What (NOT) to do as an early career academic and researcher in India

Name of the Speaker: Dr. Arpita Mondal

Title of the Seminar: What (NOT) to do as an early career academic and researcher in India [Gallery]

Date and Time: 29 July 2022 (Friday), 4:00pm

Online Platform: MS Teams (link to the video of the seminar)

About the Speaker: Dr. Arpita Mondal works as an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. Her research focuses on hydroclimatic extremes – how they can be characterized, what causes them, and how they are likely to evolve with climate change. Arpita serves as an Associate Editor of the AGU journal Earth’s Future and the Springer journal Regional Environmental Change. She received the Early Career Research Award from the Science and Education Research Board (SERB), and the INSPIRE Faculty Award. She also received the Asian University Alliance (AUA) Scholars’ Award. Arpita has been selected to feature in the book ‘She Is: 75 Indian Women in STEAM’ by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India and the Red Dot Foundation, honoring 75 Indian Women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. She has been an invited speaker in the session on Women in STEM in the South Asia Leadership Summit of the British Council, India. Arpita completed her PhD in Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, MTech in Water Resources Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and Bachelors in Civil Engineering at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. As a PhD student, Arpita had received the Endeavour Research Fellowship of the Government of Australia, the Fulbright-Nehru Research Fellowship of the United-States India Education Forum, and the Berkner Travel Grant of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Abstract: ‘How to become a professor in an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)?’ is a question which is asked by several in our country. There is an increasingly large number of awareness and mentoring programs conducted by organizations and academies in this country to address this query among the public in general, and graduate students in particular. Another equally important question to which answers must be sought is, ‘How to survive as an early career academic or researcher in today’s India?’. Many Indian academic or research institutions offer to young professionals what are termed as ‘permanent’ jobs; however, stagnation, dearth of progress and lack of navigation along multiple directions of growth (both one’s own individual growth and that of his/her employer) can prove fatal for one’s career and more importantly, personal well-being, if adequate, timely steps are not taken to make sure one is not only ‘surviving’ but also ‘thriving’, particularly compared to global benchmarks. In this seminar, I will talk about key responsibilities expected out of an early career academic in a leading engineering institute in India, highlight some opportunities and challenges towards a bright and successful academic/research career and also offer suggestions to avoid some mistakes (I think) I did. I will share some stories, and advice that I had been lucky to receive, and hopefully hear back from the audience about what drives them towards their own pursuit of excellence. Women graduate students and early career researchers are expected to particularly benefit from this talk, since I will also share some experiences and suggestions on overcoming gender-defined obstructions.

Date(s) - 29/07/2022
4:00 pm

Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) - IISc Bangalore