Home > Dr Dipa Roy, Reader, University of Edinburgh

Dr Dipa Roy, Reader, University of Edinburgh

“I completed my PhD from the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science (IACS), Jadavpur University, India, back in 2002. After 3 years’ postdoc, I became a lecturer in the Department of Polymer Science and Technology Department at the University of Calcutta, India, in 2005. In October 2011, I took an unpaid leave from my University at Calcutta and joined the Irish Centre of Composites Research (IComp), University of Limerick, Ireland, as a research fellow. I travelled to Ireland with my daughter, and this was only possible with the support of my family. My plan was to stay in Ireland for 12 months, and then go back to India to my previous job. However, my daughter really liked the friendly atmosphere of the school in Ireland, and that led to changing our mind and we decided to stay back in Ireland. My husband was offered a job in Ireland and moved there in 2013. My family is always my first priority and then comes my professional commitments and my passion for research and teaching. While I did enjoy my work at IComp, but my daughter was the driving force that made me stay. During my time at IComp, my work mainly involved industrial research. I learnt a lot at IComp and had the opportunity to work with great colleagues. Although I liked the research and the collaboration with industries, but I did miss teaching and the freedom of being an independent academic. In 2017, I started an academic position at the University of Edinburgh.  I’m not an ambitious person. I never set myself goals of becoming something. I do research not because I want to achieve anything, but because I love research, and my hard work and passion keep me going – these two are the key things to academic roles. There are several people who have inspired me during my journey, but I would like to name two persons who inspired me the most. One was my PhD supervisor Dr B. K. Sarkar in India and the second person is Dr Terry McGrail, Director of the IComp. I have learned so much from them and I will always remember and respect them as mentors in my academic career. I am also very much thankful to my present colleagues at the University of Edinburgh who are wonderful people and great support. I feel very fortunate that throughout my career I have never faced discrimination for being a woman or for being a foreigner coming from a different continent. However, I must also admit that I try to forget or ignore unpleasant things that come my way and I am not very mindful in remembering such things unless that impacts me hard. If there was anything really upsetting, I would have remembered that. However, I know discrimination is a big concern and I have seen my female colleagues facing such problems. I think the key to an effective EDI strategy is that people remain conscious about the issues and believe in the idea, so that it automatically comes into practice. It will not be very effective if it is just a rule for people to follow. There needs to be a mechanism to make people understand why EDI is so important, and if people understand, they are more likely to believe and practise that. My advice to other female researchers and academics is that do not undermine yourself. I have done that unknowingly in my career and now I realise that was a mistake. I have seen many female researchers including myself speak less about their achievements. I have heard in leadership trainings and workshops this issue has been brought up again and again. It is a proven thing now that many female academics are not good in beating their own drums, with some exceptions. I want to make other female researchers and academics aware of this – be assertive, confident about yourself and sing your own praises whenever needed.”

Copyright © 2020 CIMComp