May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly (name, nationality, Marie Curie Action, Project, international experience…)?
I was born in Guntur, in the southern part of India. Being interested in life sciences, I chose biology as major in my secondary school. I studied at Vishwa Bharathi College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, affiliated to Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) to pursue Bachelor of Pharmacy. In 2009, I obtained the ‘Licentiate in Pharmacy’. I got a wonderful opportunity to join Erasmus Mundus Master Course Advanced Spectroscopy in Chemistry. As a part of ASC master course, I studied at the University of Lille-1, France and University of Leipzig, Germany and graduated in June 2012. Immediately, I started my Ph.D studies in the group of Prof. V. Prèat at the Louvain Drug Research Institute, UCL in Belgium where I am employed as an Early Stage Researcher within the Marie Curie Actions ITN NANODRUG (http://www.nanodrug.qmul.ac.uk/). During my research, I formed many research collaborations in/outside of the network. I love travelling, meeting new people, writing stories and cooking!
Why did you apply for the Ordinary Board Member position within the MCAA?
Being an active volunteer for different associations, I am glad to offer my knowledge in volunteer management and strengths in team building to MCAA. The MCAA needs a strategy for building the awareness and importance of the MC Fellowship within and outside of Europe and we are lagging behind a bit compared to other associations in marketing and promoting. Moreover, since the very beginning of my Erasmus Mundus studies, I have been concerned about the branding of EU programmes. This was also one of the reasons why I applied for the Board Member position within the MCAA.
As an Ordinary Board Member within the MCAA, what do you plan to do first? – or what is the first item you plan to put on the agenda?
I am very inspired to be a part of MCAA Board. In the action plan, first, we need to find our direction and establish better networks among our researchers. My foremost priorities are PROMPT responses from the MCAA and BRANDING of MC. Also, I am strongly motivated to put myself to serve MCAA as a Board Member in combating the financial challenges of our Fellows and I am confident that I can contribute to my best level both in sense of time and quality of work for the association.
What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?
I strongly insist on:
- PROMPT responses with specific deadlines,
- MARKETING and promotion of MC Fellows,
- NETWORK: Intense links with industry and private partners and formation of working groups,
- TRANSPARENT budget and open opportunities for all Members,
- HELP: database with all details as welcome kits for incoming researchers.
How do you plan to organise your work within the MCAA and especially your collaboration with the other Members of the Board?
I am very happy that the newly elected Board is committed to fulfilling the aims and objectives of the MCAA. On a pre-agreed time line we will discuss the progress of the issues, plan the constructive development of MCAA, prioritise the requests from Members, etc. I feel with the best utilisation of current technology, the MCAA Board will able to set the milestones and achieve them with the support of Members.
How will your work within the association help build a “community spirit” among the Marie Curie Alumni?
"Open opportunities and transparency" is what the Members are demanding, which can lay paths taking our association forward. A small idea can bring a bigger change. Any activity that would increase understanding of other cultures, team building and community spirit is highly encouraged from my side, like forming national bodies, working groups, innovative groups, joint social service activities, group trips, Marie Curie Hangouts, etc. We are one of the best products of the EC. So, I don’t want to restrict the voice of Members to science. One can raise his/her voice on finding solutions for social problems, inspirations, etc. I will gladly support the debates among Members.
Do you plan to meet Alumni? When?
I live in Brussels, which is the heart of Europe and the headquarters for the EU. I am happy to meet and spend my time with anyone who passes by, if I am free.
What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?
I am very thankful to everyone who supported and voted for me and it is my pleasure and a great responsibility to work on our common plans as one Board; as any MC Fellow, I feel we are open minded and will continue working actively for MCAA despite the election results. I especially hope that in the next 2 years, the MCAA will network more with other organisations, promote Alumni to employers and create a strong Marie Curie Fellows community.