From May to August 2019, two postgraduate scholars from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad have joined CPAS thanks to the Future Research Talent travel awards, jointly offered by ANU College of Science and ANU College of Health and Medicine to students from India.
The FRT is a competitive and prestigious program that attracts the very best international students from high-quality Indian institutions and provides them exposure to ANU research.
The program offers a valuable opportunity for India’s emerging research talent to form international linkages and develop research skills.
Sudhir Thout and Hema Ale are both social anthropology students from IIT Hyderabad.
Sudhir has completed his PhD coursework, and is developing his research proposal while in Canberra. His research is focused on diabetics, working across medical anthropology, public health and sociology. He is motivated by the scarcity of research on people with diabetes in India who are impoverished and vulnerable.
“There is a lot of data from the medical side, but not so much on cultural determinants,” said Sudhir.
Hema is studying her MPhil on climate change activism, exploring how people in South Asia articulate the environmental crisis.
“I’m hoping to bring out different voices and focus on local interpretations of the crises,” said Hema.
“These are globalised crises, but they’re still unique to your own local experience.
“Local solutions need to be teased out, and understood in a context of ecological citizenship.”
Both students say the biggest difference between the two cities has been the quiet. Hyderabad is a city of almost 7 million, compared to Canberra’s 400 thousand.
While they like the quiet, it’s the research environment that drew them to ANU.
“One thing I really love is the network. The academic support of helping each other, giving feedback," said Sudhir.
“The diversity of work, as well as research workshops and seminars. So much is happening on a daily basis.”
“Nowhere has resources like here. Even things like the library, the SuperSearch — it’s the best thing a student can ask for," added Hema.
As their time in Canberra wraps up, they both say they have many lessons to take back home.
“The guidance from people at from CPAS, speaking with colleagues and understanding how people work has given me a lot of knowledge — that this work can even be done," said Sudhir.
"It’s all very encouraging.”