The world has reaped the benefits of Research through countless breakthrough innovations in the fields of Engineering, Healthcare, Agriculture, Communication etc .
Innovations, to be sustainable, and to make it from the confines of the lab to the real world, require the expertise of professionals who understand research from a legal and commercial perspective.
Tania Das, our next pathbreaker, Patent Analyst, MaxVal Group, works with Entrepreneurs and Inventors, to help protect their innovation and keep the innovation cycle running.
Tania talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about her initial years as a researcher and transition to the commercialisation of research through IP/Patent analysis.
Tania, tell us about your background?
I grew up in Agartala, capital of North Eastern state Tripura. I studied science in my HSC. My father is a Rtd. Govt. School teacher and my late mother was a home maker. I loved to take part in sports activities, for example, cricket, badminton and I love dancing. I wanted to be a sports person, but later developed an enthusiasm for medical stream since I loved Biology.
Then I appeared for the state govt. entrance exams for PCB (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) group.
What did you study?
I did my B.Sc in Agriculture from CAU, Imphal, Manipur;M.Sc from AAU, Anand, Gujarat (Plant Biochemistry, Biotechnology & Molecular Biology, Ag. Statistics) and PhD in Biochemistry & Plant Physiology from JAU, Junagadh, Gujarat.
I also attended an online Patent Analyst Training Program from IIPTA, New Delhi and currently pursuing my Post-graduate Diploma in IPR law (Distance Education) from NLSIU, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and exciting career?
I loved biology and had a keen interest for science and logic behind everything existing and was always searching for the answers of the “Whys”.
My educational background is in Agriculture, I got the opportunity to choose this career as I also loved Plant Sciences, which could give me knowledge about medicinal plants, nutrition and health.
How did you get your first break?
I was offered a position of Probational Agricultural Officer in the banking sector as my first job through University campus placement, but at the same time I was also awarded Senior Research Fellowship to pursue my doctoral degree which I ended up choosing.
Tell us about your career path
My first official role after Ph.D was as an Assistant Professor at Anand Agricultural University, Dept. of Biochemistry, Bidi Tobacco Research Station. I started working on ongoing research in tobacco fields, analyzing biochemical parameters of farmer’s tobacco samples and mentoring PhD students for current semester courses. It was a good learning experience.
I had to take a call for an urgent family cause and leave that interesting role. After a few months break i took up another challenging role as Senior Research Fellow at NBAIR, ICAR, Bengaluru. There I worked on a project related to “Use of safe, cost effective plant essential oils as a mosquito repellent against dengue vector”. Bioassays on nano-emulsions of medicinal plants, observation of the mosquito lifecycle, study about dengue virus, poster presentation in conferences, publishing results with statistical data analysis in research journals were a part of the project work.
I also worked as an Assistant Professor in a privately held University, VGU, Jaipur. I used to teach agricultural subjects to UG students, mentored international students for their visit session and organised workshops as well.
During that time, I also started my online patent analyst training course, as Intellectual Property Rights plays a huge role in research and product commercialisation. IPR was also a part of my doctoral degree programme as a prerequisite course. I also successfully completed online General Course on IPR from WIPO, Switzerland around that time. I wanted to have experience in the corporate industry to widen my horizons and since I am married, being a family person made me more grounded, so coming back to my city to live with my family was one of my top priorities.
It didn’t take me too long to understand that getting into industry needed a well furnished strategy. And knowing about the industry you’re targeting is also equally important. So, I decided to join a one year diploma course ( distance education) in IPR Law from one of the top Universities, NLSIU, Bengaluru. During this time, I was also strategically searching for a good interview call and preparing for it, which helped me land my first job in the industry as Patent Analyst. It is a joyous ride and i am learning a lot in this position and it has given me a different outlook as well.
What were the challenges? how did u address them?
- Challenge 1: I had to leave my first job for family emergency, but within a couple of months I was back on the field and got myself another interesting job in my area of specialisation.
- Challenge 2: I had to take a one and a half year break from work due to my health condition. I met with an accident which caused a herniated disc problem in my spine and I was advised to take rest for a pretty long time. Updating myself has always been a passion, so I continued to learn new things, building new skills while staying at home for e.g., digital courses, certifications, attending one day workshop training on applied genomics in agriculture and seminars; which not only helped me keep myself updated with current technologies but also encouraged me in many ways through networking with working professionals from different sectors.
- Challenge 3: I wanted to do research, but in my city of interest there were very few openings in the industry for a fresher, then I started learning new things which could give me a new perspective about new career lines.
IPR provides a strong platform for getting exposed to new technologies, trends, scientific innovations and understanding how law plays its role in the field of science. The inter-relationships are amazing, which prompted me to choose this area and be a part of it as well.
Where do you work now?
I work in the Intellectual Property sector at a privately held corporate office.
I’m part of the search & analytics team where i analyze innovations and through our team work, we protect our clients from the risk of infringement and help commercialize their products and innovations.
Practical knowledge is important. Always be updated with the current industrial requirements in your line of interest.
Through continuous research, I acquired the skills to understand what companies look for in a candidate and thus learned or got certified from reliable sources.
A typical day is filled with team work, communication and a bit of fun at work as well
What is it you love about this job?
At present, iam learning new things, which is very exciting. Another great thing is that iam meeting new peers and getting myself updated about other sectors as well.
How does your work benefit the society?
IPR motivates inventors to keep inventing and helps develop advanced technologies in various sectors e.g., health, farming, computer science etc. and monetize it.
As there is competition, one may come up with same invention as the other inventor in the same field of technology, but only the inventor who files first will be given exclusive rights for royalty .
IPR consultants and search teams can work with those inventors to forestall the competition and also save them from the risk of infringing other’s product when it comes to commercializing their product in the market. IPR consultants can come up with the competitive intelligence for the organization of interest through thorough research and analysis.
Tell us an example of a specific work you did that is very close to you!
I mentored students
Your advice to students based on your experience?
- Be updated of the current technology needs of your country and the world’s fastest growing technology.
- Do have knowledge about money management for any investment whether for study or for other future plans.
- Keep updating skills, as market requirement always changes.
- Be good at what is close to your heart, brush your skills for that always
- Take care of your brain health.
- Would like to be a coach in my area of specialization and educate students, farmers and others who are interested in Agriculture.