Multi-storey research hub at NIT Durgapur
The National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, will develop a multi-storeyed central research and academic laboratory complex at a cost of Rs 97 crore with an aim to improve its national ranking.
The Durgapur institute is 47th in the category of engineering institutions, according to the HRD ministry’s National Institute Ranking Framework.
The exercise carried out in April ranked IIT Kharagpur 4th, Jadavpur University 12th and IIEST Shibpur 21st.
The ministry has approved Rs 97 crore through the Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) for the institute to set up “Utkarsha Bhavan”, a multi-storeyed research hub, Anupam Basu, director of NIT Durgapur, said on Tuesday.
“The research has to improve. It has to double... students have to bag more patents through their research. They have to score in these areas,” R. Subrahmanyam, the Union higher education secretary said during the institute’s convocation on Sunday.
Better research could ensure the NIT is among the top 25 engineering institutes in four-five years, he said.
The complex will house a central research facility and four state-of-the-art centres for advanced research.
These are: a centre for research on environment and water, a centre for biomedical engineering and assistive technology, a centre for advanced research on energy and a centre of excellence on Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems.
“In the latest HRD ranking, we stand fifth among the NITs in research and professional practice and second in publication, citation and number
of PhD students. But we want to improve further,” Basu said.
“The upcoming facilities are expected to increase our research capability and help us improve our rank.’
The research facilities are expected to engage more students to combat the perception that fewer students are involved in PhDs, a professor of the institute said.
Subrahmanyam had flagged off the matter on Sunday. Of the institute’s total intake strength, only one-third of the students are into postgraduate research, he said. “This has to go up to 50 per cent, if you (NIT) have to really come among the top rankers.”
The fact that students would be able to research in advanced areas like artificial learning (AI), machine intelligence at the centre of excellence on Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems is expected to attract more students towards research, director Basu said.
“AI has made inroads into every sphere of engineering. Students are expected to take research more seriously with the development of the centre,” he said.
The institute has already overhauled its curriculum to allow engineering students of any discipline to take an elective course in machine learning or artificial intelligence from the semester starting in January.