Within a few months of assuming the office of IIT Kanpur Director, Prof. Abhay Karandikar has big plans for the institute. He plans to focus on quality research and aggressive faculty recruitment drive. Speaking to Careers360 shares his vision for the institute and new areas of research and collaboration with leading international universities the institute plans to explore...
Q. Having taken up the responsibility of IIT Kanpur a couple of months ago, what are your plans for the institution?
A. Our focus is on growth, growth in terms of faculty numbers, infrastructure, number of PhD students. We have to increase both, quantity and quality of research. Increasing the quality of an academic institution depends upon good quality of faculty supported by post doctoral scholars and PhD scholars to support the faculty.
The next emphasis will be on innovation, incubation and commercialisation of technology, creating a robust science and technology park.
The third thing would be to engage with the alumni to take their help in accelerating the growth of the institute. We will also be focusing on doing research which will have societal and national impact.
Q. The MHRD appointed an expert committee which recommended several institutions for the IoE status. IIT Kanpur is not in the list, what is your take on it?
A. We will continue to do our good work. We will continue to do good quality research, exploit good things about IIT Kanpur. I think the ideal goal should be that every institution in the country should achieve excellence, at least the ones that have the potential should become ideal. There is no doubt that IISc and IIT Bombay are doing quite well, but IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur also have huge potential. I feel all the older IITs have huge potential.
Q. A few months back a data presented by the MHRD stated that IITs earned revenue through patents, consultancy and other methods. The report also mentioned that revenue generated by IIT Kanpur is in the tune of Rs. 17 Cr, which is lowest among the older IITs. Do you think the location of IIT Kanpur makes it lag behind other IITs?
A. There is a lot of scope for commercialisation of technology, it is true that our institute does not get enough visibility as compared to the IITs located in metro cities. Now, we are working in this area and soon things would change. Perception changes slowly as its a slow process, but we will involve our alumni who are our biggest ambassadors.
Q. A common critical problem faced by the all the IITs is faculty shortage. What steps do you plan to take to tackle it?
A. Now, we are aggressively working towards tacking the issue. We intend to do aggressive faculty hiring. A foreseeable challenge is for institutions located in the remote and non-metro areas, but we are working to attract good people. We are also working to hire international faculty, adjunct faculty, visiting faculty and therefore, we exploring all the possible avenues.
Q. Which all new areas of research you are planning to explore?
A. We are focusing on Bio-Engineering and BioSciences, Aerospace, Computer Science, Chemical Engineering as well as many other emerging areas. We have also taken up projects like National Blockchain. Cybersecurity is another such upcoming area. We are also going to be involved in projects on vertical take-off and landing. Now, with the help of the state government, we are going to work in the area of sustainable development especially the solid waste management, air pollution, water pollution, etc. We are expecting technological interventions soon.
Q. Kindly tell us about areas of collaborations IIT Kanpur is looking for with leading foreign institutions?
A. We already have collaborations with more than 30 international universities. We have a very strong collaboration with New York University and we are planning to collaborate and work in the area of 5G communication as well as starting a joint PhD programme.
Q. Two years ago, the Government of India launched the IMPRINT Scheme in which IIT Kanpur was the leading institute for its implementation, how far that programme has reached?
A. The IMPRINT 1 was quite successful and now we have IMPRINT 2. As far as IIT Kanpur is concerned, we have done very successful projects in the first phase and are working on several projects now as well. The idea was to adopt engineering and technology as the vehicle to address the societal needs and achieve national prosperity, all the participating institutes have done tremendous work.