IIT Madras launches programme to motivate UG students to take up research

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 20, 2020

Inspired by Super-UROP at MIT, programme is funded and co-developed by alumni batch of 1979

Indian Institute of Technology Madras has launched IITM Young Research Fellow, a year-long programme to motivate undergraduate students to pursue a career path in research and application of deeper learning.

This programme has been funded and co-developed by the alumni batch of 1979, or 79ers as the batch calls itself, after their Ruby reunion (40 years). It has been inspired by the Advanced Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, better known as Super-UROP, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The IITM Young Research Fellow (YRF) programme will be open to third year undergraduate and dual degree students. It provides one-on-one interaction with IIT faculty members to participate in cutting-edge research. The students will also benefit through a career and life coaching programme concurrently being delivered by the 1979 alumni. The students selected for the programme will get a monthly honorarium.

According to IITM, this will be a year-long programme and up to 20 fellowships are being planned to be awarded in the first year.

Subrahmanyam Dravida, from the Class of 1979 and who is Vice-President – Technology, Qualcomm, based in Boston, told BusinessLine over telephone that there was a compulsory research component as part of their course when he was a student at IITM. The programme by his batch was to bring back the focus on research and deeper technology learning at the undergraduate level at his alma mater.

Dravida, who has been mentoring high school and college kids for a long time, said that when these kids were involved in a project end-to-end, it stayed with them and they also learnt what it took to butt their heads against a difficult problem and solve it. He was confident that the IITM YRF will be a transformative effort to bring the focus back on research and application of deeper learning on other career paths.

Preeti Aghalayam, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IITM, said the YRF would fill a gap in the undergraduate programme by bringing in a research component. Students were eligible for project-based credit score to their overall course marking. She hoped that female students would apply for the YRF in large numbers and avail of this opportunity.

Published on July 20, 2020

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