My PhD research focused on using machine learning (ML) and automation/high-throughput experiments to accelerate liquid formulations design for products that range from soaps and shampoos to paints and pharmaceuticals. The products are designed to meet well-defined customer functions amongst a background of sustainability challenges, regulatory and supply chain pressures, and a general goal to improve product performance. Therefore, the industry is seeking a method to accelerate the research and development processes for formulation design.

We at Cambridge CARES worked in collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, BASF Shanghai, and the University of Cambridge to address this industrial challenge. I spent my first and now final year in Cambridge, with my sandwiched Years 2 and 3 at CARES and A*STAR in Singapore where I have been jointly supervised and supported by the groups of Profs. Alexei Lapkin and Kedar Hippalgaonkar.

The Cambridge-CARES studentship has facilitated a varied and rich PhD experience, where I have undergone significant professional and personal growth. I have been exposed to the different research cultures between the UK/Europe and Asia and built an extended network of contacts and collaborators. I am looking forward to my next steps as a Senior Process Research Engineer at Unilever R&D, UK, where I will be continuing my application of ML and lab automation to formulation design.

Singapore is a highly modernised, green, and tropical city-state and it was my pleasure to experience this wonderful place, which I had never visited before signing my PhD to go abroad. My highlights were living a short commute from Sentosa Beach, all the amazing food, and the nightlife in the city. With a small group of CARES colleagues who became my close friends, we enjoyed travelling SE Asia once the COVID-19 restrictions lifted, and I visited Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as business trips further abroad back to the UK and Canada – my first and maybe last 24-hour flight trip!

I would like to thank BASF and the National Research Foundation of Singapore for co-funding my PhD studies. The generous travel allowance of the Cambridge-CARES studentship allowed me to present my work at international conferences, and I would like to personally thank Xiang Ning and Katy from HR, who helped me navigate a myriad of COVID-19-related paperwork and protocols to initially move to CARES and arrange travel.

 

 

 

Aniket’s PhD was supported by the National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) programme. The Cambridge-CARES Studentship Scheme is not currently acitve, but please get in touch with us at recruitment@cares.cam.ac.uk if you have any questions.

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