PhD student awarded fellowship for her work in STEM


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An international PhD student researching cures for brain diseases at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been awarded the ‘Faculty for the Future’ fellowship.

Meenakshi Bhardwaj, from Himachal Pradesh in north India, has received the scholarship from the Schlumberger Foundation - a non-profit organisation which nurtures a community of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from developing and emerging countries.

Meenakshi Bhardwaj, PhD student awarded Faculty for the Future fellowship

“The Faculty for the Future fellowship is open to applicants from around the world and there is intense competition with a lot of very intelligent students hoping to receive the grant,” said Meenakshi. “There are five stages to the application process, including an interview and a board directors' meeting.

“I really didn’t think I would get it but I was working in the lab one day when suddenly I saw the email come through to say I’d been successful. I was so happy!”

Having attained her MSc in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at DMU in 2018, Meenakshi is now in her first year of PhD studies, examining the concentration levels of drugs that are prescribed to treat rare brain conditions. The fellowship will fund Meenakshi’s second year of PhD research.

“Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with the human brain and I always wanted to work in a lab,” she said. “In India there seems to be a misconception that women shouldn’t work in science but the truth is everyone should have the right to work in an industry that interests them.

“That’s why the Faculty for the Future fellowship is so great, because it supports women from developing countries to pursue a career in STEM industries.

“I would love to inspire more women in India to get into science.”

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The programme’s long-term goal is to encourage more women worldwide to pursue a career in STEM, so that they can contribute to the socio-economic development of their home countries.

Since its launch in 2004, 683 women from 81 developing and emerging countries have received Faculty for the Future fellowships to conduct PhD and Post-Doctorate study in STEM.

Posted on Tuesday 9th April 2019

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