Dhempe College students shine in Japan

Students from DCT’s Dhempe College of Arts & Science, Miramar, recently participated in the Sakura Science Exchange Program, encouraging scientific collaboration and cultural understanding with Meijo University in Japan


In a collaborative venture led by principal of DCT’s Dhempe College of Arts & Science, Miramar, professor Vrinda Borker, and supported by professor Takahiro Maruyama of Meijo University Japan, a new phase in cross-border academic exploration has emerged. Guided by a shared commitment to collaborative research and educational pursuits, these institutions participated in the Sakura Science Exchange Program, organised by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

The Sakura Science Exchange Program is a bilateral exchange program initiated by JST to promote collaboration and exchange in science and technology between Japan and invited countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

This joint endeavour saw nine students from DCT’s Dhempe College of Arts & Science —Vaishnavi Nadkarni, Gautami Thakur, Amisha Shirvoikar, Ashni Shenvi Kerkar, Sumukh Malvankar, Urvi Kurtarkar, Lakshmi Chavan, Rudha Rathod, and Sakshi Sawant — accompanied by assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry Bhanudas Naik, attending the three-week research program at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan, from January 5 to January 21, 2024.

Meijo University Nagoya is a leading Japanese university with state-of-the-art research facilities and top teaching faculties, including Nobel laureates such as professor Akira Yoshino, professor Isamu Akasaki, and Hiroshi Amano.

Professor Takahiro Maruyama received the students at the airport, provided warm local hospitality, and arranged a social gathering for the visiting students with the students of Meijo University. The Sakura Science Exchange program commenced with a formal welcome ceremony followed by the Symposium on Advanced Materials, featuring a series of lectures delivered by professor Shunji Bandow, Kamal Sharma, and Japanese physicist, professor Sumio Iijima (the inventor of carbon nanotubes) from Meijo University, and Naik from DCT’s Dhempe College of Arts & Science.

Naik said that the opportunity to present his research work among leading researchers was a great honour and paved the way for scientific collaboration with Japanese scientists. “Attending conferences and networking events is an integral part of academic life in Japan, encouraging researchers to present their work at conferences to encourage connections and stay updated on the latest developments in their field,” he said.

The three-week course included scheduled day-to-day experiments on advanced sophisticated equipment such as experiments of chemical vapour deposition equipment to synthesise carbon nanotubes, scanning electron microscopy experiments, Raman analysis, X-ray photoluminescence experiments, X-ray diffraction experiments, X-ray fluorescence experiments, nuclear magnetic resonance experiments, and poster session presentations by research students of Meijo University.

The program also included study field trips to places of scientific importance, like the science center, Nobel museums, and laboratories of top institutes, including laboratories that won the Nobel prize for discoveries such as the LED center of Meijo University; Aichi Synchrotron at NITECH; sophisticated research centers of Nagoya Institute of Technology, Nagoya; Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology; and Nagoya City Science Museum.

Students also had the opportunity to explore the cultural richness of Japan. Meijo University, Japan, conducted special programs on Japanese art and culture, such as Japanese Shodo calligraphy sessions and visits to Buddhist Koshoji Temple, Nagoya. After the completion of the course, students presented the results of research work carried out at Meijo University. The program culminated with a graduation ceremony where all the participants received course completion certificates.

Naik thanked Maruyama and Meijo University for framing an excellent course structure and said that working in a university laboratory in Japan offered a unique and culturally distinctive experience and research environment to the students. “Meijo University laboratories often maintain a disciplined and focused research environment where professors, researchers, and students are expected to be dedicated to their work and contribute actively to the research goals of the lab,” said Naik, adding that the Japanese research culture values collaboration and teamwork, with professors working closely with colleagues on projects, sharing knowledge and expertise.

He observed that Japanese professors value precision and attention to detail. “For Indian students seeking higher studies or researchers seeking international collaboration and career advancements, Japanese universities should be their aim. While many Japanese researchers are proficient in English, language barriers can still exist, especially for non-Japanese speakers, making knowledge of the Japanese language advantageous and desirable. However, many universities are making efforts to internationalise their campuses,” he said.

Overall, the students and faculty greatly benefited from the program, paving the way for potential collaborations between the two institutes.


Feedback from students

“It was a magnificent opportunity for me to learn about Japan’s cutting-edge technology and to interact with the professional community, deepening my passion for science and technology while nurturing a commitment to global collaboration.”

–           Sumukh V Malwankar


“My trip to Japan was an enriching experience filled with learning science and technology, absorbing the serenity of the shrines, the beauty of Nippon, the world of anime, and mingling with Japanese people and the students at Meijo University acquiring discipline and kindness.”

–           Amisha Uttam Shirvoikar


“The Sakura Science Program taught me that in the vast STEM field, opportunities abound, making the journey highly motivating. I encourage students to explore the world of pure sciences and start on a path of endless possibilities.”

–           Gautami Thakur


“The Sakura Science Exchange Program was a delightful opportunity to experience Japan’s state-of-the-art technology and its warm and humble culture. I cannot wait to embrace more opportunities like this to come in the future.”

–           Ashni Ghanashyam Shenvi Kerkar


“While the scientific advancements had me awestruck, the true magic was the unique culture. I also enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of the people and the unique blend of tradition and innovation that defines Japan.”

–           Lakshmi Naresh Chavan


“Participating in the Sakura Science Exchange Program was an unforgettable journey of discovery and collaboration. Beyond the laboratory, I had the opportunity to delve into Japanese culture through immersive experiences like Japanese calligraphy, deepening my appreciation for the rich tapestry of Japanese heritage.”

–           Sakshi Sawant