We spoke to Dr. Bankim Chandra Ray, professor and department head of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at the National Institute of Technology in Rourkela, India. His work focuses on the impact of extreme environmental conditions in FRP composites. He has 23 years of teaching and research experience. He has held editorial board positions, done consultancy work and acted as a mentor for young PH.D students.
In our interview, we focused on about the importance of taking part in overseas programs, how to be a young researcher in the field, and what to do as a student pursuing the Ph.D track.
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WriteForWiley: Talk about the patent process. What were some of the struggles? What did you learn from this experience? What advice would you have for others hoping to patent their research?
Dr. Ray: [The patent process] is simply hard and smart work based on extensive and comprehensive literature survey on the subject area and the courage to think and do differently. That yields patents.
The experience is that don’t repeat any investigation. Just honestly explore the investigation in your own right and capabilities. Trust me. The research group is never in a hurry to get attention from the world. We are enjoying doing our job and always feeling fortunate for the golden chance of doing research in the struggling country of [India]. Be happy and make other happy by your own work without any intention of mesmerizing the people around you. It is easier to be innovative than to repeat and get unnoticed.
You took part in a lot of overseas programs. Which one was the most meaningful to you? Would you advise others to attend these types of programs?
Yes, I have learnt a lot from overseas experience. I always encourage my students and scholars to reach out to experts and different countries. Each one of my exposures to each country is extremely valuable. Right at this moment, one [former] scholar has gone to a university in USA, another one to Canada, and one more to UK. I am always keen to get criticized by personal interactions.
Why did you initially become interested in holding editorial board positions? What advice do you have for young authors?
[Holding editorial board positions] is a noble responsibility. Most of the time, it is really very difficult to manage. But I have never denied any responsibility.
Young authors should be thorough about the past and current literature on the research areas. Please go for a smart investigation. You should be modest about your claim of investigation. At the same time, you must be confident in handling the failures of experiments. But go for reporting your findings and [don’t be scared to] get criticized.
What are some of the struggles of your position as a reviewer? What is the most rewarding part of this position?
Most of the time, the manuscripts are common reporting and very decorative investigations. There is an indication of struggles of convincing others by using unnecessary characterization tools. I trust the authors are not enjoying that much.
Please go for small and less explanations in your own words and thoughts. Just report it.
The responsibility [of being a reviewer] is rewarding in many dimensions. I am becoming more confident about my work and more comfortable in guiding others.
As a PH.D supervisor, what advice do you have for those students moving towards this track? What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
[My advice is] hard work and comprehensive literature survey along with continuous interactions with the scholars and supervisors. The scholars of mine are achieving a lot in different dimensions. They are happy fraternity of my endeavors and I am happy at the end of the day. Either they are in R & D section of very big organization or else getting competitive overseas scholarships and going abroad for post doctoral studies.
As a student, did you have any mentors helping you along the way? Did they give you advice? What was the most memorable piece of advice you were given as a student? What advice do you have for students?
[As a student], I was not so fortunate. But I have still deep regards of my teachers in different levels of my degrees obtained. They were very busy people.
I learnt every part of experience form my own mistakes. I have cured my wounds of failure through small successes. Be grateful and thankful to all around you. Always feel fortunate for the given chance and opportunity.