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Researcher Spotlight: Nisha Rakhesh

Dr Nisha Rakhesh of Western Sydney University is passionate about addressing real-world challenges such as food security and environmental issues through teamwork. As Head of International Strategy and Partnerships (Food and Environment), Dr Rakhesh finds satisfaction in fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders and seeing the tangible impact of those combined efforts. Her focus is on sustainable food systems, with a particular interest in addressing food security challenges. 

What are you currently working on? I'm currently leading initiatives to strengthen ties between Western Sydney University and various institutions across India, Southeast Asia, and beyond, particularly in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, and sustainable food systems. This involves building strong partnerships across universities, governments, and businesses. My focus is on identifying shared goals, facilitating the exchange of resources and expertise, and fostering open communication. This collaborative approach allows us to develop impactful programs, like the successful dual-degree options, and joint research projects. 

What initially sparked your interest in this field? I am driven by the immense potential that collaborative research holds in tackling critical challenges and contributing to a more sustainable future. The opportunity to combine impactful problem-solving while fostering collaboration and intellectual growth serves as a constant motivator.

How do you collaborate with colleagues in India and Australia? My work requires ongoing collaboration with colleagues across institutions in both nations. This entails establishing strategic partnerships, facilitating the exchange of resources and expertise, and working together to design and implement effective programs that ensure equitable benefits for everyone involved. We leverage both online platforms and face-to-face interactions to ensure open communication and effective collaboration.

What gets you excited about work? I find it energising to see the positive impact of my work.

Building partnerships allows institutions to share knowledge and expertise, leading to advancements in areas like agriculture and food security.

What's the best part of your work? The best part is witnessing diverse teams come together, working across borders and cultures to achieve a common goal. It's inspiring to see the collaborative spirit and dedication of everyone involved. The most gratifying aspect of my work lies in observing the positive outcomes of our collaborations. Witnessing students from both India and Australia flourish in our programs and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of their chosen field is a source of immense professional fulfilment.

 

What does successful research collaboration look like? Successful research collaborations are built on a shared vision, mutual respect, and trust. They involve effective communication, equitable partnerships, and strategic sharing of resources, all aimed at achieving common goals and making a lasting impact.

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