Professor Anurag S Rathore tells Deepak Kumar Jha how they have created an industry-academia partnership
How do you look at IIT-Delhi’s contribution towards furthering India’s competitiveness among global economy evolution?
The Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi is one of the 15 IITs created to be centers of excellence for training, research and development in science, engineering and technology. Since its inception, over 35,000 have graduated from lIT-Delhi in various disciplines including Engineering, Physical Sciences, Management and Humanities and Social Sciences.
Of these, nearly 11,970 have graduated with BTech degrees, 3,541 received PhD degrees, and the remaining obtained Master's Degree in Engineering, Sciences and Business Administration. These alumni today work as scientists, technologists, business managers and entrepreneurs. They have contributed significantly to building of this nation, and to industrialization around the world. In fact, of the top twenty Indian Unicorn founders, eleven have been founded by IIT Delhi alumni. Besides, IIT-Delhi has 12 centers of excellences and three dedicated Research Parks which act as power house for technology and engineering research in partnership with Industries.
How are you fostering culture of collaboration among stakeholders?
We have been actively working with its corporate partners since decades. In 2017-18 alone we worked on more than 450 consultancy and research sponsored collaboration projects worth over `175 crore. In the last 5 years, we have partnered with more than 200 industry partners with the goal of providing scalable solutions. The modality of the relationships is in the form of multi-faceted transactional, operational and strategic collaborations like sponsored projects, technical consultancies, philanthropic activities, skill development programs and more.
What is the aim?
To break the silos and support strategic, catalytic and capacity-building programmes, and research across all academic domains. Our team actively engages in fostering industry engagements to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and emerging technologies from academia to industry. We strive to build bridges through these collaborative activities to provide a platform for our faculty and research scholars to transform academic research that commences from classrooms and laboratories into technologies and products that can make a difference to the society. There has been a sea-change in Corporate interactions at the Institute which goes beyond the traditional model of funding discreet research projects, to more interactive and equal partnerships, a model better suited for today’s technological landscape.
How are you mobilising resources for the research community? What kind of enabling environment you have created for industry- academia partnership?
The resources can be in form of funding, complementary technology expertise and infrastructure. Our efforts are directed to create awareness about the conducive environment at IIT-Delhi for industry-academia partnership. Based on the ‘need’ or ‘aspiration’ of every potential partner, a customised proposal is worked upon by us in conjunction with the interested faculty. We proactively reach out to the industry and are instrumental to facilitate a seamless experience right from the beginning of the relationship till the MoU (memorandum of understanding) is signed off. Thereafter we have a robust mechanism in place to monitor progress.
- What are the focus areas for industry-academia partnerships in next few years?
Some of the focus areas of our industry partners include Healthcare, AI, ML and Cognitive, Smart materials, Electric mobility, Clean and Green energy, and Sustainability. The third edition of Industry Day at IIT-Delhi today (September 21, 2019) will showcase our collaborative research work in these fields.