PhD student Lakshmi Salelkar
Previous education: M.Sc. Product Development and BE. Mechanical Engineering
Unexpected talent: I can sing sometimes.
In my spare time: I like to gym, hike and indulge in downhill mountain biking.
Describe the Division of Industrial Engineering and Management with three words: Ebullient, Collaborative, Open
What made you apply for a PhD position, and why did you choose the PhD programme in Industrial Engineering and Management at Uppsala University?
Firstly, I would point out that I am super happy and excited to be part of Uppsala University, which is internationally recognized as being among the top 100 universities in the world. Uppsala University attracts some of the world’s very best minds, which is extremely important for me as a person. I want to surround myself with the best of the best in the field to learn, create and grow.
I am passionate about conducting inter-disciplinary research at the intersection of Engineering and Business. Upon graduation from my Masters in Product Development from Chalmers University of Technology, I was interested to apply for a PhD that would be complementary to my profile and my research interests.
The PhD topic, “Business model implementation for Additive Manufacturing for Life Sciences” is something that I am passionate about because it enables me to assist in diffusing technology in a way to improve people’s life quality directly and hence I applied to the Industrial Engineering and Management department.
Why did you pick a research career track? How is it different from being in industry?
Before embarking on a PhD journey, I took a lot of time to explore industry in a B2B setting. For example, I worked in India as a Production Engineer for Bosch India. Here in Sweden, during my Masters I got to work in a product development project with GKN Aerospace AB. I undertook entrepreneurship by employing social robotics for clients such as Sweco, DNB Bank, Kodcentrum and Alecta. So, in short, I explored a lot and played with a lot of phenomena. Then I decided to take a few ideas forward as PhD projects, or rather, some research questions worth investigating for 5 years.
Can you describe your research with a few sentences?
I am looking at advanced manufacturing technologies, such as additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, and observing the discrepancies with the traditional economic models such as the value chain.
What makes your research interesting?
It is exciting to be in such a dynamic spot, at this point in history. At the same time, we see the emergence of new economic theory, to cover new ways of doing business enabled by the new capabilities which these new technologies, such as Additive Manufacturing and new materials bring with them and therefore a new way to look at business itself. The end customer now is more empowered and actively involved in the value creation and capture process, which makes for a more dynamic system to explore.
How would you describe your daily work as a PhD student?
Currently I am involved more actively in one research project, called Test Demo Innovation Platform (TDIP), with Region Uppsala, where we as a research team are conducting needs analysis and investigating whether the regional industries need such a platform and how it would look in practice. I am also a teaching assistant for the course Projekt: Fördjupning i produktutveckling/marknadsanalys. Apart from this, I am taking courses in other universities and learning on the go.
What is the best part of being a doctoral student in Industrial Engineering and Management at Uppsala University? And, is there maybe anything about it that is less enjoyable?
I think the whole atmosphere of learning from each other, forming a knowledge community, and the whole idea of being surrounded with awesome brains makes it exciting and fun to wake up every day and work. The entire research team is involved in keeping us all up to date on the current state of the art in the research world in general. I feel my department is recognizing that collaboration is key to innovation and dissemination of research results.
What do you think about Uppsala University and the city of Uppsala?
Uppsala University, more specifically Ångström laboratory, is leading Sweden in the domain of new materials development and the region as a whole is very strong in Life Science. People of Uppsala have been very welcoming and student friendly. I commute regularly between Göteborg and Uppsala via Stockholm and I feel it is well connected. I am looking forward to shift to Uppsala in the near future. I feel very happy to be part of this innovative region and motivated to produce good research in the upcoming years.
What plans do you have after graduation?
I would like to continue as a researcher in the future and explore more.
Do you have any advice to future PhD students?
My advice to other enthusiastic potential PhD students, which I got from my professors, is: try to be like a child, dare to challenge basic assumptions, experiment with different phenomena and you might stumble onto something new and move forward to bring that idea into the world.