Essex community celebrated at India UK Achievers Awards

  • Date

    Mon 30 Jan 23

Anushree Srivastava and Somdip Dey

Two members of the Essex community have been recognised for their achievements as part of the India UK Achievers Awards.

Fixed-term lecturer, Somdip Dey and postgraduate, Anushree Srivastava, were among the 75 winners to be announced at a special ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.

The India UK Achievers Awards celebrate the success of Indian nationals who have studied in the UK as part of their higher education.

The awards coincided with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.

Somdip was recognised as an outstanding achiever in his category - Education, Science and Innovation.

After moving from India to the UK, Somdip completed a Masters in Advanced Computer Science with specialisation in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester and also worked in the industry as a Software Engineer for several years before he joined Essex.

He is currently completing a PhD in Embedded Machine Learning while working as a Fixed Term Lecturer in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

He has been involved with a number of projects at Essex, including the creation the EOptomizer app, which can boost the life of a smartphone battery by roughly 30 per cent to contribute to Net Zero Emission goals.

Somdip also helped produce the Nosh app, which enables shoppers to track the expiry date of food products, in a bid to help minimise food waste.

He said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to have received this award. It is a testament to my decision to come and study in the UK.

“One of the best decisions of my life so far is to come to the University of Essex from India to pursue my PhD in Embedded Machine Learning.

“For me, the University of Essex is like Hogwarts of the Harry Potter series. As Dumbledore once mentioned ‘help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.’

“The University of Essex has created such a thriving experience for me.

“While pursuing my PhD, I have got the opportunity to publish a lot of highly impactful research papers that are not just highly cited by scientists today but at the same time being used by the UK Government and United Nations towards developing policies.

“The University of Essex is by far one of the most supportive and inclusive Universities in the UK to support your dreams in the UK, and I couldn't be prouder to encourage more Asian students to pursue their education here.

“Separately, I hope that I can use this achievement of mine to mentor and help more Asian students in the UK to build a fulfilling life for themselves.”

Anushree, who completed a Master of Science in Biotechnology at Essex back in 2016, was another winner in the Education, Science and Innovation category.

Immediately after leaving Essex, she took part in a long-term mission to simulate the future human exploration of Mars at the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert and at Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station in the Canadian High Arctic.

Anushree’s work included many strenuous hours doing multiple Extra Vehicular Activities (EVAs), which included wearing a 10-12 kg spacesuit.

She has also participated in various other projects relating to Mars analogue research, as well as working with the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, USA, under the mentorship of a renowned planetary scientist Dr. Paul Mahaffy.

Alongside her work at NASA Goddard, she is currently a PhD Research fellow with the prestigious AstrobiologyOU Group at The Open University, working with Professor Karen Olsson-Francis. As part of her PhD research with AstrobiologyOU she has found and named a few novel microbial species from natural salt crystals from a lake in Canada.

Anushree said: "I am extremely humbled and grateful for this honour. “It is unprecedented and that makes it even more exciting and special.

“This honour inspires me to continue striving for good work. “Studying at Essex was a big move for me, especially as a girl coming from a totally unconventional background dreaming to study astrobiology, but the University has been instrumental in my journey, and I will always look back fondly on my time there.”

Both Anushree and Somdip received their awards during a special reception on Wednesday, before attending a Gala Ceremony later in the evening.

The judges who selected the winners said: “We received a very high volume of incredible nominations with extremely tough competition so a place in the Achievers Honours list is very well earned.”