The magic touch
How IIT Kharagpur recorded a sharp rise in the number of PhD students
At its 65th Convocation, IIT Kharagpur gave away PhD degrees to 372 scholars. The numbers showed a sharp rise from the earlier figure of 295 from last year. Taking the 5 years’ figure the increase is close to 85% taking 2014 as base. The numbers happily live up to the goals set for higher education centres by the Government of India. They, in fact, reflect sustained efforts taken by the Institute over the past few years to intensify the focus on research.
Prof. P.K. Das, Dean, Post-graduate Studies, IIT Kharagur, explained the reason for the rise in the number of PhD students, “Due to high academic standards, we are able to attract more number of research students. Also remember that apart from the conventional departments, we have number of schools and centres and interdisciplinary programs where you can do PhD. In some academic units, we do not have UG programs, but we offer Post-graduate studies and PhD. Take the Advanced Technology Development Centre, which has a PG program with 5 students, but has more than 200 research scholars.”
Like ATDC, there are a number of centres, such as bioscience, nanotechnology, energy, semiconductors, manufacturing, bioengineering, and computational sciences that offers multi-disciplinary studies.
IIT Kharagpur has launched new academic programs spanning the realms of biology, medicine and engineering. Several joint MSc-PhD programmes in Medical Physics, Molecular Medical Micro-Biology, Nuclear Medicine, etc. have been initiated with the Tata Medical Centre.
The Institute has also initiated a new program – the Certificate of Excellence in Research – to recognize state-of-the-art collaborative research with industries and the academia. This program is open to bright professionals with doctoral degrees in India and abroad, working in industry or research institutions, with a desire to pursue impactful research in collaboration with the Institute and be recognized globally. There is also provision for ‘Doctoral Degree for Working Professionals’ with minimum contact period in the campus for very meritorious and motivated professionals working in the industry or research laboratories.
The other major development that is changing the research ecosphere of IIT Kharagpur’s international programs. Take the Dual Doctoral Programs with the Australian universities such as Melbourne, Curtin and Wollongong. A doctoral student enrolled under the DDP scheme, is supervised by a supervisor from IIT Kharagpur and a co-supervisor from the partner Australian University. The student is required to stay for one year in the partner university and receives a PhD degree jointly awarded by IIT Kharagpur and the partner university.
Prof. Baidurya Bhattacharya, Dean, International Relations, says, “IIT Kharagpur strongly supports international exposure for its students.” The second batch of PhD students have already applied for the DDP programs in both Melbourne and Curtin. Joydip Mondal, a DDDP scholar at Melbourne, says, “This (DDDP program) welcomes technical exposure at other competing laboratories and paves interaction with world-class Professors. The consequent exchange of ideas is an assured take-away.”
IIT Kharagpur also offers joint projects and workshops with universities and laboratories around the world, has a vibrant visiting international faculty program and provides assistance for its students to attend conferences and competitions abroad. Besides, the Institute has an extremely competitive scheme under which seed infrastructure grants are provided to individual faculty members, departments as well as collaborative research groups. Among them are competitive challenge grants for individual research and Institute Scheme for Innovative Research and Development (ISIRD).
Prof. Pallab Dasgupta, former Dean, SRIC (Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy), said, “The diversity of in-house expertise at IIT Kharagpur has catalyzed the development of a healthy ecosystem for large scale industrial collaborations in multi-disciplinary areas, such as automotive control, railways research, steel technology, petroleum and biofuels research, industrial robotics, agricultural automation and many more.”
Unique schemes, collaboration with industry and academic institutions, both in India and abroad, and a supportive infrastructure are helping IIT Kharagpur attract an increasingly greater number of research scholars.
Photo credit: Click KGP
Graphics : Suman Sutradhar