KTU researcher from India: Kaunas has changed immensely

“Anywhere in the world you go, and I mean – anywhere – if you have skills you will definitely get the job”, says Dr Kumar Anubhav Tiwari, a researcher at Kaunas University of Technology Ultrasound Research Institute. Although now the situation has changed significantly, in 2015, when Kumar came to study PhD, the state scholarship was smaller than his salary in India. However, he rose up to the challenge and has never regretted the decision.

“I had belief in myself – previously I had won the scholarship for my master’s in London University of Westminster, so I knew that there were possibilities, one just has to look for them”, says Tiwari, who received his doctoral degree from KTU in September 2019.

The first opportunity offered itself when Kumar found an announcement that KTU’s Faculty of Informatics is looking for teachers. Having the experience of teaching programming languages, after some refreshment of skills through online courses, he applied and got the job.

“Later, I have won several scholarships, both from the University and the external bodies, such as Lithuanian Science Council, was awarded the incentives for publishing scientific articles and, eventually, I was employed as a researcher at the Ultrasound Research Institute”, says Tiwari.

However, Kumar agrees that he wouldn’t be where he is without encouragement and help.

Even the smallest fracture in the aeroplane construction can be fatal

For his doctoral studies, Tiwari chose KTU Ultrasound Research Institute for its internationally acclaimed state-of-the-art research. With previous education in signal processing, Kumar is now applying his knowledge and skills in completely new fields for him – non-destructive testing for airborne structures and wind-turbines, and developing ultrasonic technologies adaptable in cancer treatment.

“Ultrasound helps to find a defect, which cannot be seen with the naked eye. The problem is that even the smallest defect in the aeroplane structure can cause a catastrophe. The same with the blades of the air turbine, which are very costly – one blade can cost millions of euros. We have developed methods for double testing – during the manufacture of the object and for health monitoring of the structure when it’s already working”, explains Kumar.

His task was to develop the signal processing algorithm, which allows pinpointing the location of the defect. In addition, with colleagues from other Kaunas universities, he is working on research, which is aiming to assess the life of microbubbles inserted into a cancerous cell for treatment.

According to the researcher from India, the research environment in KTU is entirely international: “Since we are carrying out international research, all the meetings, all the presentations are in English”.

Supervisor as a role model

When asked, if he considers himself a success story, Kumar smiles: “Of course, I completed my doctoral thesis on time, it’s a success, isn’t?”

However, he is emphasizing hard work rather than luck as the key component of achievement. Kumar’s role model is his supervisor Professor Renaldas Raišutis, who can be found in the laboratory “day and night”.

“Once Renaldas is inviting me for a talk. This was, I think, already two years into my PhD studies. He says: Kumar, what are you doing? You haven’t published any articles, and the time is ticking. You will not graduate if you’re not going to work seriously”, remembers Tiwari.

This served as a timely wake-up call – within a year Kumar published 5 articles in high impact scientific magazines and was awarded an active PhD student scholarship by KTU. Now, after his graduation, Kumar Tiwari is working with KTU Ultrasound Research Institute’s team of scientists on several projects.

You need a job? Show what you can do!

Being a member of the University’s international academic community, Kumar says that KTU is extremely student-friendly.

“I have friends in the best universities in the world and I know how it is there – your supervisors don’t have time for you, you have to wait for weeks to get your question answered. At KTU, the teachers and researchers go at great length to help you. And if you are an international student, you will get even more help”, says Kumar.

However, he emphasises personal input – the opportunities will not come knocking at your door if you are not “putting yourself out there” for the employers if you are not promoting yourself as being competent and possessing exceptional skills.

“Some students complain to me: I have no job. To them I say – and who are you to give you a job? Sell yourself. Did you attend the lectures? Did you get new knowledge and skills? Talk about them. However, if you don’t spend any time in the laboratory, if you don’t attend lectures, you cannot expect to get the job, which requires competencies and skills”, says Tiwari.

He encourages international students to attend the meetings and events organised by the International Relations Department. There one can get all the necessary information – from practical advice on medical and spiritual help to networking possibilities.

At home in Lithuania

“The population of my home city Lucknow in North India is the same as the population of Lithuania. So, I like being here – it’s far less crowded, and a calm place. You have fresh air, a lot of greenery, good water – these are essential things for a good life”, says Kumar.

He doesn’t miss any specific things about his home country – everything can be found here.

“I have always been a potato eater, so cepelinai, kugelis, bulviniai blynai – they suit me well. I like kibinai also. All the spices I need I can find in shopping centres, and you even have Indian shops”, smiles the Indian researcher, living in Kaunas since 2015.

According to him, the city has changed immensely during this time – not only its appearance but also people. Although after five years he speaks some Lithuanian, more and more locals are willing to converse in English.

“In the beginning, even shopping was a great challenge, but now the situation has changed. When I came to Kaunas, only young people were speaking English, but now it seems that everybody does, regardless of age”, says Kumar.

Although at the moment the freshly graduated doctor is working at KTU Santaka Valley, he admits to having had two job offers from other countries.

“Sometimes I feel that I need to get more exposure, to enhance my competencies elsewhere and then to come back here. However, I still have responsibilities in the projects I am working, so I will stay in Lithuania for some time”, says Kumar Tiwari.

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