A discipline like chemical engineering must reach out to the industry to raise resources for its research, said representatives from several industries attending the centenary celebrations of the chemical engineering department of Jadavpur University.
Academics who attended the centenary said that apart from securing funds from the industry, the department also needs to update its curriculum by introducing areas like digital technology and data analytics to make them more relevant.
Subhojit Bose, an executive director with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, who graduated from the department in 1989, said the engineering departments of Jadavpur University need to reach out to industry on a scale that the IITs do.
Only then, he said, the industries will start funding the departments that are now reeling for want of money.
G D Yadav, f o r m e r vice-chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology (Mumbai), said an industry-academia partnership was a must but upgrading the syllabus was of equal importance.
The inaugural ceremony of the centenary, Chemverscence, was held at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark, in the presence of dignitaries such as MM Sharma, an acclaimed professor of chemical engineering, N Kalaiselvi, director-general CSIR, Yadav and others.
Over two days, the department has lined up several industry-academia interactions to get a direction on how it could make itself more relevant, said JU’s pro-VC, Chiranjib Bhattacharya, also an alumnus of the department.
Bose said it was important for the department to reach out to the industry with its ideas and generate resources.
“Not many funds are coming to this university from the industry. For, say, we are older than the IITs. But the IITs have better industry-academic partnerships than JU....”
Bose, who is based in Mumbai, said institutes like IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur and IIT Roorkee reach out to them, saying they will provide solutions to problems and that is how the industry academia-partnership fosters.
The chemical engineering class in Calcutta had started even before such a department came into being in the UK.
Yadav said the first chemical engineering department was first started in India by Hiralal Roy in 1921.
“They must integrate digital technology and data analytics into the syllabus. Make use of these technologies as a tool to make the subject relevant,” Yadav told The Telegraph.
MM Sharma in his address said life would be miserable in the absence of the chemical engineering department because of its wider applications.
JU VC Suranjan Das appealed for efforts so the discoveries in science could be taken to a wider section of society. “Unfortunately, we see a disconnect. Science has to be communicated to the population effectively.