Interview with SCI Scholar, Moni Gupta

17 Sep 2015

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985 over 65 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past eight years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed nearly £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Moni Gupta received an SCI Scholarship in 2013. Here she tells us what being an SCI Scholar has enabled her to do.

What has the scholarship from SCI enabled you to do that would not have been possible otherwise?

I am very proud to have been an SCI Scholar for the past two years. It has given me a platform to present my work at the SCI's Members’ Forum and AGM, which provided me with an opportunity to discuss my research work with wider audiences. These interactions and networking have helped me to understand the broader perspective on the applications and impact of my work and has given me much-needed exposure to the industrial world. I have enjoyed participating in various events like the Members' Forum, College of Scholars' Lunch, Day of Science and Careers, Group Officers’ Conference and AGMs that would not have otherwise been possible. I have also attended many guest lecture series, AGMs and events organized by the SCI’s Cambridge and Great Eastern Regional Group.

What has been the most valuable part of receiving the scholarship?

The opportunity of presenting my work via a poster at SCI's Members’ Forum and presenting at the SCI AGM has been the most valuable part of receiving my scholarship. I understood and explored the value of my research work when I explained it in front of a wider audience. Interaction and networking with many experienced industrialists gave me the understanding of applications of research work. At the same time, it has also increased my knowledge about different work and applications of their work presented by other SCI Scholars.

Which achievement are you most proud of in your academic career so far?

Qualifying to study at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee for my Undergraduate and Master's degrees, followed by pursuing my research at the University of Cambridge via a scholarship from the Schlumberger - Faculty For The Future foundation, and receiving a scholarship from SCI have been the proudest moments of my academic career so far. During these periods, I was exposed to various academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, which have added a valuable transferrable skills experience. These include team work, leading a new idea to work and implement in the related field, analysing and solving the related problems during implementation, presenting and convincing the importance of the relevant works, managing and organising multiple works. These skills played a vital role in adding relevant experience in my career and personal development and raised my profile within the scientific communities.

What impact do you think receiving the scholarship will have on your future career?

Receiving an SCI Scholarship has benefited me already by adding valuable transferrable skills to my personal and career development as described earlier. Interactions and networking with experienced and wonderful persons connected to SCI gave me a wide and broader idea of working in industry. Moreover, one of my favourite events, which I attended at SCI, was the Group Officers’ Conference, where all the attendees were divided into groups and were given industrial problems to improve. My role was assigned as an observer of activities happening in different groups along with another experienced SCI member. And, I am thankful to SCI for this as I learnt many things by playing this role. I am very happy to mention that I learnt some important skills by listening and observing. Furthermore, it was interesting to see different approaches from different people on the same problems, which also made me think about how I would have been tackling this problem if I were one of them. Managing limited time to solve a real-world problem and concluding with concrete discussions, directing the group towards its main aim etc were the other important skills to observe and learn. After that, a brief presentation with full budget and plan from the different groups' representatives were made and the best two were awarded to execute their plan. The most interesting part to me was analysing my own results and experience as an observer and making comparisons to the overall presentation of all those ideas.

What next?

After finishing my PhD, I am planning to move into the pharmaceutical industry. My interests lie in the synthetic chemical products development, understanding its needs and make necessary amendments to solve real world scientific problems for public benefit.

Is there anything else that you would like to highlight or note about your SCI Scholarship?

It has been awesome knowing this wonderful interdisciplinary network of people, which connects science with the business for the public benefit. There have been various Member Benefits, which SCI have not only offered, but have tried to improve on based on the members' need, and that are extremely valuable. My favourite benefit is receiving C&I magazine once a month, and has been always a source of knowledge to improve my scientific understanding in industries and its commercialisation. I would highly recommend that you join SCI to share information and spread ideas to develop and contribute towards the growing era of science, research and communication.

Moni Gupta
SCI Scholar 2013-2015

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