Kuntal Singh

..... (a dot going to its lab)

Favourite Thing: I like doing same thing using multiple ways and it is always satisfying to see that the results remain the same inspite of the method followed.



University of Delhi (Under-graduate), TERI University (Post-graduate)


B.Sc. (H) in Zoology, M.Sc. in Environmental Studies

Work History:

Foundation for Ecological Security, Emergent Ventures India

Current Job:



University of York

About Me

I like salsa, sports, reading random things and a big fan of cartoons

I live in York in a rented apartment.  I have had the chance to live with so many people from different countries (US, Italy, Japan, China, Netherlands, Denmark) which makes my Ph.D. stay memorable. I like hanging out a lot, visit random places, random dinners and I consider myself to be very spontaneous. At the moment, I am a part of the Latin American society in York and have been learning to dance salsa and other Latin-American dances. I am also teaching myself little bit of Spanish. I was part of the hiking society in York University but lasted only one trip because it proved too tough for me. I  am working on my fitness now by playing  football regularly and hopefully I will get back into shape soon. I also watch lots of cartoons, the recent ones being Dragonball Super and Naruto.  In my free time, I like surfing on youtube and take interest in politics.

My Work

“Imagine all the food mankind has produced over the past 8,000 years. Now consider that we need to produce that same amount again — but in just the next 40 years if we are to feed our growing and hungry world.” — Paul Polman

With almost 9 billion people expected to live on our planet after 2035,  demand for important food grains such as rice will be high. We need to increase the productivity of existing agriculture land under a climate that is changing. Variation in climate is predicted to increase in the future, with negative impacts for crops that are dependent on natural rainfall (‘rainfed agriculture’). Given that many crops grown under rainfed (i.e. non-irrigated) conditions support the livelihoods of low-income farmers and contribute significantly to  food security, it is important to highlight the risk to rainfed areas to climate change in order to anticipate potential risks to food security. My Ph.D. thesis is a part of BBSRC-funded collaborative ‘SCPRID’ project titled “Using wild ancestor plants to make rice more resilient to increasingly unpredictable water availability”. The objective of this project is to use modern breeding tools to develop new rice varieties with improved yield and drought tolerance for the rainfed areas in India.  My Ph.D. thesis focuses on quantifying the impacts of climate change on rainfed rice productivity and assessing the new rice varieties for their ability to compensate for the loss of yield expected in the future. My work in particular will be useful for policy makers for them to prioritise locations where rainfed rice is at most risk from climate change and will aid the scientific community on the type of varieties that needs to be developed for meeting future crop demand.

My Typical Day

Morning is full of work and evening is full of fun.

I usually get up late (9 am) and try to reach the University around 10 am. I start my day with writing down things I need to do on that day which usually includes reading a paper, doing some analysis, writing a report, or teaching undergraduates. I also look at my calendar for any meeting scheduled. I break for lunch around 1 and have lunch with my lab colleagues and we discuss each other’s day and have bit of laugh. Than I go for a small walk around my campus (which has a beautiful lake) and come back to my desk to start working around 2 pm. I work till 6-7 pm with intermittent short breaks. Around 7, I have my dinner and than I go out to meet my friends or go to my dance classes or play football. I get home around 10 and than I watch some thing on youtube and go to sleep.

What I'd do with the money

Organise a day trip to the University of York to see real world research laboratory

I will organise a day-trip for school students to spend some time in the University visiting different research laboratories and witnessing first-hand experience of the real world problems that the scientists are trying to solve

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

considerate, loud, happy

Who is your favourite singer or band?

If your song reminds me of my favourite person, you are my favourite singer

What's your favourite food?

tough one…kidney beans in India and chips and cheese in York

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Trekking to a glacier in Kashmir, India. It took 2 days to reach there and super fun (not for the legs though)

What did you want to be after you left school?

I wanted to join the Indian army.

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Many times. The most memorable one was that time when I punctured the tyre of my school bus and everyone was delayed to school because of me.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Tough question. I really liked Maths but also enjoyed Chemistry. But if I have to choose a favourite, I will choose the Sports class :)

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

learnt (still learning) to question and understand things .

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

One of my distant cousins who received a Rhodes Scholarship (check it out). He was a true motivation and a really humble person.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

I would be in the Army or running my own outlet of Indian street food.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

get six-pack abs, become really intelligent, read people’s mind

Tell us a joke.

I started out with nothing and I still have the most of it.

Other stuff

Work photos: