Rutuja Bhusari, when research becomes an actor of change

Published on 01/06/2021

Driven by her curiosity, Rutuja Bhusari, PhD student at LIST, goes beyond her research and brings science to all.

What is your doctoral thesis about at massena?

Gas sensors are really helpful in our daily life to identify potentially dangerous gases emitted by all kinds of common furniture in our cars, houses, and many other indoor environments. Metal-oxide based gas sensors usually work at high temperatures which leads to certain application disadvantages. In this work, I use light to activate charge carriers and heterostructures to make use of properties of two materials in one, to overcome the need to use heat to operate these gas sensors. Here, I try to answer basic questions related to mechanisms taking place during gas sensing based on experimental data.

Was research a vocation for you?

Not at all, when doing my Master in India, I was so convinced that I would end up in a corporate job in an industry. But I got a great opportunity to work at a very good research centre in India, the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, and it’s there that research hit me! My view towards research completely changed and I got so curious of what I was doing that 6 months was too short a period to satisfy my curiosity.

How did you end up at list?

When I saw this PhD position as part of the Massena Pride Project, I was immediately convinced that it would be perfect to fulfil my requirements and ambition to pursue my work on gas sensors. It was my first time out of India and as Luxembourg is a very cosmopolitan country, it was very easy for me to adjust here. I have met so many different people, I have a great supervisor and very good colleagues, and I feel that we are like a huge family. Besides LIST, Luxembourg is also a very good place to live. The kind of facilities that the government provides to its citizens are indeed very attractive.

Why are you involved in the Massena Young Scientists Conference?

The aim of this was to train us in the organisation of conferences. I thought this was a very good chance to improve my skills in terms of organisation and it was a good challenge. You don’t get such an opportunity very often. Throughout this Massena event, I am the communication link between our group of organisers, and I am also in charge of all the external communications such as the contacts with the invited speakers and participants, as well as the event website. That’s something I like and really wanted to do as science communication seems to be a very interesting career path.

What about the gender talk you planned for this event?

We all have talked about the problems. Maintaining work-life balance for a working woman in Science is difficult when you think about maternity and child-care. But there must be something that we could all do, and I want to know what. That’s why I asked Kristel Wiliquet, LIST HR Director, to give a talk focusing on solutions during our Massena conference. And, I am so excited to say that she agreed!

You recently moderated a Cancer Quiz. What motivated you?

Besides this great science communication opportunity given by DESCOM, it was also important for me to better know about the disease. In the past year and a half, some people around have been affected by cancer, and I realised that I didn't know much about it. Through this experience, I not only learned a lot more, but I was also able to share this knowledge and raise awareness by creating an interactive quiz on Kahoot. It was the first step, closely followed by our online live event in which experts gave insights on people’s questions.

About MASSENA

Launched in 2016 by LIST and the University of Luxembourg with the support of the FNR, MASSENA is a Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) which focuses on materials enabling future applications in sensors and energy harvesting by embracing stimuli from strain, motion, temperature, electric field, light, and chemistry. Towards this goal MASSENA is organised in four thematic clusters: strain sensors and energy harvesters; electronic sensors and energy harvesters; biocluster; electronic structure calculations. 

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