‘The aim is to get IIT-Delhi in the world Top 100’

Garima Singh New Delhi | Updated on November 24, 2018 Published on November 23, 2018

V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi   -  Kamal Narang

Armed with the ‘Institute of Eminence’ tag, which it received about five months ago, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi is on a new mission. To overcome its shortcomings such as lack of foreign faculty and foreign students, the management is now planning to focus on its weak areas in a bid to be among the top 100 institutes globally.

IIT-Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao, in an interview with BusinessLine, shares the institute’s plans to improve its global ranking and also talks about the IIT’s ‘socially relevant’ research work. Excerpts:

What has changed for IIT-Delhi after it was awarded the status of ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE)? What is now going to be the focus area for the institute?

We are in the process of analysing our rankings. Right now it holds the 172th position in the QS World Ranking, but the aim is to get into the top 100 in the next three years.

The focus of the institute is to figure out what are the factors that are holding it back.

In QS Ranking, the institute scored zero on three parameters: foreign faculty, foreign students and faculty-student ratio.

So, there is a need to work on these parameters to improve the rankings.

The IoE branding will help us in it. Keeping this in mind, in a few months, IIT-D will announce 500 Ph.D. fellowships for foreign students.

In the fourth parameter, which is perception, the institute scores 45 out of 100. In research impact, which is the fifth parameter, IIT-D is ranked 39th in the world.

Could you spell out what kind of research the institute is doing and with what objective?

The institute is faring well in research globally, but it is lagging in research relevant to society at large.

Generally, a student takes up a project, publishes a paper which eventually gets cited.

So, when one counts those numbers, it looks good but what is missing is the society connect.

For example, solving the problem of air pollution in Delhi also requires research in order to find an affordable solution.

Keeping this in mind, the institute has now started asking faculty and students to focus on real-world problems in India and come up with affordable solutions.

The institute, in 2018, funded projects worth ₹35 crore to solve the many challenges the country is facing.

To bring in foreign students, what are the countries that you are targeting?

The institute is targeting students from the Asean and Saarc countries. Soon, the institute is also going to sign an MoU with a university in Nepal. We can’t expect students from the US and Western Europe to come to IIT-Delhi for education for some more time.

We are also looking to hire foreign faculty, but do not plan to lower the standards just to get foreign faculty.

There are a number of students from IIT-Delhi who are launching start-ups. However, the number of women entrepreneurs is minuscule. Is the institute trying to rectify the situation?

The institute realised this problem. According to some studies, amongst people starting their own enterprises, less than 8 per cent are women.

So now, IIT-D has come up with a Women Entrepreneurship and Empowerment (WEE) programme. It happens once in six months.

Under the programme women are asked to pitch their ideas to a panel and on the basis of it, 30 women are selected and mentored for six months.

The institute also helps them in launching their enterprise.

Published on November 23, 2018
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