Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) Director Devang Khakhar has been given an extension after his term came to an end. He was first appointed as the director of the institute in January 2009.
A committee comprising J J Irani, former managing director, Tata Steel; Rodham Narasimhan, former director of Indian Space Commission; M M Sharma, eminent chemical engineer; and Anil Kakodkar, nuclear scientist, gave its approval for the extension. Anil Kakodkar is also the chairman of the IIT-B Board of Governors.
“The committee found his performance as director outstanding and recommended his reappointment to the Ministry of Human Resource Development for the President's approval,” said Indu Saxena, registrar, IIT-B.
Khakhar’s first-term performance was assessed on several parameters such as building the institution as a global brand and research hub, introduction of new academic programmes, faculty retention and development, academic, administrative and financial reforms, and revenue generation, among others.
The institute said during Khakhar's tenure, IIT-B emerged as the preferred destination for JEE toppers (67 of top 100 rankers in JEE 2013 have joined IIT-B), the faculty strength increased from 446 to 575 and several new initiatives were taken by the institute such as setting up of new centres, including the National Centre for Aerospace Innovations and Research, Centre for Climate Change Research, and the Centre for Urban Science and Engineering.
The student strength grew from 5,800 to 8,800 and there was significant enhancement in infrastructure. Several projects were undertaken to make the campus more green and energy-efficient, including the 1 Mw rooftop solar PV system, solar thermal water heaters and biogas from food waste plant for the hostels were installed.
A BTech graduate from IIT-Delhi and Ph D from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Khakhar joined the department of chemical engineering at IIT-B in 1987 and has been serving the institute under various capacities since then.
Khakhar’s research interests span several areas of chemical engineering. He has published over 100 papers. Khakhar is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the prime minister, the Scientific Advisory Council to the Cabinet, the Science and Engineering Research Board, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the Central Advisory Board for Education.