PhD Grand Challenge 2023

A Glimpse into the PhD Grand Challenge 2023 at Monash Prato Center

In the picturesque city of Prato, Italy, where tradition and innovation intertwine, the Monash Prato Center recently witnessed an extraordinary intellectual convergence -the PhD Grand Challenges Interdisciplinary Mobility Scheme. This unique initiative, spearheaded by Monash University, transcended academic boundaries by bringing together doctoral students from diverse disciplines in a dynamic exploration of global challenges. Against the backdrop of Prato's rich cultural heritage, this Mobility Scheme unfolded as a transformative experience, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and breaking new ground in academic research.

At the core of the PhD Grand Challenges Interdisciplinary Mobility Scheme was the belief that true innovation arises when minds from various disciplines collaborate. This initiative, held at the Monash Prato Center, aimed to facilitate such collaboration by providing doctoral students with the opportunity to move beyond the confines of their home departments and engage in interdisciplinary exploration.

Over the course of the Mobility Scheme, participants embarked on a journey of intellectual discovery, immersing themselves in workshops. The interdisciplinary mobility allowed doctoral students to step out of their comfort zones, engaging with peers from diverse fields. The result was a vibrant exchange of ideas and methodologies, enriching the academic fabric of the entire cohort.

The workshop consisted of six teams, each consisting of 7-8 PhD students from different fields from different departments at Monash University. Every team was given a distinct problem revolving around the city of Prato to tackle and develop sustainable alternatives with potential for intervention.

Beyond the academic realm, the Mobility Scheme recognized the importance of cultural immersion in shaping well-rounded scholars. Participants had the opportunity to explore Prato's cultural treasures, creating a unique bond that transcended academic pursuits. The cultural experiences not only served as a source of inspiration but also strengthened the bonds between scholars, laying the foundation for future collaborations.

Four of our Joint PhD students were selected for this program, Afsal Najeeb, Nikita Chitre, Vaibhav Trivedi and Gaurav Kapse. 


L to R: Gaurav, Afsal, Vaibhav and Nikita

Vaibhav Trivedi said-

“The experience of taking part in the PhD grand challenge requiring knowledge from a variety of fields has been both rewarding and informative. It has given me the opportunity to demonstrate the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and the influence that this kind of study can have on the solution of difficult problems. I am really grateful that I have had the opportunity to interact with and gain knowledge from academics, all of whom have a strong commitment to the pursuit of innovation.

I was in group No. 4, and our task was focused on increasing the "Industrial Heritage Tourism in Prato".   After four days of brainstorming, we presented our work on the last day and were awarded as Runners-Up in this workshop”.

As the PhD Grand Challenges Interdisciplinary Mobility Scheme concluded at the Monash Prato Center, it left an indelible mark on the participating doctoral students. Breaking free from disciplinary constraints, these scholars experienced a transformative journey that expanded their intellectual horizons and paved the way for future collaborations. In Prato, amidst the historical grandeur, the Mobility Scheme exemplified the power of interdisciplinary mobility to shape the next generation of scholars, fostering innovation and collaboration that will undoubtedly impact the future of academic research.