Excelling in research oriented education and acquiring sponsored research projects are two critical pillars of a higher educational institution with focus on research excellence in addition to best of laboratories and equipment. IIT Kharagpur is on a mission mode towards achieving this goal. With about 20% increase in doctoral degree recipients this year, from last year denotes extensive growth in research oriented education which the Institute has been focusing in recent years. 298 research scholars will be awarded Ph.D. this year and another 28 will be awarded MS Research degree. The Institute has made a significant improvement in intake of research scholars as well.
The intake of research scholars has proven critical with the Institute focusing on improved research activities with national impact and innovative product development. The Institute has been awarded several national-level high-value R&D projects. IIT Kharagpur is setting up a Design and Innovation Centre having special focus on Rural Technologies with an outlay of Rs. 10 Crore in 3 years from MHRD. For this unique venture, IIT Kharagpur will be the Hub with four Spokes, namely IIEST Shibpur, NIT Rourkela, NIT Jamshedpur, and NIT Patna. To carry out impactful research and innovation that will address the societal needs and achieve national prosperity, IIT Kharagpur is coordinating the Healthcare and Information and Communication Technology areas under the recently launched IMPRINT program. The Institute is going to host 13 new projects under the Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana of the Government of India with about Rs. 66 crore funding. Another important leadership role for IIT Kharagpur has been the nationwide coordination of the PAN-IIT collaborations with ONGC for which Rs. 25 crore has been approved in the first round for seven IITs. This institute alone has received funding to the tune of Rs. 9.50 Crore for 5 new projects.
The Institute conducts more than Rs. 100 crore in 200+ sponsored research projects only and another 153 consultancy projects worth INR 22.68 crore. The Institute has also announced a second instalment of Institute Challenge Grants for which 7 projects have been approved. These will help the institute in developing infrastructure in key areas of Microbiology, Materials Testing, Healthcare, Spintronics, Geophysical studies, and Nano patterned solar cells. These require huge number of research staff. 2550 scholars are currently doing research under various doctoral programmes at the Institute which is 15% more than last year. This is added with 126 students enrolled under MS Research programme and another 25 Post doctoral fellows.
The outcome of this research focus is very much evident with IIT Kharagpur being ranked by DST among the top three Science & Technology Research Institutions in India and several IIT Kharagpur faculty members are cited as top researchers in various fields of research. The Institute’s commitment to research and innovation was recognized by the Indian Patent Office and the Confederation of Indian Industries, on the last World Intellectual Property Day when IIT Kharagpur received the National Intellectual Property award under the category of ‘Top Academic Institute for Patents 2016’.
The outreach on research excellence is a holistic one starting from academic collaborations with foreign universities and reputed Indian institutions for joint PhD programmes. The Senate has also approved introduction of an Integrated M. Sc.--Ph.D. Programme on Chemical and Molecular Biology to be offered by IIT Kharagpur jointly with the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata. Joint Ph.D. programmes have also been launched with Curtin and Melbourne universities.
Emphasis on research focus is being given at undergraduate level itself. In order to enhance the employability and research capabilities of the students, our Institute has introduced the concept of micro-specialization for undergraduate students since 2014-15 academic session. Till the end of 2015-16, 16 micro-specializations from across diverse disciplines have been offered to our students. In its continued endeavor to make course curricula flexible, IIT Kharagpur has introduced several micro-credit courses. In addition, long duration courses will also be introduced. Faculty from IIT Kharagpur including Visiting Faculty, who are available throughout the semester, will be conducting these courses. The courses will be taught at PhD or M S level. Project-based learning has also been made part of academic curricula. Last year the Institute already launched an innovation centre for the students to explore innovation oriented research activities. 6 new floors at the J. C. Ghosh Science Block and P. C Ray Laboratory Block have been constructed to add more space for research laboratories for undergraduate students.