Saturday, August 07, 2010

IIT-Bombay becoming an assembly line of Ph.D.s?

Even as India grapples with how to increase the number of researchers, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) recorded a slight drop in the number of Ph.D.s this year. The Powai-located institute had contributed the highest number of 200 Ph.D.s to India last year. This time the number was 179. Like previous years, this year too most of the Ph.D. holders were from the chemical engineering department. The positive sign is that the Powai institute is working towards developing into a top technical university driven by research. Once this is achieved, the Ph.D. numbers are likely to increase in the coming years. IIT-B director Devang Khakhar said the institute had seen more-than-100 % increase in the number of Ph.D.s on its rolls in the last eight years from 771 to 1,681 this year. And the number of those graduating annually has risen from 73 in 2001 to 179 in 2010 awarded at IIT-B's 48th convocation ceremony on Friday.

An interesting aspect of our Ph.D. output observed in the recent years is that around 65% of them are in the engineering disciplines, said Khakhar. This year, the convocation is spread over two days when 1,691 degrees will be awarded. Of these 196 are five-year B.Tech.-M.Tech. dual degrees, 706 M.Tech., 83 masters in management, 45 masters in design and 508 B.Tech. degrees. While the Ph.D.s were awarded on Friday, the graduates will get them on Sunday.

We can soon expect a substantial increase in the number of Ph.D.s graduating from convocations like these, said Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of IITB's board of governors. This needs to be backed by comprehensive development of the R&D infrastructure. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, head of Biocon, who was chief guest for the convocation, urged IITians to be job creators and not job seekers. India needs capable young men and women like you to take a responsible stance for inclusive growth of the nation. Look at what we have done with the Commonwealth Games. We need to hang our heads in shame. Instead of showcasing our talent and technological prowess, there has been complete chaos and failure of trying to deliver a world class product.

Presenting the institutes plans, Khakhar said a national centre for aerospace innovation and research, along with the Department of Science and Technology and Boeing, is in the wings.

Source: The Times of India, August 7, 2010

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