Wednesday, May 13, 2009

IIT-H


Check out the website of IIT-Hyderabad.

The Future Directions section, for example. It has a table with projections about where the institute is going to be at different points of time in the future. By 2108 -- i.e., about a hundred years from now -- IIT-H will have 1000 faculty and 10,000 students!

Anyway, this post is not about such dreams. It's about two other things that IIT-H will do in the immediate future. The first is that it's starting its masters and doctoral programs! In nine areas, including humanities, physics and chemistry. What's more, even materials science and engineering is included in this list!

This is really interesting because there's absolutely no information very little information in the IIT-H website about its faculty [update: IIT-H website has the names of chairmen of two departments; there's still no info on its faculty. See the comments section, below.] that can give us a clue about the kinds of areas PhD students can hope to enter at IIT-H.

It's not clear why this IIT is in such a hurry to start these programs. [Update: In fact, it has already started the doctoral program! In his comment, Giridhar provides the link to the page with a list of students admitted into the program in the January-May semester] While it could take the help of its mentor, IIT-M, for its undergraduate program, it's not clear how it'll manage the masters and doctoral programs which demand a critical mass of resident faculty. Does it make sense to start the doctoral programs even before the faculty have been recruited in sufficient numbers? [Does anyone know how many faculty have been recruited by IIT-H? Is this info available online?]

Frankly, this doesn't look good at all.

BTW, I checked the websites of the other IITs: IIT-Patna, IIT-Bhubaneswar, IIT-Gandhinagar, IIT-Punjab and IIT-Rajasthan (the first two have their own identities -- IIT-P and IIT-BBS -- and their own domains; the other websites are hosted within the domains that belong to the mentor IITs). None of them is talking about starting programs at the masters and doctoral level. [Also, among these IITs, IIT-Patna is the only one that has a page listing its faculty members, their background and research interests.]

Coming back to IIT-H, here's the second thing I noticed, and this is very, very, encouraging. It's about faculty recruitment, and I was very happy to see this:

Research Initiation Grant
In the initial 5 years of the Institute, newly recruited faculty members may submit a technically sound research proposal for internal funding. The research initiation grant for a newly recruited faculty member will be up to Rs.1 Crore for a faculty member at entry level, and up to Rs.2 Crores for a faculty member at senior level. It is proposed to maintain the initiation grants at these levels in the subsequent years also.

Read that last sentence again to see why it makes me glad.

8 Comments:

  1. Pratik Ray said...

    Nice. Overall, the future looks positive :)

    On a purely personal note, feels good to see at least one of the new IITs clearly stating their intention to start a materials engineering program.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Frankly speaking, I think they are out to spoil the lives and careers of those early batches of doctoral students! (if any joins at all) starting PG programs without faculty, labs and equipments, wow!

    On another note, the materials engg. program seems to reflect the Japanese influence on IIT-H; wasn't it supposed to be a collaborative effort with Japan? does that agreement still stand?

    kumar

  3. Giri@iisc said...

    "doctoral students! (if any joins at all)"

    The list of Ph.D students admitted to IIT-H can be found here,

    http://www.iith.ac.in/index.php?p=PhD%20Program%20Begins%201

    If you are doing theoretical computations, why do you need a lab and equipment? A big server with several terminals are sufficient.

    Regarding the comment that the names of faculty are not listed, it is not correct. Please see
    http://www.iith.ac.in/index.php?p=Academic%20Departments

    and click under each department and then under faculty. It needs to be updated, of course.

  4. Abi said...

    @Giri: Come on! "It needs to be updated" should be the understatement of the year!

    All that the IIT-H's "Academic Departments" page has is the names of Chairmen in two -- yes, TWO -- departments. One of them -- CSE -- also has a "faculty" sub-page, but it lists faculty who are actually with IIT-M!

    Maybe IIT-H has hired a few faculty members. Maybe the students who applied for the doctoral program got this info through a brochure of some sort.

    I would much rather see this sort of info available online. It shouldn't be difficult for an organization that puts up the list of selected PhD students.

  5. Phani said...

    Apparently there was a feeling that the faculty who join IITH would need the research students to get going with research right away and thus the research scholars were taken in. But then the faculty haven't been recruited yet. So the research scholars are now with the faculty of IITM. One of them with a colleague of mine in our Department. Mentoring has a very wide scope indeed.

  6. Giri@iisc said...

    Phani: Faculty at IIT-H have been recruited in some branches of engineering but they have not joined yet. There was a delay because faculty who were recruited by IIT-M on behalf of IIT-H had their offers withdrawn due to a court case.

  7. Anonymous said...

    Expanding S&T undergraduate education enrollments by opening these institutes is a good first step but pretty soon will run into the problem/need of establishing strong, advanced research programs and infrastructures. A similar problem is cropping up in the postgraduate medical education sector.

  8. Anonymous said...

    The report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan gives a good information about IIT Hyderabad start up. The technical & academical assistance will be given by both Japanese Universities & industry . Find details in http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/india/pmv0810/report.pdf

    Its good step by the government to take cooperation from a developed country in Asia region.