Fellowship experience - Surekha Kuchi

Fellowship report by Surekha Kuchi

I have been awarded the “NEWS India-UK Fellowship” at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom. It was a senior research fellowship for a period of one month and I availed it during the period of April 25th to May 25th, 2018. I was selected under the offered topic “A systematic analysis on agronomic and environmental benefits of neem coated urea” and I was very fortunate to have Professor Jo Smith as my guide/mentor from the host institute. Dr. Dali Nayak was also a part of this research proposal.

In front of our university building

Though the Indian government made it mandatory to produce 100% of urea as neem-coated urea (NCU) and there were many reports indicating the yield and other benefits of NCU, a systematic analysis of this topic is still missing. Hence, the offered topic aimed to produce a systematic review and to summarise the effect of NCU on N losses, nitrogen use efficiency and crop yield using a meta analysis software. For this study, I have done extensive review of literature and collected peer reviewed articles on various aspects of NCU. Then, various parameters from these articles including statistical details were entered in excel sheets and these data were subjected to meta analysis using the open MEE software. I really enjoyed doing this project work as it is a completely new topic for me and it has not been done in India so far, covering all aspects of NCU.

I would like to mention about the great hospitality of Jo and Dali that I can never forget. Jo hosted us at a lunch at the Cock and Bull restaurant where I tasted several delicious sweets of Aberdeen. Later, she had taken us to the North Sea beach where we could see the seals playing in the water and on the shore. Dali prepared South Indian food at her home and that was simply superb.

Lunch at the Cock and Bull restaurant (left), and at the North Sea with Pete Smith, Jo and Dali

On one of the weekends, we visited Edinburgh to meet our NEWS project leader from the UK, Prof. Mark Sutton and our other Indian colleagues who were at Edinburgh in the same, similarly to us, under the “NEWS India-UK Fellowship” program.

Meeting with Mark and the other NEWS fellows in Edinburgh

In addition, we went to Muir of Dinnet, National Natural Reserve with the other NEWS fellows, Neeraja, Anandan and Sangita along with the team of Dr. Adam Price. My sincere thanks to him for arranging this trip. I must also thank Dr. Tony who took us to Edinburgh all the way from Aberdeen and showed us beautiful undulating landscapes of Scotland: castles, churches, snow filled mountains etc.

Photos from Muir of Dinnet (top), and from our trip to Edinburg (bottom)

At the end, on 22-05-2018, I gave a presentation on my ongoing research work at ICAR-IIRR that was very much appreciated and raised enthusiasm among the scientific team of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

My presentation

One of my dreams was to see the Rothamsted long-term experiment and I could make it with Jo's help. Dr. Kevin, who developed the RothC model was kind enough to show me the long term experiment which has been running for 175 years. He explained me in detail all the treatments in cereals as well as forage crops experiments.

At Rothamsted with Kevin

I wish to express my sincere thanks to Prof. Mark Sutton, Prof. Jo Smith, Dr. Dali Nayak, Dr. N. Raghuram, Dr. D. Subrahmanyam, Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Dr. S. R. Voleti, Andrea Móring and all other colleagues who helped me directly and indirectly to avail this very prestigious fellowship.

My work place (left) and receiving my certificate from Prof. Jo and Dr. Dali (right)

Overall, my stay at Aberdeen was comfortable and, long story short, Aberdeen is the most beautiful, calm, systematic and disciplined city in Scotland with scenic beauty that made me happy and satisfied.

Surekha Kuchi

Go to top