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Nirmal Punjabi
Nirmal Punjabi
Sensing and Monitoring Foundation, India

"I am involved in bringing together the optical sensing and monitoring community. To do this, I have registered a non-profit organization: Sensing and Monitoring Foundation. My current focus is to create a sensing & monitoring ‘tinkering’ space so anyone interested but who does not have access to the tools/mentorship can get hands-on experience and build open-source solutions and education kits for the benefit of society. I am creating optical sensing educational kits, online forums and resource databases to expand our knowledge-base within our region and beyond.

At the same time, I am preparing white papers to help connect industry, academia and NGO’s and impress upon all sectors the need for supportive policies as well as investment and attention on optical sensing technology to reap the many benefits.

The Pivoting Fellowship has helped to fund these activities. For additional funding, I work as a consultant in various environmental and healthcare monitoring applications. These provide resources to keep my projects going and keep me in tune with new opportunities and challenges for sensing.

Speaking of, one of the main opportunities for sensing is the growing interest. There are several new start-ups and NGO’s eager to connect and be a part of a synergetic community making a more significant impact.

The main challenge, however, is sustaining momentum. Keeping the flow of grants, donations, mentorship, volunteers for training/mentoring the community members, educational kits, consultancy, validation of stakeholders, reporting and communication to policymakers is a house of cards.

I look forward to more individuals and organizations collaborating to help us reach our goals and support our created momentum.”

Nirmal received the Pivoting Fellowship in 2020 for his vision for closing the gap between the lab environment of sensor development and real-world implementation of sensors for environment and health care applications.

The Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship provides US$50,000 of unrestricted funding to talented, early-career optical scientists and engineers who believe their expertise can improve society outside of the lab. We encourage those with vision and exceptional talent to apply and pursue a newfound passion. Learn more and how to apply at

Updated 7 September 2022

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