PhD Research Awards

We conduct this special programme exclusively for research/PhD students. PhD students proposing to conduct or currently conducting relevant research in food science including processing, technology, legislation and characterisation are eligible to participate in the programme. The unique aspect of the programme is that it encourages interdisciplinary research, thus encouraging revolutionary and innovative findings.

First Edition – 2016/2017

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Factbook – First Edition – 2016/2017

Best PhD Thesis and Bursary Award Winners

F1rst received 28 applications for the Group 1 Best Final PhD Thesis award, with 25 theses submitted. We are pleased to inform you that Prof. Usha Antony has nominated Dr. Mahesh Kumar, student of Dr. Rekha Ravindra Menon, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Bengaluru Campus) as this year’s laureate.

The adjudicator commended Mahesh Kumar’s research entitled ‘Design and Development of Microcontroller based sub-baric thermal processor for manufacture of fried and soaked dairy products‘ as: “The presented work aligns with the objectives of the Processed Indian Traditional Foods PhD research programme and fulfills the selection criteria laid down earlier namely – design and development of a process modification for a traditional Indian sweet Gulab Jamun; demonstrated an improved process and product with health value, While addressing problems related to the traditional process; which also has potential for scale up in the industry. Further, it expands the scope for application of the technology to other Traditional Indian Foods”.

As Best PhD Thesis winner, Mahesh Kumar, will be invited to the Award Ceremony to be held at 13h30 at the Vivanta by Taj-Dwarka in Delhi on March 8th, 2017, where he will give a short presentation of his thesis to the representatives of the sponsoring companies – Nestlé and TATA Trusts and receive his award from Prof. Usha Antony.

Five laureates who have won the Group 2 PhD Indian Foods Research bursaries of INR 50 000 intended for first year PhD students are: Ms. Chellam Murugendar (Avinashilingam Institute of Home Science and higher education for Women, Coimbatore), Mr. Gajanan Deshmukh (National Dairy Research Institute, Bengaluru), Ms. Manimegalai S (Periyar University, Salem), Ms. Shweta Madhukar Deotale (Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology, Thanjavur) and Ms. Uma Maheshwari S (The Home Science College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Madurai). The Group 2 category attracted a total of 20 applications.

The ‘Best PhD Thesis’ and bursary awards gives the students an extra incentive and also increases the visibility of their research within the Indian food industry. F1rst is appreciative of the sponsors, Nestlé and TATA Trusts and would like to thank them on behalf of the researchers also.

We extend our thanks to all the applicants for their efforts and wish them the very best in their research and career endeavours.

Best PhD Thesis Winner
Dr. Mahesh KumarNational Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Bengaluru campus)
First Year Bursary Winners
Ms. Chellam MurugendarAvinashilingam Institute of Home Science and higher education for Women, Coimbatore
Mr. Gajanan DeshmukhNational Dairy Research Institute, Bengaluru
Ms. Manimegalai SPeriyar University, Salem
Ms. Shweta Madhukar DeotaleIndian Institute of Crop Processing Technology, Thanjavur
Ms. Uma Maheshwari SThe Home Science College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Madurai

Best PhD Thesis Winner of ‘Processed Indian Traditional Foods’ honoured

Venue: Vivanta by Taj-Dwarka, New Delhi | March 8th, 2017
People from the left: Dr. Srinivasan Vedantham (Medgenome), Dr. Kaushik Shankar (F1rst), Dr. Viral Brahmbhatt (Nestlé Research), Mr. Vivek Arora (TATA Trusts), Mr. Badrinath Raghavendran (F1rst), Dr. Usha Antony (Anna University), Dr. Mahesh Kumar G (Best PhD Thesis winner), Mrs. Dhanupriya Souresh Coumar (F1rst), Mr. Gajanan Deshmukh (bursary winner), Mrs. Chellam Murugendar (bursary winner), Ms. Uma Maheshwari (bursary winner with her proud mother)

The award ceremony for the ‘Processed Indian Traditional Foods’ PhD Research Promotion programme was successfully hosted by F1rst on 8th March, 2017 at the Vivanta-Taj, New Delhi. The ceremony was graced by the sponsors, Nestlé Research and TATA Trusts.

The ceremony started with an opening toast by Dr. Kaushik Shankar, Director-Research, F1rst on how the programme was started and the need for encouraging research and innovations in the arena of Indian traditional foods. He emphasised that active understanding of food market requirements, reaching out to the low hanging fruit, integrating health and wellness right at the concept stage are all necessary for sustaining growth for the Indian food industry.

Dr. Srinivasan Vedantham, Disease program lead – Diabetes from Medgenome presented a key note paper on Nutrigenomics and its implications to improve dietary habits and nutrition. Dr. Vedantham highlighted how the innovations and infrastructure in the genomics research can lead to a better understanding of food materials and the consequences on diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, which may be further utilised in designing food products and even personalised nutrition. While introducing the topic of genomics, Dr. Shankar mentioned that even the west is still only “thinking” about this but India will soon outpace other countries and regions in the demand for data leading to personalised nutrition solutions. Genomic data has to be interpreted in the context of eating occasions and habits to derive greater understanding; it is not ideal to fit genomic data into existing food habits, but rather to take into account the food consumption habits of the population at the experimental design stage itself.

Dr. Usha Antony, Professor from Anna University, Chennai and programme co-ordinator, then described how the programme was conducted, her experience in the evaluation of applications and the highlights of the work presented by the winning students. She commented that all the research applications were of high quality. Alongside, she also mentioned the areas of improvement for the PhD students including excellence in communication and technical writing skills to add value to and to present their research in the best manner possible.

Mrs. Dhanupriya Souresh Coumar, academic outreach manager from F1rst shared her experiences during the conduct of the first edition of this programme including the challenges faced and plans for improvement of the second edition by reaching out to rural universities and institutes and sensitizing the Masters and PhD students through seminars and lectures.

‘Best PhD Thesis’ winner, Dr. Mahesh Kumar G, student of Dr. Rekha Ravindra Menon, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal (Bengaluru Campus) presented his research findings on designing and developing a microcontroller based sub-baric thermal processor for manufacture of fried and soaked dairy products. The laureate was honoured by Dr. Usha Antony. First year PhD bursary winners, Mrs. Chellam Murugendar, Ms. Uma Maheshwari, Mr. Gajanan Deshkmukh received their awards from the dignitaries, Mr. Viral Brahmbhatt (Nestlé Research), Mr. Vivek Arora (TATA Trusts) and Badrinath Raghavendran (Director of F1rst) respectively.

Best PhD Thesis winner, 2016-2017: Dr. Mahesh Kumar G receiving Best PhD thesis Award from Dr. Usha Antony, Anna University


First year PhD Bursary winner, 2016-2017: Mrs. Chellam Murugendar receiving award from Dr. Viral Brahmbhatt, Nestlé Research 


First year PhD Bursary winner, 2016-2017: Mr. Gajanan Deshmukh receiving award from Mr. Badrinath Ragavendran, Firstmr 


First year PhD Bursary winner, 2016-2017: Ms. Uma Maheshwari receiving award from Mr. Vivek Arora, TATA Trusts

All the award winners were congratulated for their initiatives and received best wishes for their research.

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