For Nepalese engineer Santosh Kaini, winning a prestigious Australia Awards Scholarship in 2017 to study his PhD at Victoria University (VU) has been a self-described dream come true.
On study leave from his role as a senior irrigation engineer for the Nepalese Government’s Ministry of Irrigation, Santosh is currently completing his Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering with VU’s College of Engineering and Science, with the aim of having his first journal article published later this year.
Using the Sunsari Morang Irrigation Scheme in Nepal’s Koshi Basin as a case study, his research focuses on the impact of climate change on future irrigation water management policies and practices in developing countries.
“Sunsari Morang is the largest irrigation system in Nepal – it irrigates all 68,000 hectares of agricultural lands,” says Santosh, who himself is responsible for the design and management of agricultural irrigation systems in Nepal.
“The outcomes of my research will be implemented for the Ministry of Irrigation, and the research findings will have implications for other developing countries as well,” he says.
“Receiving the Australia Awards Scholarship fulfilled my dreams of pursuing my PhD in Australia – I am incredibly grateful to the Government of Australia for selecting me and giving me this opportunity.”
As part of the scholarship, Santosh took part in an Introductory Academic Program which helped to increase his English-language reading and writing skills in preparation for his PhD.
Now well-adjusted to life at VU and Melbourne, Santosh says the research community at VU is world-class.
“What I like about VU is that it has a good group of research scientists who work collaboratively across research institutes – one of my supervisors is from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development which has opened the door to a range of networking opportunities.”
As secretary of the VU Nepalese Students Association, Santosh says VU’s diverse range of clubs and societies reflect the multicultural environment both within VU, and in the wider community.
“It’s great to be able to network with other students from my homeland, but also to help Australian students learn about Nepalese culture.
“The best thing about VU and Melbourne is that it’s one big community so I can interact with people from all over the world – I’d strongly recommend VU to other international students.”