South East Technological University (SETU) Celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science, highlighting the contribution of female researchers.
SETU, known for its welcoming and diverse university environment, understands the immense talent and potential that women bring to the field of research. As a leading education and research institution, SETU firmly believes that women are a valuable resource to our research community. Their unique perspectives, skills, and expertise greatly contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and discovery, making a positive impact on society as a whole.
Dr. Geraldine Canny, Head of Research at SETU commented "We are delighted to showcase the diverse research activities of our accomplished female researchers, some of whom are recipients of prestigious MSCA fellowships. These ladies from all over the world are conducting innovative and societally relevant research. It is vital to attract additional girls and women into this profession where they can make a real difference.”
SETU is fully committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in all areas of science, including Health, Food, Agriculture, and Horticulture. The university actively encourages aspiring girls and women to pursue careers in these vibrant sectors of our economy. In collaboration with national and international funding partners, SETU is proud to offer research grants to female researchers at all stages of their research careers.
By working together, the university aims to maximize the impact of research and innovation in changing the world of science. As the International Day of Women and Girls in Science approaches, SETU urges everyone to join in celebrating the achievements and contributions of female researchers worldwide. Together, we can create a more inclusive and equitable future for science and society.
Here, we celebrate and feature some of our prolific female researchers:
Dr. Manasa Hegde
With a passion for science at a young age, which was nurtured by a curious mind and an innate desire to understand the world around her, Manasa has excelled in STEM subjects throughout her academic journey. Having completed her undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, and a Masters in Nanotechnology from India, she garnered the prestigious Gold Medal for academic excellence from the Governor of India.
Before joining SETU, she gained valuable experience as a Research Assistant on two distinct projects at Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. These endeavours equipped her with the skills and perspective necessary to embark on a doctoral journey, an opportunity that SETU gladly provided. Her PhD in Engineering focused on developing sol-gel coatings for aluminium metal alloys to safeguard them from corrosion, cavitation erosion, and fouling.
Presently, her research concentrates on creating unique coating technologies that enhance metals and composite material’s durability and operating life has the potential to result in the development of new, cutting-edge products and processes that can improve the efficiency and competitiveness of renewable energy systems in the Irish market. I am particularly proud to have received various research funding from various national funding streams. During her PhD, she secured two postgraduate scholarships, one from the Irish Research Council and the other from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), where her scholarship application ranked among the top 12. Additionally, she authored five peer-reviewed manuscripts published in renowned journals. She is also the current recipient of a Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) RD&D scholarship to support her postdoctoral studies. Her proposed project aligns with Ireland's Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expand renewable energy utilization, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
In her own words, Manasa says that her “experience at SETU has been nothing short of exceptional. The research environment at SETU has been remarkably supportive and collaborative. My colleagues are not only brilliant scientists but also genuinely kind and supportive individuals, always willing to lend a helping hand and share their expertise. The University administration, particularly the staff in the research office, has also been instrumental in my work, providing me with the resources and funding information necessary to pursue my research goals. Beyond its academic excellence, SETU fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, particularly for international students. I am honoured to be part of a community that celebrates diversity and recognizes the power of diverse perspectives to drive innovation. I am also thrilled to be part of an institution that is committed to empowering women in science and promoting gender equality in the STEM fields.”
Dr. Rupal Srivastava:
As a Program Leader for the Masters in Innovative Technology Program, Dr. Srivastava is responsible for selecting candidates who will shape the future of Irish research and industry. In this regard, the guidance of her senior colleagues has proven invaluable, enabling her to identify exceptional talent.
Dr. Rupal Srivastava is currently an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and her area of interest lies in the field of Advanced Mechanics, Robotics, and Smart Materials and Smart Wearables. Prior to joining SETU in September 2023, she was a Marie Sklodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the SFI Confirm Smart Manufacturing Centre, from June 2021 to September 2023. She completed her PhD in Solid Mechanics and Design from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, in July 2021, where she worked on Active Composites and Smart Materials. She delved into the analytical and numerical modelling of the mechanics of smart composites with experiments to support her findings. Her PhD work was partially funded by the Indian Space Research Organization, India.
Currently, she is working on Memory Alloys and their integration with Smart Wearables, and in the past has worked on Digital Twin of a Manufacturing Pilot Line, and as a Principal Investigator on the Social Impact Study of Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
Dr. Srivastava has received several notable international accolades, including the Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship, Switzerland, and the Sakura Research Fellowship, Japan. She has been invited for talks at several notable seminars, notably at the Berlin Science Week, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, and Saarland University, Germany.
Rupal commented that “SETU cultivates a positive atmosphere for both students and staff, characterized by mutual support and camaraderie. I am deeply honoured and grateful to be a part of the SETU family, finding solace and support in this foreign land. My aim is to contribute positively to the Irish community by fostering an environment conducive to education, research, and personal growth."
Dr. Anusha Pulavarty
Hailing from India, Dr. Pulavarty has spent the last 8 years living and working in Ireland. An accomplished researcher, Dr. Pulavarty has completed 2 PhDs, her first being on Plant physiology and Molecular biology, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, in India. Her second PhD is in the area of Nematology which she conducted in SETU's Carlow campus. After finishing her second PhD here at SETU, Dr. Oulavarty commenced a new position as a postdoctoral scientist in the same department.
Currently she is working at enviroCORE, on our Carlow campus. This project is jointly funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and enterprise partner Green Restoration Ireland (GRI) under the IRC Enterprise Partnership Program. This research project is based on evaluating the Peatlands Restoration Program using nematodes as bioindicators. As part of her research, Dr. Pulavarty regularly travels throughout Ireland to sample peat soils and study the nematode biodiversity in Irish soils.
Dr. Pulavarty feels "blessed to work at SETU. If given the opportunity, I would happily remain at SETU for the rest of my career. The research community, academics and staff have helped me in every way possible and shaped me to be a better professional."
Dr. Shikha Ojha:
With a background in the broad areas of Food Science and Technology, Shikha’s core expertise lies in the area of innovative food processing technologies with a strong focus on existing and alternative protein sources including meat, seafood and edible insects.
During her research experience to date, she has applied and assessed the impacts of various novel thermal and non-thermal food processing techniques including ultrasound, cold plasma, high pressure, radiofrequency, microwave, infrared waves, and ohmic heating on a range of food products.
Dr. Ojha has developed a strong publication record of over 40 publications including one co-edited book, scientific manuscripts in international high impact peer-reviewed journals and several presentations at international conferences.
She is also a recipient of the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, which enabled her to carry out her research in Potsdam, Germany. This research project mainly focused on developing innovative technologies for the sustainable exploitation of macromolecules from insects as an alternative resource in bioeconomy.
Dr. Ojha has also been awarded the Young Scientist Award by the International Union of Food Science and Technology.
Dr. Shikha is a highly skilled professional with a demonstrated strong research capacity to direct and execute excellence in the area of food processing technologies. She works at SETU's Cork Road Campus in Waterford as a lecturer in SETU School of Science and Computing.