Friday, October 11, 2013

Frontiers In Faculty Hiring: Setting Them Up For Success

Sreeradha Basu and Shreya Biswas have a story on the kinds of things IITs are doing to attract faculty: not just higher start-up money and travel grants for conferences, but also sign-up bonus, better housing, help in finding a position for spouses, etc. It's about time young faculty received some love:

In the past 10 months, IIT Kanpur has offered two to three top-notch candidates start-up grants of as much as Rs 1 crore, up from the usual Rs 25 lakh. During this time, it has made offers to 50 candidates, of whom some 30 have joined. "We have to think of ways to circumvent the fact that we have pay scale constraints," says Indranil Manna, director, IIT Kanpur.

IITs are focusing on research prospects, which academics often give more importance to than compensation. IIT Roorkee, for instance, has invested Rs 185 crore in research infrastructure in the past two years to attract potential candidates. An initial research grant of Rs 10 lakh is given to every individual who joins, says IIT-R director Pradipta Banerji. In the past few months, three faculty members have submitted proposals worth Rs 3.5 crore, which they will get.

IIT Kharagpur is toeing a similar line. The institute has increased the faculty start-up grant from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 28 lakh, which is now given within a month compared with six to 12 months earlier. "We are also giving total grants of Rs 14 crore for special research that is competitive and collaborative. If we see a huge interest in this, we will increase the overall quantum of grants next year," says PP Chakarabarti, director, IIT Kharagpur.


  1. Anant said...

    Its about time middle aged faculty received some too.

  2. Arunn said...

    @Anant: You may sympathize with this article on Associate Profs. from Chronicle

    IIT Madras has now introduced an 'awards scheme' that enables among other things, some funding for equipment and travel (few lakh rupees) for two mid-career (between 40 and 50 yrs. age) faculty members / year and one faculty member / year at the 'above 50 yr. age' level.


  3. Anant said...

    This is far too few for an Institute with hundreds of mid-career people. It is as good as nothing. Besides, there could be awards for a specific piece of work, e.g., a good result which you may want to go and convey to peers at a conference or two.

  4. Ungrateful Alive said...

    I will take roofs that don't leak and non-academic staff that actually show up for work, and PhD students that can fog mirrors in exchange of love (or even cash) any day. That's not entirely a sour joke. IIXs are granting money because they have failed to provide some of the above things that a reasonable human resource ecosystem should have ensured. There are many cases of not being able to spend allocated funds for lack of qualified people. In a world where capability and commitment drops off precipitously beyond the boundary of their bodies and minds, mere money to brilliant young hires may be a fatally misleading attraction. When I joined IIX my "startup funds" were a princely 50,000 rupees, and I have never once been unable to do something technically interesting owing to lack of funds. Lack of breathing, thinking people --- all the time.