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Friday, March 17, 2017
‘Finding faculty for IITs a challenge’

Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology–Madras is looking to enhance industry-academia interaction in research and development and improve the faculty strength in the coming years, said Pawan Goenka, Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIT Madras.

In an interaction with the press after being reappointed as chairman for a second term, Mr. Goenka, also managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra, said the institute was on track as envisaged in its Strategic Plan for 2020.

But there were some challenges, such as improving the academia-industry interaction in research and the faculty-student ratio.

At present, funding for research came predominantly from the government departments. Mr. Goenka said the trend needed to be reversed for the institutes to compete with international institutions.

“The biggest challenge we are facing is how to recruit faculty. The IITs have not lowered the bar for faculty. IIT-Madras is doing a study to understand what the enabling factors and disabling factors are for faculty members for joining. We are doing the same thing for students too. We are looking to see why only 10 of top 100 and not top 20 students choose IIT-M. We are also looking at why some companies do not come to IIT-M for recruiting. We are trying to understand and correct them without compromising on what IITs stand for, which is quality of education and research,” Mr. Goenka said.

The institute is actively trying to recruit Indians abroad as foreign faculty members. The target is 25 faculty members per year. By the end of the three-year period the institute hopes to make it to at least 60 or 70 if not 100, he said.

Overseas competition

The reason for focusing on foreign faculty is to meet the competition from foreign universities that score over IITs because of their diversity in research group, said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, IIT-M director.

“Ideally, IIT-M would like to add 40, but we are able to add 35 faculty per year,” he said.

The institute was receiving sufficient funds for infrastructure development, but for industry-oriented research it is imperative that the funds came from industry, he added. This year the institute has been allocated Rs. 750 crore against Rs. 450 crore last year, the officials added.

Courtesy: The Hindu
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