Pune: A few years ago, Dr Gaganpreet was a Post-Doctoral fellow and worked as a scientist at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) Mohali, for some time with limited scope for independent research. But working on a global environmental concern has always remained a passion for her. She had been passionate about it since her early days and has aspired to do research work in this field. However, she did not encounter any opportunities
As her family was settled in Chandigarh, their responsibilities limited her movement to explore opportunities in science in other cities. Confused and indecisive about her future, she faced challenges in her scientific life due to family responsibilities and indecisiveness, and as such could not focus on her research goals.
The Women Scientists Scheme (WOS) by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) came to her rescue. She learned of this programme, and it revived her hopes and aspirations. After becoming part of this programme, she concentrated on her research, undeterred. She got a chance to pursue her research in a premier research institute like the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali.
The fellowship prepared her for upcoming faculty positions, and she is currently working with the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Chandigarh, as an Assistant Professor.
“I feel the biggest challenge in women’s scientific life is balancing career and family responsibilities. Combining career and family is not easy, and often compromises have to be made. When I was also caught in such a dilemma, DST’s Women Scientist Scheme provided me with the opportunity to accomplish my research goals,” she says.
“I consider myself fortunate that I am working on toxic gas sensing and water purification techniques. Since sensing toxic gases is crucial in monitoring and controlling environmental pollution as well as in medical and agricultural applications, I believe contribution in these areas will provide novel methods for the detection of toxic gas molecules with ultrasensitive detection efficiency,” she explains.
Dr Gaganpreet strongly believes that this fellowship made her more confident, and the knowledge gained during this period has empowered her to continue the research.
“Because of this programme, I am able to continue my research in the field of gas sensing and water desalination applications. This scheme not only enhanced my employability but also helped me look at things from a different perspective,” she adds.
“My association with IISER Mohali has provided the resources and healthy environment to do research, and my Project Mentor, Dr. P. Balanarayan, has been a great help with his insightful discussions, guidance, and suggestions. He has been extremely supportive and has given me the freedom to explore different areas,” she states.
“The outcomes of my DST research project will expand enormously the fundamental knowledge of phosphorus-based materials and will open the way to novel applications in sensing areas,” Dr Gaganpreet mentions.
Coming to this point has been a challenge, and she points out that she has been able to achieve it by being efficient, selective, and flexible.
“Women should believe in themselves and be convinced that all they do matters a lot for science and society. They should be open and realistic, and accept all the challenges coming their way. They should appreciate the exemplary courage of eminent women scientists who had overcome several hurdles to contribute to science. If some have done it, then we can do it too,” she asserts.
This information was provided by the Communications Team at the Dept. of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology.
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