“We will encourage the incubation of new science and technology companies”

The Indian Institute of Science and Technology (IISc) has just topped the newly ranked QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) list of World Universities in 2023, rising to 155th overall. , The institute showed improvements in employers ’reputation, teaching ability and more.

But IISc is a far cry from being ranked among the top 50, a goal set when it was chosen as the Eminence Institute with additional funding and autonomy. in an interview DH’s Rasheed Kappandirector of the institute Professor Govindan Rangarajan He talks about launching an interdisciplinary B Tech in Mathematics and Computer Science, a first-degree postgraduate engineering program in IISc history; Research on tangible state policy, diversification in medicine and more.

The IISc has been the “Institute of Eminence” for the development of its main strengths for additional funding and greater autonomy and for inclusion in the top 50 in the world. But this is still a long way off.

The support provided by the Ministry of Education through the Eminence Institute program has been invaluable in helping us achieve some of our ambitious goals. It has allowed us to expand our educational offering to include many new interdisciplinary doctoral and master’s programs, to improve laboratory infrastructure and student equipment, and to launch cutting-edge research in a variety of critical and futuristic areas.

In the coming years, we will focus on building the core strengths of our research across all frontiers of science, engineering, and medicine, developing global teaching programs, nurturing translational research, and fostering the incubation of deep science and technology companies.

We will also continue to engage in activities that have a direct social impact, such as training school teachers, deploying sustainable rural technologies, and researching areas such as climate change, health, water management, and renewable energy. At the same time, we will focus on the acquisition of modern professional practices and our reference to the international standard.

In addition, we are constantly striving to attract and retain highly qualified researchers, providing generous initial grants to young professors, establishing positions for young professors and researchers, promoting high-performing researchers, establishing rigorous mandated evaluations, and improving administration. support for teachers and students by increasing outreach and emphasizing inclusiveness in recruitment.

The institute has maintained the highest global level of faculty citations, a QS ranking parameter that assesses the strength and impact of research. How was funding achieved despite the low cost of the world’s leading Ivy League institutes?

Since its inception, research has been instrumental in the Institute’s tenure. IISc has always encouraged its faculty members to launch and conduct cutting-edge research on a par with national and international peers.

The institute is constantly striving to provide the support and infrastructure they need to excel, and gives full freedom to faculty members to pursue their research interests. IISc is particularly well known for its importance in interdisciplinary research, for researchers from all disciplines to work together and solve large-scale problems, an example being the recently launched Quantum Technologies Initiative.

In general, Indian institutions do not do well in translating good research into tangible actions, and remain in thesis papers. What can be done to change that?

At the institute, teachers are encouraged to conduct basic research, as well as applied and translational research with social impact. We have a number of mechanisms and administrative structures in place to assist faculty members in establishing startups, collaborating with industry partners in technology development, and commercializing their inventions for the benefit of society.

To what extent does the IISc influence in-depth research on mobility, ecology, and other areas in State and Central Government policy decisions?

The institute has several departments and centers to provide key insights into policy decisions that work directly with government agencies. For example, scientists at the Divecha Center for Climate Change have been involved with policy makers and helped shape climate change-related policies at the national level.

The Center for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transport and Urban Development has also worked with citizen authorities on the planning, operation, design, management and policy of Indian transport systems. Many other departments and centers are also involved in work that affects policy decisions at the regional and national levels.

IISc has proposed the creation of a postgraduate medical school and an 832-bed non-profit hospital. Why is the institute diversifying its main focus?

IISc has a heritage of excellence in science and engineering. In view of the ongoing pandemic, we have realized that we should also pay close attention to clinical research for social welfare, especially for the ‘next 6 billion’ people in India and other developing regions. Leading-edge clinical research requires a combination of science, engineering, and medicine.

Adding a medical school will take advantage of our core strengths and lead to profound discoveries, inventions and innovations based on science and technology at affordable healthcare for all. With this goal in mind, we plan to establish a single postgraduate medical school and a 832-bed non-profit hospital called Bagchi-Parthasarathy Hospital on our Bengaluru campus.

Undergraduate students in Basic Science have low job potential nationwide. How can the IISc take the lead in democratizing basic science opportunities by fostering market readiness for science graduates?

Many young men and women enter the higher education system of India through undergraduate institutes and universities. The quality of education they receive at the undergraduate level has a profound effect on their professional intentions. It was in this context that the Institute launched a special four-year undergraduate (Research) program a few years ago. The novelty of this program lies in its interdisciplinary and research-oriented approach, its strong engineering flavor and its exposure to the humanities and social sciences disciplines.

This August we will also be launching an interdisciplinary B Tech program in Mathematics and Computer Science. This will be the first undergraduate engineering program in IISc history.

In recent decades, there has been tremendous growth in mathematics related to information generation, storage, distribution, and use, and mathematics has become the core of disciplines such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, data science, and quantum computing.

The vision of the BTech program is to create leaders who will be at the forefront of research, development and innovation in these futuristic disciplines and technologies that require deep use of mathematics, computer science and data science.

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