Please tell us about yourself

Shanthi Priya Samudrala began her PhD in India as part of a joint Australian-Indian research partnership, coming to Australia to complete her final year.

I completed my PhD through the RMIT University-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) joint research program. I spent the first two years at  IICT and came to Australia to complete my final year and to submit my thesis.

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What did you study?

Before coming to IICT, i did my Bachelor’s Degree (Biotechnology, Microbiology, Chemistry) from Avanthi Degree and Pg College and Master’s Degree (Organic Chemistry) from AV College Science Arts Commerce

Tell us about your research

 My research aims to develop new highly efficient, economically viable and environmentally friendly strategies for the sustainable production of value-added fuels and chemicals. With diminishing fossil fuel reserves and continuously increasing environmental issues, the use of renewable carbon resources, such as biomass, has received significant attention.

By using novel processes and materials to catalyse vapour phase hydrogenolysis, we can turn bio-glycerol into valuable products. These could include 1,3-propanediol and propanols, that are unique and preferred over those obtained from existing petroleum-based processes.


My project was carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Advanced Materials and Industrial Chemistry (CAMIC). I received multidisciplinary and innovative training that allowed me to take my research to the next level and helped realise the impact my research could have on real-world applications.

How was RMIT?

I was able to undertake much of my work at the state-of-the-art analytical laboratories at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility (RMMF). Access to this equipment was highly beneficial and enabled me to improve my research skills through hands-on experience.

My supervisors inspired me throughout my candidature. With their guidance and support, I successfully developed a world-class research project.

I published my results in 12 high quality peer reviewed journals, submitted five conference papers and attended various conferences in India and Australia. I was also honoured to receive the Professor Martin Bennett Research Excellence Award for the most outstanding postgraduate research student in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Coming to RMIT University was a life-changing experience for me. The training and confidence I developed was beyond my dreams. I’m now a confident young woman scientist who can take a job anywhere in the world.

The RMIT-IICT Joint Research Centre was established in 2011 to produce real-world graduates with extensive global experience. The Centre aims to recruit highly talented and outstanding young researchers to perform research in the fields of energy, resource utilisation, water treatment and re-utilisation, air pollution control, nanotechnology, nano-biotechnology and strengthen the University’s relationship with India in a sustainable way.