University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 138/2021, 7 October 2021
Bayreuth researcher becomes visiting professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research in Bangalore/India
Prof. Dr. Mukundan Thelakkat, Chair of Applied Functional Polymers at the University of Bayreuth, has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research in Bangalore (India). “This is great news and means a boost for our internationalisation in relation to India”, says Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel, Vice President for Internationalisation at the University of Bayreuth.
Prof. Dr. Mukundan Thelakkat will – as soon as the coronavirus situation allows – spend four weeks a year as a VARJA Fellow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research in Bangalore and intensify the scientific exchange between our two institutions. His field is renewable energy, especially the conversion and storage of renewable energy, as well as topics of the future ranging from green hydrogen and CO2 reduction to solar fuels.
His links to the University of Bayreuth are manifold: research is bundled and interdisciplinary in the focus areas of Advanced Materials, Polymer & Colloid Science, and Energy Research & Energy Technology, as well as in central facilities such as the Bavarian Centre for Battery Technology BayBATT, the Bayreuth Institute of Macromolecule Research BIMF, and the Bavarian Polymer Institute BPI in the shape of Keylab concepts. Thelakkat coordinates the Keylab Device Engineering at BPI and the Bavarian joint project Solar Technologies Go hybrid (SOLTECH). In JNCASR and in neighbouring institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), there are several research groups working on similar topics.
“I would like to bring these working groups together so that cooperation with BayBATT, BPI, and other centres at the University of Bayreuth is intensified. Student exchanges and internships can be mutually beneficial”, Thelakkat explains. “Of course, I plan to bring together everyone interested in the field of energy research and get them excited about energy research topics”, says Thelakkat and adds: “I would also like to sensitise Indian youth to the climate crisis and show them how to approach the topic of “renewable energies”.
Prof. Dr. Thelakkat’s host and scientific partner is Professor Giridhar Kulkarni, President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research (JNCASR). Kulkarni has long been associated with the University of Bayreuth. He was in Bayreuth several times between 2010 and 2019 as an International Senior Fellow, among other things. Thelakkat established contact with Kulkarni within the framework of an EU programme on the topic of “Large cells”, which was coordinated by Thelakkat. This was about printed organic solar cells for large-area applications.
Later, Kulkarni and Thelakkat were involved in the joint project “Metnetwork” (2016-2019) at the Federal Ministry of Research together with the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) and industrial partners from both countries. Its topic was the production and application of large-area transparent electrodes.
About the SERB-VAJRA Faculty Scheme
The Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) programme was established to provide the Indian R&D ecosystem with a strong international reach. The programme offers visiting faculty positions to foreign scientists to conduct high quality collaborative research in publicly funded academic research institutions in India. The VAJRA faculty is to conduct cutting-edge research in science and technology in collaboration with one or more Indian partners, and may also be involved in technology development, start-ups, etc.