Director Interview Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray JISIASR Kolkata
Director Interview: Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray (JISIASR, Kolkata) - JIS Institute of Advanced Studies & Research (JISIASR) is one of the known private institutes in Kolkata. JISIASR is a new institute that offers various industry-oriented post-graduate and translational research programmes. The director of the Institute, Prof. Ajoy Kumar Ray is an academic expert with an experience of more than 40 years. Words from such a knowledgeable entity always add to the intellect and aspiring candidates will know more about the institute they wish to take admission into. In an interview with Careers360, Prof. Ray shares his experience in the education industry, about JISIASR, Kolkata and much more.
Careers360 - Tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Prof. Ray - Over the last 40 years of my tenure in academics, I have witnessed how science and technological education has been evolving. From such a profound and elucidative resident experience during my professional journey in IIT Kharagpur and IIEST Shibpur apart from my continued professional connectivity with various other eminent institutes and industries in India and across the globe, I strongly feel that its necessary to initiate a greater number of quality programmes at Masters and PhD levels, focusing on developing appropriate manpower with skillset as per the industry standard and translating the research based education for the prudential benefit of our society. I am happy that JIS Group of Educational Initiatives has come forward to support this challenging task through the development of JIS Institute of Advanced Studies and Research (JISIASR) Kolkata, under the aegis of JIS University. We, at this new-born institute, offer high quality industry-oriented post-graduate and translational research programmes in some of the most relevant areas of science and technology in 21st century with a commitment to nurture young minds for industry. The students will not only receive internships in leading industries and academic institutes across the country but also receive the opportunity to work on industry-oriented projects for enhancing their levels in the domain knowledge and to manifest resident skills in a pragmatic way.
Careers360 - Being an important dignitary of this institute, what is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Prof. Ray - I strongly believe that a leader is as good as his/ her team is, since the team members need to be capable of manifesting their experience and knowledge to set the bricks along the path towards reaching the heights. In such case, it no more remains a dream of the leader, rather it becomes the vision of each of the team members who put their devotion and expertise to create a different paradigm for the institute or organization. To achieve this goal, I always aim to offer my team members a collaborative and enjoyable environment where they can work together with full freedom and take the onus of JISIASR considering it a single family. Also, I ensure that this family includes not just the staff and faculty members, but all the Masters and PhD students. Contextually, JISIASR Kolkata aims to contribute, through constant endeavour and innovation in education, interdisciplinary translational research, creativity and entrepreneurship towards the transformation and well-being of our society.
JISIASR Kolkata has three centres – Centre for Data Science, Centre for Health Science and Technology, and Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences. The house is enriched with people having diversified knowledge and established track records in global platforms. The faculty members and students intimately collaborate with each other and as a whole work closely with industries, translating domain-specific knowledge in fruitful application for potential need of the society. I surely believe that our strong repertoire of bright faculty members and motivated Masters and PhD students will eminently place our institute in the technology education map of India in near future via active support and collaboration with the prominent industries and academic institutions across the globe.
Careers360 - Any of the significant challenges you faced handling the responsibilities at this institute and how do you motivate your team for continuous growth & enhancement?
Prof. Ray - During this pandemic situation, the most difficult challenge is to keep all our students, staff, and faculty members motivated and involved in finding innovative solutions to combat the crisis. As a nation, we need to adopt several strong and effective crisis-resilient approaches particularly in the education and research world. As an academic and research institute, we have to keep growing and to ensure that every scientific & technological benefit shall reach every corner of the society. We should have learnt in the last few months that cooperation and collaboration at the community level is the only way to survive. Therefore, we want to grow as a team of like-minded institutes worldwide. We are in process to collaborate with the leading academics, industries, and scientists/technologists to establish our footprints for our own strong long-term existence that can be productive to society.
We are also very much interested to involve our students and faculty members to work on innovation ecosystems at local scale which would ensure our contribution to the movement called “go vocal for local” in true sense.
Careers360 - USPs about the curriculum of this college?
Prof. Ray - The course curricula for Masters and research studies have been developed in close consultation with various industrial experts to bring out the best among the students and develop their skills to solve real-life problems with an industry-oriented aptitude. Some of the salient points to be considered as USP are:
Fully-structured job oriented courses to provide knowledge as per the industry standard. State-of-the-art laboratory facilities with modern-age systems and equipment at per with the industry level configurations.
Emphasizing more on hands-on based sessions in every discipline to develop practical skills that will benefit the students in both industrial and research perspectives.
Highly qualified faculty members, graduated and experienced from IITs, ISI, industries and other eminent institutions in India and across the globe, viz. Germany, Australia, South Korea and USA.
Opportunity to be trained from eminent professionals on the emerging areas from the perspective of industry-oriented skills and projects.
Collaboration with leading industries and academic institutes across the globe.
Internship and project opportunities in prominent industries and academia to work in close collaboration starting from the carrier.
Ensuring good quality research publications for the Masters students through their participation in ongoing in-house research projects (funded by Wellcome Trust or Govt. of India agencies like DBT, DST, ICMR, etc.) side-by-side their regular course programmes, thereby offering them a comprehensive research exposure that they could expect in the R&D labs of the industries or in the academic institutions.
Provision of scholarships to all meritorious and motivated students under financial stress.
Careers360 - Top qualities that a student must possess.
Prof. Ray - In this era when it’s becoming quite challenging for each one of us to prove in his/her carrier path, from a global perspective I can suggest some of the qualities that one should own to grow further.
Sound domain knowledge and apparently in-depth understanding of the problems and associated approaches to solve that.
Talking about the solution for a problem, one should think simple yet smart and implement the process in a structured way. Hands-on knowledge encapsulating various case studies related to real-life problems.
Deep understanding of how the scientific community and industries are uprising in that respective field and what could be its possible future in succeeding years.
For sure, one should be hard-working, passionate to work and play as a team worker.
Perseverance and ability to think out-of-the-box are also major concern which can keep one in the top-tier.
Efficient representation of the work in both writing and presentation is also paramount to achieve progress in the respective field.
Very importantly, the focus, the motivation, and the love for the subject of interest, which will allow the student to enjoy the work (s)he is doing.
A clear knowledge of own strengths and, more importantly, limitations.
Careers360 - What should be the ideal school environment and culture according to you.
Prof. Ray - In my opinion, an ideal environment should cuddle the priorities of every student as well as people who are tirelessly working to shape the institute as per their vision. There should be a profound match between one’s goals and expertise in achieving so. For students, they should get an open sky to blossom their learning capabilities and fly with their knowledge and skills. Other hand, the faculty members should get enough opportunity and scope to implement their ideas and further develop their skills to reach the highest altitude in their respective fields. At JISIASR, we have adapted a teaching-learning environment that embraces the idea of learning-by-doing, not just guided by the books but also through practical exposures and hands-on sessions to fortify their knowledge. We believe that with textbook procedure of learning and approaching any solution, the comprehensive knowledge perception would be incomplete from the point of solving real-life problems. Which is why, our learning-teaching strategy also embraces various eminent experts, in this field, from reputed industries and academic institutes across the world, who are also actively taking classes to our students periodically on various course subjects, adjoining an industry perspective in teaching the students – thus revolutionizing the teaching and learning paradigm as per the industry standard. Other hand, we try to maintain the study load to a certain level so that the students could get ample scope to think unconventionally, followed by successful implementation with thorough guidance from our faculty members. Our team work tirelessly to construct the future of our students as they step out in the world and establish themselves as leaders in their fields.And, most importantly, we always aim to keep up the trust and respect between the teacher and the student, which is currently under severe attack countrywide.
Careers360 - How do you look to build a healthy relationship with the students?
Prof. Ray - As we are embarking into the 21st century, the new-age engineers are the flag bearers of future generations who, I think, have lots of potential to shape the future world in diversified domains. As a teacher, our responsibility lies in guiding this massive force into a proper path and bringing out the best of each pupil. With such a vision, we perpetuate a healthy relationship between students and teaching fraternity through sharing the lectures with passion and positive attitudes, incorporating fun at various interactive theoretical, practical and cultural sessions, imparting information from both historical and future perspectives, there by turning on their deep-interest in a specific field and guiding them accordingly to help them grow as a leader of the future world. In our most of the practical and problem-solving sessions, we encourage their active association in defining solutions, followed by implementations through different practical experiments which on one hand further sharpens their skills and thinking capabilities, whereas on the other hand helps them to work in a group with teachers and freely share their opinions on different aspects of life. Definitely, we welcome their ideas in various institutional events and act as well as guide them accordingly. We think, as we belong to this JISIASR family, it is our responsibility to keep things organized and focused in different dimensions of our activities. To achieve this, we don’t make any set of ‘office hours’ or ‘class hours’ a barrier for the students to reach the faculty members for any purpose that would, not just teach, but educate the students.
Careers360 - Being an important dignitary of this institute, how do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available? How do you wish to push the envelope further?
Prof. Ray - We always believe that our graduates will become a job provider, not a job seeker. Having said that,we also understand that not every student will choose to be an entrepreneur or start-up professional. Therefore, we explore the possibilities to place our students in academics and related industries. As Dr. Louis Pasteur once said, “Fortune favors the prepared minds”,our students should not miss any opportunity to be placed or employed that might appear to them in near future due to a lack of preparation. As a result, the luck factor will be automatically minimized. Our highly talented pool of young faculty members, along with the experienced and successful personalities invited from the different sectors of this society as adjunct professors, will keep no stone unturned to provide the best training to aspiring graduates to be ready for industry and higher education.
Careers360 - What goals do you have in your mind for your institute for the next few years?
Prof. Ray - As a new-born institute there are miles to go in our future endeavour, in which we plan:
To create analytical minds and embed intellectual curiosity amongst the students by imparting education with focus on imparting interdisciplinary knowledge and problem solving along with a strong communication and leadership skill.
To cultivate amongst the academic community a commitment towards advancement of knowledge by creating a collaborative environment open to the free exchange of ideas, where research, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can flourish, and individuals can achieve their full potentials.
To generate in-house incubation centre which, in guidance and association with leading industries and government funding, will allow the faculty members and students with innovative ideas to develop their own start-up ventures.
To prepare JISIASR Kolkata as national hubs in our programme areas for both training and research which will enable us work in consortia with all top-ranked national labs in relevant areas.
Our mission is our commitment to address critical issues and to solve the challenges facing the humanity at large, with an open, creative and scientific mind and adhere to the highest ethical standards. The Institute will inculcate a culture and climate that respects nature, protects our environment and natural resources and welcomes creative minds from diverse backgrounds from across the globe.
Careers360 - Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and aspiring students?
Prof. Ray - A few simple things I’d suggest to the current youth and aspiring students:
Try to choose the area that you’d want to relate to your profession from the core of your heart, so you enjoy every bit of studies.
Make a habit “to think, to doubt, to communicate, to question, to learn from mistakes, and most importantly, to have fun in learning”, as uttered by Richard Feynman.
Try to excel in whatever you choose to study or work on, so you can be full of confidence.
Consult with whoever you trust to choose your career path, but take the final decision yourself, since you won’t be allowed to repent for being driven to the wrong path, thereby minimizing the probability of failure.
Try to have utmost motivation and determination along your career path, avoiding any dilution of your focus.
Remain connected to young minds of similar wavelengths, and try to prosper collectively.
Whenever needed, responding to your heart’s call, dare to come out of your comfort zone and take risks, while believing in yourself.