New IITs: investments that need hand-holding
Harshita Das, 21 Sep 2017

Careers360 interviews Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur where he speaks on the IIT ecosystem and the need to nurture it. In this interview, Prof. Chakrabarti also shares that the investments made in New IITs along with providing adequate support will definitely bear fruits. Read the complete interview with the Director below.




Careers360: Being the first IIT to be set up, how do you look at new IITs coming up in different parts of the country?

Prof. Chakrabarti: IITs have a long and proven history of excellence in engineering education and research. It is important to spread this culture to as many places in the country as practicable. These new IITs are long-term investments and will require sustained funding and growth to develop over time. Already many of the new IITs have begun to make their mark. An IIT takes more than three decades to mature. If all of us can put in our act together in a dedicated manner and the government, industry and others provide adequate hand-holding support, I am confident that these investments will convert to new jewels on our crown.


Careers360: What can India do to make a mark in higher education globally?

Prof. Chakrabarti: To achieve world ranking, an institution must contribute to world-class research, have international students and faculty and develop infrastructure that enables scholarship and innovation. For India, Project Vishwajeet has been planned by the IITs and the world-class universities project by UGC to achieve this purpose.  


Careers360: Do you think that not many students take up research as a career?  

Prof. Chakrabarti: Traditionally, research used to be viewed as a compartmentalised section of academics primarily being attributed to PhD programme. However, over the decades the concept has evolved. Through project-based learning, research thesis has become part of academic curricula even for undergraduate students. Research is integrated with innovation and product design. Innovation centres have been set up to promote innovation in ideas and product development at an early stage of learning. Many students opt for research internship. Many opt to pursue it further and even launch start-ups with commercial products. Intake of research scholars has almost doubled in the past few years. Research is therefore, a holistic programme which has been incorporated in academics as well as a career in entrepreneurship.


Careers360: Could you outline a few unique feature of your institution?

Prof. Chakrabarti: We have designed programmes focusing on integration of science with heritage of India, food issues in India, urbanization of India, low-cost healthcare solutions typically suitable for countries like India. The following mega projects have been instrumental in drawing the best of research talents from India and abroad:

  • Future of Cities focuses on technology for the development and maintenance of our cities and future cities.

  • Signals and Systems for Life Sciences focuses on technology for leveraging biometric signal processing for analysis, prognostics, diagnostics and affordable healthcare.

  • Sustainable Food Security project seeks to leverage technology for food production, processing and distribution.

  • SandHI (Science and Heritage Interface), initiative uses technology for preservation, archival, development and exploration of our heritage.

We have also identified six thematic areas which encompass research in the world and pave the way for future developments.


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