A Silver Streak: Department Of Biomedical Engineering
The Department of Biomedical Engineering of NITR swanks of being the most potential departments of all with its sophisticated labs and resplendent infrastructure. In just 9 years since its inception, the department is progressing at a rate of knots. Currently headed by Dr. Mukesh Kumar Gupta, the department envisages of becoming a globally recognized department of higher learning by producing quality engineers and technologists in the field of Biomedical Engineering.
On the shortage of rooms
HOD: I agree that there are three departments in the same building, but we have been effectively utilizing all the rooms for classes and a clash in rooms with respect to timetables has not at all been brought to my notice till date. I usually see rooms vacant during class hours, so I don’t feel that there is any problem with fewer rooms.
On usage and maintenance of equipment
HOD: We have always been self-sufficient in terms of teaching assistants and professors who know the usage of all the equipment, so recruitment or necessity of a demonstrator for an academically-sound department like ours is out of question. However, there was certain high-end equipment which was not in a working condition last semester which has been rectified and kept ready to use. Some minor problems with other equipment will be taken care of soon. The Meti-man is a special asset to the department and has been installed by the encouragement of our director, Prof S.K. Sarangi. There were some issues with its software last semester which have been looked into and rectified. If any further problems arise, I am sure that the professors-in-charge, will take due note and take care of them. It is a fact that we have certain high-end equipment, for which there aren’t suitable laboratory courses at present, but are being kept available for students to learn their operation and usage from the respective professors-in-charge.
I take this opportunity to advise the students to report to me or the professors-in-charge, any problems regarding the department, equipment and facilities, so that they can be rectified as soon as possible.
On the lack of and/or popular demand of ECE subjects in and general dissatisfaction with the current syllabus:
Prof Kunal Pal, Curriculum-in-Charge (CIC): The student perception is that they should study more electronics subjects but the reality is that this is Biomedical Engineering, an interdisciplinary branch consisting of subjects from mechanical, materials engineering, life sciences etc. in addition to electronics. In fact, our current syllabus matches those of Biomedical Engineering throughout the world. As far as my knowledge goes, this is something only students have insisted upon; not recruiters. If you look into the institute policy, you will find that a group of experts from across India sit together and decide the curriculum; the department would never hamper students’ growth. The Medical industry has tremendous scope in higher studies and such students from our department have been very well placed. Having said that, there is always a scope for improvement and as new faculty join in, expertise shall expand.
Shortage of professors:
HOD: Among the six academic groups of the Biomedical Department, ‘Medical Electronic Instrumentation’ is suffering a shortage of faculty because of obvious reasons. The first one being, the applicants for the positions of faculty under this group are mostly of core electronics background, which is not a very wise choice for our recruiters to make, as the course specifications for ‘Medical Electronic Instrumentation’ are unique. The second cause of this lacuna is that some of the professors who were recruited in the same field, last year, have not continued with us. This is an issue, which only time can resolve as we have been relentlessly advertising to obtain faculty for the fore-told group. Until then, we will be taking aid from the Electronics department, which has been very co-operative, all these years.
As far as our current faculty for Bio-technology and Medical Engineering are concerned, they are undeniably excellent in their fortes and are able enough to mould the minds of the young technocrats of our department.
On the Placement Scenario:
HOD: In any department, barring the IT and CSE departments, most of the placements are seen in non-core sector. Placements in core are comparatively lesser in all the branches, when we see previous statistics. There is no dearth of biomedical or biotechnology companies in our country, all we are doing wrong is just not contacting them, tirelessly and efficiently. I gave a list of 50 BM-BT companies to the placement co-ordinator and asked him to contact them directly, as discussed with the T&P Professor in-charge, Prof Jena. However, I have not received a follow-up in that regard.
Our Department of Biomedical and Biotechnology has not reached to the level where companies come to find employees at our institute. It is important for us to take the initiative of improving our placement scenario by ourselves.
Research: Funded and non-funded projects
HOD: The research aptitude in our department is at satisfactory levels among the PG students because of the obvious reason that they get to have quality projects all day long. This can be improved among the B. Tech students, especially among the final years, though it is understood that they are pressurized with theory subjects and competitive exams. It is important that their final year project reflect their hard work. In our department, there are sufficient funded and non-funded projects which go from an average to an extraordinary level, based on the students’ interest and dedication. So, it is completely on the students whether to excel in their projects or not.
Taking into consideration its time span in the institute, this branch has grown by leaps and bounds to become one of the popular choices among undergraduates presently. A healthy method of review and feedback shall help in the further development of the branch.
CIC: “Our department is a relatively new department in the institute and everyone should give us some time so that we can develop ourselves in a proper manner; and we are developing.”