan’ had a limited time of 15 minutes including 5 minutes dedicated to questions from the audience. I was a bit nervous but confident to share my findings in front of expert professionals. My presentation contributed to the knowledge and innovation in research towards a polyphenols and functional foods session. All the experts congratulated me after my presentation; this was something like a great achievement in my academic career: a memorable moment. My acknowledgement to SCI brought the audience to interact with me after my presentation about SCI travel bursaries. This incredible experience, to share my findings with academics, promoted my confidence and boosted up my knowledge. The conference organization also arranged a Gala dinner at L’apprenti Café @UPM Golf.

‘The final day of the conference held a panel discussion on ‘Global Challenges in Food Research’ with Mr Khoon Tian Yap, Novozymes Malaysia and Prof Dr Da-Wen Sun. Moreover, a three minute oratory competition (3 MOC) for undergraduates was held alternately. This competition created an interest among undergraduates to think about advanced techniques in food science. The panel discussion was held for 60 minutes on existing challenges in food research. This discussion prompted the audience to ask more questions on global challenges in food research.

‘The second session of the final day was an excursion to nearby tourist places. Putrajaya, is a planned city and the federal administrative Centre of Malaysia. Putrajaya has many attractive places such as the Prime Minister’s office, Putrajaya Masjid, and Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). This was the first time I had visited Malaysia and I was very excited to see the buildings and natural beauty.

‘In brief, the conference atmosphere was very good and allowed me to share my findings with international delegates: which was a dream in my studies. This empowering experience has filled me with confidence to start my early career research. The attendance of this conference has taught me so many things which I can use in my academic career. It has fulfilled a dream to attend an international conference, with the support of SCI A J Bank Travel bursaries. Finally, I would like to thank the selection committee for granting me this award and my supervisor Dr Albert Linton Charles for his continuous encouragement and support.’

Kandi Sridhar
PhD Student
Department of Tropical Agriculture and International Cooperation
National Pingtung University of Science and Technology

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