01/07/2022

Meet the Researchers: Mayur P. Bonkile


Mayur is a science communicator and loves to explain scientific concepts to the public. He won the FameLab India 2017 by the British Council at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK. He was the finalist for EURAXESS Science Slam India 2017 and the winner of Swiss Science Slam 2019. His research field is Lithium-ion battery modelling. 

To meet Mayur and find out about his work, visit Mayur's YouTube channel.

 

Can you tell us about your research and the area it focuses on?

The research focuses on the interface between fundamental science and engineering application of electrochemical devices like lithium-ion batteries funded by the Faraday Institution at the Electrochemical Science & Engineering group of Imperial College London. The research activities under the Faraday Multi-Scale Modelling project involve physics-based modelling, and my research focuses on boosting the amount of energy a lithium-ion battery can store (energy density). The electrification of transport is essential to meet Net Zero commitments, and my research will increase the longevity of efficient, resilient and sustainable electric vehicles.

 

How did you find out about the research associate opportunity in the UK?

I was actively looking for research associate positions during the last phase of my PhD. I registered on the EURAXESS job portal and similar websites. Also, I am connected to the leading global researchers in the battery domain and have been following Prof. Gregory Offer and Dr Billy Wu's research group for a couple of years, motivated by their innovative approach to tackling energy storage challenges. One fine day, I found a social media post regarding a research associate position by Dr Billy Wu; I applied without hesitation as it provides an excellent opportunity to have a world-shaping impact while solving the most challenging battery storage problems.

 

You were a finalist in FameLab Climate Change Communicators – what was that like and did it make an impact regarding your research, attitude and skills?

FameLab Climate Change Communicators 2021 was a global online competition by the British Council as part of The Climate Connection programme. The finalists were an incredible group of ten influential global science communicators focusing on climate action and a much-needed stage for dialogue, cooperation and action. It motivated me to unite people around the world to tackle climate change. We got high-quality training from Wendy Sadler who is the director of Science Made Simple which empowered me to become a skilled, confident communicator of science. Now, I can better connect with different audiences and use well-structurued elements to deliver a presentation. I proudly include "science communicator" in addition to "early career researcher" in my bio!

 

Could you tell us a little about other British Council international activities that you've been involved in and what they were like?

I was the winner of Famelab India 2017 – a competition that brings Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) researchers to engage an audience by explaining science in just 3 minutes. I was invited as a panellist on "The Climate Change: Youth For action: Driving Ambition", organised by the British Council India. It was an absolute pleasure speaking to CNM Mumbai school students. In collaboration with the British High Commission, I was interviewed by Telegraph-Edugraph and also, I was the finalist for EURAXESS Science Slam India 2017 and the winner of Swiss Science Slam 2019.

 

Could you tell us a little about your background, where you are from in India, where you have studied and how this led to you researching in the UK?

Coming from an academic background, I know the value of a disciplined and focused approach to research and education. Since my father is a Mechanical Engineer, I learned about engineering from his books. As I idolised him, I decided to follow his path and did a Mechanical Engineering degree at the Government College of Engineering, Amravati, India, in 2011. After finishing this course, I got a job through campus placement at a multinational company that builds boilers and heaters for power plants. My academic background inspired me to go further — I did my Master's in Thermal Sciences at the National Institute of Technology Calicut, India, in 2015. Continuing this research journey, I was awarded a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India, in 2022. My dream of becoming a strong research professional led me to Imperial College London today.

 

As an international researcher in the UK what advice would you give to others considering working or studying in another country?

The new country may have a different social and working culture, so we should be open to accepting and appreciating this new change personally and professionally. Nowadays, most research groups have students and staff from different parts of the world, providing an excellent opportunity to learn the best from them! As a researcher, it gives a chance to develop worldwide research collaboration. Sometimes moving to another country may involve a few extra expenses. So, it is necessary to plan well in advance. If you are planning to move with family, kindly review all the rules and regulations, as the documentation process may take more time due to the pandemic.

Dr Mayur P. Bonkile is a research associate in the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London. Follow him on Twitter @MBonkile.

 

Photo credit in this article goes to Sunil Kumar Rawat & Dr Tao Zhu.

To find out more about the Electrochemical Science & Engineering group of Imperial College London

To find out more about Funding Opportunities

To find out more about Faraday Institution

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