IIT Kharagpur and University of Manchester Rolls out its first batch of Dual Doctoral Students

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IIT Kharagpur and University of Manchester is proud to roll-out its first batch of Dual Ph.D students for autumn 2021. The news of this prestigious association was first announced in April, 2021 highlighting the unique character of the Programme. All facets of the programme including selection, admission, supervision and evaluation has been jointly administered with perfect synchronicity by competent authorities on both sides.

Owing to the pandemic disruptions in 2020-21 and because of the programme protocol that required selected students to spend their first year at IITKGP, in its first year the programme was open to only Indian students satisfying the eligibility criteria. The partners are optimistic that in the following years when travel restrictions are lifted and normalcy is restored world-wide, the programme will be made available to international applicants as well.

For IITKGP-UMan Dual Doctoral Programme, jointly supervised projects were chosen from across a number of thematic areas including computational chemistry, healthcare and medical technologies, environmental geochemistry, biomaterials and Industry 4.0.

The selection process involved a rigorous multiple level review and evaluation by the Joint Programme Board comprising of the Deans and Associate Deans of both the institutions. All 50 applicants had commendable credentials and it was a difficult task for the selection committee to select the five final awardees based on the understanding of their projects, a short verbal presentation on their proposed research and plans, and a concluding Question & Answer session.

Prof. G.P. Rajasekhar, Dean Faculty of Science and a member of the selection committee feels, Selecting the 5 awardees was the most difficult decision we had to make because all of them were outstanding. The rigor of the selection process indeed made this a very prestigious programme for students across the country.”

Mr. Aniruddha Das and Mr. Sumanta Laha who have completed their Masters from IITKGP, will be associated with the Departments of Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering respectively. While Mr. Das will be working on, ‘Transition Metal Mediated Difunctionalization of Arynesunder the joint supervision of Dr. Ganesh Venkataraman at IITKGP and Prof. Michael Greaney from Manchester; Mr Laha will be working on Hydrodynamics of Prosthetic Mechanical Heart Valves to investigate the hydrodynamics of a mechanical heart valve in an effort to develop an ideal design of the valve to enhance the life expectancy and improve the quality of the patient’s life style.

Sumanta believes, “I am not only happy but also lucky to receive such a prestigious scholarship from IIT Kharagpur and University of Manchester. Though the selection processes was rigorous, it was quite interesting. With this scholarship, it has become my responsibility to complete the project and contribute to the area of cardiovascular research which may help the doctors save lives around the globe.

Mr. Shubhra K. Nandi another final awardee, who has completed his Masters from IIT Ropar, will be working on a project titled, Development of novel metal/ceramic composites via laser-assisted additive manufacturing processing for advanced surface engineering applications’ at the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department of IITKGP. He will be supervised by Dr-Ing. Siddhartha Roy (IITKGP) and Prof. Philip Withers (UMan) as Principal Investigators, and Prof. Indranil Manna (IITKGP) and Prof. Allan Matthews (UMan) as Co-Principal Investigators. Nandi expresses an “ardent desire to contribute to the field of additive manufacturing and advanced materials” and feels that the project is very much aligned with his interests.

Ms. Juhi Srivastava from IIT Jodhpur and Ms. Anjali Srivastava from IIT Guwahati were among the other awardees of this prestigious scholarship. Ms. Srivastava, who would also be affiliated to the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department of IITKGP, will be working on, ‘Microstructural effects on environmentally assisted cracking in model 7xxx alloys.’ Juhi opined, I really appreciate the assistance and financial aid and cannot express my gratitude enough. With this scholarship, I am able to set higher goals for myself and push myself harder.”

Ms. Anjali Jayakumar will be conducting her project work at the School of Nano Science and Technology IIT Kharagpur, followed by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, at University of Manchester. She will be working on the ‘Synthesis of graphene and graphene-based composites using agriculture waste for desalination’. Through her research, Anjali will attempt to tackle the global water scarcity phenomenon by employing advanced materials such as graphene to desalinate seawater and counter the rising demand of pure drinking water. Anjali feels delighted as she will be getting a unique opportunity to work with two different research teams of two different world class institutions during her doctoral research. Anjali feels, “I have always wanted to pursue my doctoral research on a topic with a great societal impact. I am excited as my project strives to tackle the world water crisis, one of the grandest challenges of recent times.”

The five awardees will spend their first and third year of study at IITKGP punctuated by year 2 at Manchester and year 4 at Manchester again. Upon successfully defending the thesis as per regulations at both the institutions, the Doctoral Degree will be jointly awarded by both the Institutions.

Dr. David Polya, Associate Dean for Internationalization, who has been the chief architect of this Joint Programme from University of Manchester strongly feels that, “The JDP between IIT Kharagpur and University of Manchester represents a mutually beneficial partnership for two institutions that are drawn together both by strong similarities and also highly complementary differences. Both institutions are driven by an ambition to achieve not only research excellence but also for their research and teaching to have a positive practical impact on the world. Both institutions take an immense pride in their graduates and have influential alumni networks spanning the globe.  And, of course, there are also differences – not just in the countries in which they are based, but also the way in which things are done. What has been very heart-warming about this JDP is the goodwill that has existed between those involved in sharing the design and implementation of the JDP – we have a lot to learn from each other and the widespread goodwill and flexibility has created conditions where we can readily swap best practice. Most importantly, as our first cohort of JDP PhD research students are recruited, we are confident that the JDP will soon be producing highly trained doctoral graduates of which both institutions will be immensely proud.”

On the other side of the aisle, Dr. Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Associate Dean, International Relations & Ranking, who was instrumental is driving this partnership and formulating the selection process at IITKGP is delighted with the launch of this programme. We at IIT Kharagpur are delighted to launch this prestigious and unique programme with one of the top ranked universities in the world. I am deeply indebted to my predecessor, Prof. Baidurya Bhattacharya who played a key role in the formative stages of this partnership. To be considered by Univ. of Manchester as an equal partner, is a matter of great pride for us and goes to show the high esteem that our students and faculty are held worldwide.”  

As an integral aspect of IITKGP’s concerted effort towards internationalization strategy, the start of this esteemed programme marks IITKGP’s entry into the United Kingdom after running successful initiatives with its preferred partners in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Both IITKGP and University of Manchester are optimistic that the start of the Dual Doctoral Programme will usher further opportunities of academic and research collaboration between the partners in areas of mutual interest and will go a long way in solving shared problems of an increasingly complex world.

Content Writer:- Koushiki Mukherjee, Office of International Relations.

Contact: Paramita Dey, Junior Assistant

By Poulami Mondal

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