Dr. Sunil Kumar Sahu from India has been working as a research scientist in plant genomics since 2018 at BGI Research. He praises Shenzhen as a well-balanced city which sees the harmony of man and nature, coexistence between bustling economic activities and good urban order as well as residents’ busy work and leisure time. A certified fitness coach of CrossFit, he gives free training to his students and colleagues after work.
来自印度的Sunil Kumar Sahu博士，自2018年以来在深圳华大生命科学研究院担任研究科学家。他欣赏深圳的均衡发展之美，在他看来，这里人与自然和谐相处，城市经济活动繁忙但却保持着井然有序的城市秩序，人们也都基本实现生活工作的平衡。作为一名CrossFit教练，Sahu博士会在每天下班后义务教他的学生和同事进行体能训练。
Video and photos by Lin Jianping except otherwise stated 视频、摄影：刘旭东
In most people's eyes, Shenzhen is a young, fast-developing, high-tech, smart, innovative and creative city. While acknowledging all these traits of the city, Dr. Sunil Kumar Sahu, an Indian research scientist from BGI, praises Shenzhen as a well-balanced city which sees the harmony of man and nature, coexistence between bustling economic activities and good urban order, as well as residents’ busy work and leisure time.
在大多数人眼中，深圳是一座年轻、快速发展的、高科技的、智慧的、创新的和有创造力的城市。对此，来自华大基因的印度研究科学家Sunil Kumar Sahu博士也十分认同，只不过他更欣赏这座城市的均衡发展之美。在他看来，这里的人与自然和谐相处，城市经济活动繁忙但却保持着井然有序的城市秩序，人们也都基本实现生活工作的平衡。
Dr. Sunil Kumar Sahu at an interview with Shenzhen Daily.
Sunil Kumar Sahu博士接受英文《深圳日报》采访。
Dr. Sahu, who hails from a small village in Chhattisgarh, India, has been working as a research scientist in the field of plant genomics since January 2018 at the Institute of Digital Earth, China National GeneBank (CNGB), BGI Research in Dapeng New Area.
Dr. Sahu at work.
Over the past five years, Dr. Sahu has witnessed the city’s rapid development in its economy and urban infrastructures without compromising people’s livelihoods and the natural environment.
“Shenzhen is a rapidly developing city. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen a lot of progress. For example, previously there was no Metro here in Dapeng, but now I have heard that the Metro construction has already started. I also noticed many new parks are opening here in Dapeng and very beautiful walking or jogging lanes are all around the city. I think that's a significant improvement,” he said. “But on the other hand, they are also taking care of nature. If the construction is going on, they will also grow a lot of trees in other places, especially to reduce the pollution.”
Dr. Sahu gave a thumbs-up to the city government’s efforts in balancing economic growth and environmental protection. “I appreciate the city’s efforts in environmental conservation. I often share Shenzhen’s Air Quality Index with my Indian and other foreign friends, to make them aware of how nicely the top-tier city is maintaining the balance between nature and the city’s growth,” he said.
Dr. Sahu shares with Shenzhen Daily journalists his impressions on Shenzhen.
The 35-year-old told Shenzhen Daily that he is impressed by the city’s excellent organization in managing traffic, rules and public services, among others. “I love not only the city’s organization, but also the fact that people follow the rules very efficiently. One thing my wife and I like the most is that whenever we are on the road and some bus or car is coming, even there is no signal, they will stop automatically, which make us feel like Chinese people are so gentle and kind,” he said.
Dr. Sahu exercises at a gym in BGI.
In the case of the Indian scientist, brain and brawn have never been enemies. Apart from his daily tasks of assembling genomes, writing research papers and interpreting data, Dr. Sahu loves hiking, going to beaches and sightseeing with his wife and BGI friends. He is also a certified CrossFit fitness coach and gives free training to his students and colleagues after work. He also mentioned that he took up a new hobby of playing badminton after coming to Shenzhen and won some awards in competitions at his institute.
Dr. Sahu reacts during a BGI badminton match held in December 2022.
He added that BGI celebrates sports and highly values its employees' health. “BGI organizes sports activities twice a year to motivate all the students and staff to come and play together. They also have some fun games like jumping rope and tug-of-war,” he said.
Dr. Sahu delivers a speech at the 17th Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Genomics in November 2022 in Chengdu. Courtesy of the interviewee
Dr. Sahu told Shenzhen Daily that doing research is not just his job but also his passion, which brought him from India to Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou in 2015 to join a postdoctoral program. While studying in Guangzhou, Dr. Sahu heard a lot about Shenzhen and during the International Botanical Congress held in Shenzhen in 2017, he was invited to visit BGI/CNGB and was amazed by the infrastructure and research facilities of BGI.
Dr. Sahu shows a plant specimen to Shenzhen Daily journalists.
In 2019 Dr. Sahu received 300,000 yuan (US$43,000) from the Shenzhen Municipal Government’s “Research Grant” and 50,000 yuan from the “Wutong Phoenix” class-D talent award. He says that financial support from the government is very helpful for early-career researchers. He thinks that the Shenzhen government is very forward-looking as they understand and believe that investment in scientific research and innovation plays a crucial role in generating innovation-based economic growth.
He also appreciates the city’s great ambition in drawing talents from all over the world. “If more talented people are coming here and give their brainstorming, knowledge and experience and train the local people, I think that will be an enormous boost for Shenzhen’s economic development and all future innovations,” he said.