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IIT-Madras to hire foreign faculty, increase industry-funded research

IANS  |  Chennai 

Attracting foreign nationals as faculty members, increasing the industry-institute research partnerships and donations from Indians and alumni, nurturing entrepreneurial skills among its students and drawing top corporates to its campus for job placements are some of the goals the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras (IIT-M) is pursuing, said a top official.

The institute has got a sanction of Rs 750 crore as its budget for the next fiscal from the central government and first tranche is expected to soon, officials said.

"IIT-M plans to have around 100 foreign nationals as its faculty over the next three years. To start with, the institute plans to hire around 25 foreign nationals as faculty members," Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Governing Board of IIT-M and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., told reporters here on Wednesday.

Queried about the value addition that foreign faculty members are expected to bring in, IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said: "They would bring in diverse ideas. Not all nationalities think alike."

The institute is also studying the enabling factors that attract faculty to it and the disenabling factors that make the faculty reject the institute.

Agreeing that there is much scope to increase the industry-funded research projects at IIT-M, Goenka said: "Nearly 75 per cent of funds for research projects is from government and the balance by the industry. This ratio has to be reversed."

Goenka said the central government's Make-in-India programme will be an empty slogan if there is no research and development (R&D) in India.

He said for most Indian companies, licensing an existing technology is easier than developing one.

He said M&M has invested around Rs 500 crore on the development of an efficient electric vehicle and that is the big bet the company is taking.

According to Goenka, the gap between the institute's basic research and the industry's focus on applied research has to be bridged so that there is an active industry-institute interaction.

Ramamurthi said the pace of industry-funded research projects at IIT-M is increasing but slowly.

According to Ramamurthi, a lot of patents owned by IIT-M are licensed to start-ups.

Both the officials agreed that the revenue from transfer of technology for IIT-M has to increase.

The number of companies incubated by IIT-M s 112, Goenka said.

Queried about Indian businessmen donating huge sums to foreign universities, Ramamurthi said the IITs are changing now to accept donations from industrialists.

"Donations to foreign universities are of two kinds. One, where the donor expects a facility to be named as per his wish. The other kind of donation is to prestigious institutes out which many new products emerge. The donor company/individual would benefit out of the brand equity that the product/technology that emerges out of that facility," Ramamurthi said.

According to Ramamurthi, the alumni donation corpus is around Rs 200 crore and the target is to increase it to Rs 500 crore.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 15 2017. 17:50 IST