From being a simple graduate in Computer Application from Gujarat University to creating three research and software development companies in the UK, I believe that many gates of opportunities have opened for me during these ten years.
Born and brought up in Ahmedabad, I was eager to pursue my higher studies outside India.
Thus, I began with my share of research on prospective universities in the UK quite early.
The University of Sheffield happened to be the best of them all for my subject interest owing to its long-established Department of Computer Science, reputed for its innovative project-based teaching, and world-class research.
Thus I opted for an MSc in Advanced Computer Science course at the University.
While pursuing the course, I was impressed by a module called Intelligent Web, which covered the topic of Semantic Web.
A fairly new concept at that time, it seemed very futuristic to me compared to other traditional applications.
After scoring well in my MSc results, particularly in the Intelligent Web module, I got a job in Data Mining for Historical Datasets and Integrated Products and Services under one of my MSc professors, Prof Fabio Ciravegna.
I also started thinking about enrolling for my PhD. My aim was simple; to find a scalable solution through use of Semantic Web technologies for effective mining and search of large datasets.
I decided to continue my relationship with University of Sheffield by pursuing a PhD in Semantic Web Technology-Hybrid Methodology for Enterprise Search.
At the same time, I am also working as a scientific researcher at the university as part of the National Language Processing and Web Intelligence Technologies Group.
My role as a Research Associate has allowed me to gain experience of working in both industry and an academic setting.
I have been involved in numerous projects funded by industrial partners, like Rolls-Royce, with the aim of solving real-world problems.
The solutions developed by me were also seen to be of commercial value and also won me the runner up prize from Rolls-Royce’s Director's Research & Creativity Awards as well as an Exceptional Contribution Award from the Faculty of Science & Engineering for work in the application of semantic technologies in a real world environment.
The university even filed a patent application for some of the technologies developed with my contribution.
All these years the university has provided me with great resources and a network of people in both academia and industry through various projects with whom I have built lasting relationships.
It has also sponsored my attendance to various conferences and relevant events.
I had always wanted to exploit this technology and hence ended up co-founding a company named K-Now Ltd along with some of my colleagues and my supervisor Prof. Fabio Ciravegna along with the University of Sheffield as a partner.
In addition, recently I also started another company called Sapient Ware Limited and participated in the formation of Delver Ltd, both of which are currently in their product development phase and directly relate to my core area of research at the university.
From here, I plan to take my companies to a higher level by searching for more like-minded people. Even though there are few more prospects in the pipeline, I feel finishing my PhD will give me more and ample time to concentrate on these in the future.
I also participate in extracurricular activities at the university because I believe they are great for both personal and professional reasons.
I enjoy playing football and tennis owing to the impressive sports facilities provided by the university. It acts as an incredible stress buster.
Besides, the regular group outings, trekking and other activities organised by the Student’s Union are great fun and a perfect opportunity to meet people from other departments.
The city of Sheffield may seem like a small town compared to London or Manchester but I believe this is what makes the city a more suitable place to study and do research work.
The warmth of the people and the classic beauty of this city have made me fall in love with it completely.
No wonder, I enjoy my PhD and work much more than I ever imagined.