Feathers in the Cap

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IIT Kharagpur has emerged among the country’s best and as the only IIT to qualify and excel in four disciplines – Architecture (1st), Engineering (4th), Law (4th) and Management (6th), taking on specialized schools in their domains.

Speaking about the feat of excelling in non-engineering categories, Director Prof. P P Chakrabarti emphasised on the uniqueness of each of these specialized disciplines within the IIT system.

“While there are specialized institutions in these subject areas, being part of IIT Kharagpur has catapulted the growth of these disciplines in a matter of a few decades due to the convergence culture of IIT Kharagpur typically focusing on research, multidisciplinary academics and overall career development of students enabling a unique symbiotic approach to excellence.”

IIT Kharagpur is leading in ‘Research and Professional Practice’ and ‘Graduate Outcome’ in the categories of Architecture, Law and Management while holding a competitive rank in Engineering.

“Our research publications and citations are extremely high domestically as evident from Scopus and SCI. However, there is a need for transforming research into industrial and consumer applications. In recent times we have undertaken several initiatives in the forms of Centres of Excellence which are focused towards technology development for industry and giving a thrust to the startup culture,” he said.

The Institute has launched centres of excellence and undertaken projects of national importance in six thrust areas which include Advanced Manufacturing, Intelligent and Smart Transportation, Affordable Healthcare, Digital Convergence, Innovative Infrastructure and Geoscience for Future of Earth with support from the government and industry. The research collaboration and impact thereof can be witnessed across various engineering and other disciplines such as management, law, social sciences, architecture etc.

Also, the multidisciplinary approach has led to specialized thrust areas in academics which is flexible and unique. The course design and curricula of the programs above deliver the country’s crème graduates leading to the best-in-class graduate outcomes.

“Focus on the integrated and growth-oriented strategy adopted by IIT Kharagpur has enabled us to sustain our top position while keeping the societal and industrial needs in mind in launching new courses and also massively using our alumni resources,” says Dean, Planning & Coordination Prof. M K Tiwari.

The Department of Architecture and Regional Planning clearly exhibits this trait with its key area of regional planning addressing the diverse regional planning needs of a country like India which are more in the lines of a subcontinent with intermittent regions within her cities, townships and villages, opines Prof. Joy Sen, Head of the department, who himself is a well-known Regional Planner.

“We focus on regional sciences, regional econometrics and regional programming which enable us to develop inclusive and innovative regional planning models,” remarks Prof. Joy Sen.

Similar is the case with the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law at IIT Kharagpur which has carved its excellence in the domain of Intellectual Property law while successfully running LLB with specialization in IP, LLM and Doctoral programs.

“I do see a lot of interest in students to take up courses like AI and Law, Energy Law, IP Management, IP and Competition Law, Law of the Sea, Information Technology Law to name a few,” says Prof. Padmavati Manchikanti, Dean of the School. “In fact, some of the thrust areas of the School, AI and Law, Biodiversity Law, Energy Law, Energy Policy and Governance, are unique in the country,” she adds.

Prof. Prabina Rajib, Dean of Vinod Gupta School of Management which has been ranked 6th following the top 5 IIMs, emphasized at the interdisciplinary elective courses in engineering, science and mathematics offered by other departments, centres and schools at IIT Kharagpur. This sharpens their interdisciplinary knowledge and capability as efficient managers.

“Our students are mostly from engineering background and their career path follows a direction more oriented towards technology management. Keeping in line with the industry needs, we have introduced many new electives in Business Analytics area and also offer electives in emerging topics like Artificial Intelligence and Business Law, Internet of Things Cyber Security, Intellectual Property Rights ,” says Prof. Prabina.

The teaching, learning and resources parameter has been affected in this year’s NIRF rank as well, acknowledges the Director. However, he indicated this has more to do with the high number of students at IIT Kharagpur which has the largest number of academic disciplines with 19 departments, 12 schools and 17 centres of excellence.

“We are further working on recruiting more faculty which will also accelerate up our research initiatives. In the past three years, more than a hundred faculty members have been inducted in the system,” he added.

By Shreyoshi Ghosh

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