IIT-Delhi to award the highest number of PhDs in one year
A total of 1880 students will collect their undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees. (Representative image)

NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, will award the highest number of PhDs in one year (221) on Saturday at its 46th convocation. A total of 1880 students will collect their undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD degrees. Reserve Bank chief, Raghuram Rajan will be the chief guest.

The number of students receiving PhD degrees is significantly larger than last year’s 178. This is consistent with the IIT-D’s stated objective of shifting focus away from producing graduates to producing good research. They hope to increase the number to 400 in the long term because, as acting director Kshitij Gupta observes, “that is the way we can provide man power to the large number of institutions coming up including the new IITs, NITs and others.” “Practically all have extreme shortage of teaching faculty and the major chunk of PhDs are from the IITs and Indian Institute of Science.”The number of undergraduate degrees being awarded has also been increasing — it’s gone up from 714 in 2014 to 770 this year. And the number of post-graduate degrees that’ll be awarded is 889.

The institute has also restructured its post-graduate curriculum after a decade – included a variety of elective courses and as dean, academics, Anurag Sharma explains, “redefined the credit to the post-graduates and included a component of self-learning.” As a part of the second reform, students will have to pick one segment of “defined syllabus” on which they’ll be tested but without any delivery.

The IIT-D’s master-plan has just been approved; they have the go-ahead for a number of infrastructure additions such as new hostels, a stadium, two major academic blocks and a science park on campus to promote startups. The pace of construction is, of course, contingent on the availability of funds. The estimated cost of the three science parks planned at its campuses at Hauz Khas, Sonepat and Jhajjar put together is about 400 crore. IIT hopes to get HRD funds for about 50% of it and will attempt to raise the rest through its own research, innovation and technology transfer branches. Currently, IIT-D has ‘units’ for about a dozen start-ups to “incubate” in but the park should provide for about a 100 more, explains Dean R&D, Suneet Tuli. Though they have a partner in Defence Research and Development Organisation, the administration hopes to have private firms set up research and development units at the park too. A new lecture hall complex is already in place.

The IIT at Jammu is being “mentored” by IIT-D and will start admitting students from July 2016. The research facility that IIT-D was developing in collaboration with Mauritius – IIT-Research Academy – is now in limbo. Once at the centre of much controversy, “at the moment there is practically no activity there,” says Gupta. However, IIT-D took on 164 “sponsored research projects” in 2014-15 with a total value of Rs.153.77 crore – over twice that of 2013-14’s Rs.68.65 crore.

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