Aiming towards an Improved Future: Vision 2025 of NIT Rourkela

Aiming towards an Improved Future: Vision 2025 of NIT Rourkela

Smruti Sudha Biswal Umme Salma | Jan 07, 2019

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Success comes to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

With this motto in mind, some of the notable alumni along with the authorities discussed various ideas on what they have named it as “Vision 2025: NIT, Rourkela” during a formal session last week. The meeting was graced by various distinguished alumni like Prof. Damodar Acharya, ex-director of IIT Kharagpur; Padma Shri Nalini Ranjan Mohanty, ex-chairman Hindustan Aeronautics Limited; Dr. Om Agrawal, Senior Fellow, Advanced Microdevices, USA, holder of 140 patents and a few other alumni.

The motto of Vision 2025 stands We can, We want to and We will. Holding the tag of locally relevant and globally significant the discussion kicked off initially with vision 2025:60 days goals being presented before the attendees. It focused basically on 6 points which are

  • Review, Refine and Adopt NITR Vision 2025 by NITR Board
  • The hiring of a seasoned professional staff to lead Alumni & Industry Engagement, lead Vision 2025 Development Projects
  • Invest at least 1 NITR Innovation by ETBI incubation & Grant
  • Develop Business Plan for Data Science & Analytics Center of Research Excellence. Collaboration with UC Davis.
  • Operationalize NITRADAAN [https://nitradaan.org], the Global Giving Platform
  • Prioritize initiatives to improve Operational Efficiency & Cultural Transformation for Research & Innovation at NITR

The discussion took place in the Senate Hall. On behalf of the Institute Director Prof.Animesh Biswas, Dean Academics Prof. K.K. Mahapatra, Dean SW Prof. Simanchala Panigrahi, Associate Dean Alumni Relations and Resource Generation Prof.Shantanu Behera, Dean Alumni relations and resource generation Prof. Sukadev Meher, Head of Placement cell Prof. SK Patel along with other faculties were present. Dr Om Agrawal chaired the session as he brought forward the goals the alumni visions towards establishing their alma mater in the top 10 engineering countries in India and the top 200 universities of the world worldwide. He presented a small presentation wherein the 7 pillars or 7 goals of Vision 2025: NIT Rourkela has been embodied.

On a broader domain the 7 crux points which were elaborately detailed upon are as follows:

  1. Cutting-edge research output
  2. World Class Faculty
  3. World Class Pedagogy and curriculum for 21st-century skills
  4. Industry engagement and entrepreneurship eco-system
  5. Scale alumni relation and resource generation
  6. Brand and image revitalization
  7. Development office and execution excellence

Following this was a brainstorming session which witnessed the inflow of versatile ideas into the forum. They proposed ideas like inviting projects from various industries so that the industrial relations are strengthened. In one example, an American company called Textron which deals with the building of jet spare parts and other aviation technology seeks Indians for recruitment into their design team. It has been proven for some time now that Indians have a well-furnished grey matter which the recruiters want to exploit. The alumni volunteered to assist in this process. While discussing inviting projects from industries, they stated that in a case where the direct approach might not be satisfactory, alumni from the organization can intervene and possibly help in acquiring the needful.

With respect to the world class pedagogy and curriculum Dean Academics, Prof. KK Mohapatra quoted:

The recent revamp in the curriculum with the introduction of Minor Degree was aimed at meeting the requirements of the fast-changing world. While the introduction of recent advancements in the curriculum is highly essential, old fundamental concepts cannot be deleted. The primary reason behind this is the inclusion of such topics in the GATE syllabus. As most of the students aim for a job in the PSUs and the most opted route to it through GATE, the importance of such topics cannot be neglected. 

The panel emphasized the integration of practical learning with theoretical intake of concepts. They laid sheer emphasis on how the problem-solving method will lead to the holistic development of the student community and thus will yield fruitful results. They even cited examples of IIIT Hyderabad where the institute follows a reverse trend by first making the students tech savvy and then walking them through the concepts of Physics, Chemistry and Math. IIT Kanpur gives a 2-month slot to the faculties so that they can visit other universities and understand how things work out there. Similar ideas found their presence as the illustrious personalities along with our faculties discussed the spheres in which NIT Rourkela can ace the rankings and place itself among the top 10 engineering institutes of the country.

The meeting was taken over by the mover, Commodore (Retd) Dr Jadumani Jena, Deputy Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), who proposed a plan for an entrepreneurship incubator in collaboration with NALCO-- called the Emerging Technology Business Incubator (ETBI). The ETBI is a PPP initiative supported by the NITR alumni Association (NITRAA) and NITR Overseas Alumni Association (NITROAA). The official announcement for the incubator was made in the Make in Odisha conclave (November 11-15, 2018) by Dr Jena himself.

This initiative is highly beneficial to the students who want to explore their business skills. The motives involved behind the project are to pace up the knowledge and wealth creation as aligned with the vision NITR 2025, to encourage and support students endeavouring start-ups and to offer career opportunities to students who couldn't do well in the traditional job market. It is different from the already existing FTBI in the manner that it will be encouraging and supporting students from NITR and other colleges as well, in and around Odisha.

The incubator is supposed to be established in the TIIR building of NIT Rourkela and the NALCO Research and Technology Centre, Bhubaneshwar. The students who could be the beneficiaries of the project is yet undecided, however, students from second year onwards are being preferred. The proposal was highly applauded by the meeting and will act as an accelerator in the progress of the institute and the students given that it is executed to fruition.

THE FIVE PROPOSED RESEARCH CENTRES:

Alongside vision 2025, there is a proposed plan of establishing advanced research centres in emerging fields like automation, data analytics etc. The talk delivered by Dr Om Aggrawal focused on five advanced research and learning centres:

  1. Data analytics research centre
  2. Solar energy park
  3. Material science and manufacturing
  4. Centre for research in Nanotechnology
  5. Advanced automation

The projects will be set in motion considering the involvement, potential and interests of the faculty of the institute. The priorities for the respective research centres will be decided by the already existing research base in the respective fields.

A similar plan of establishing a data analytics centre was proposed a few years back by the support of the alumni. However, the plan couldn't come to fruition due to the negligence on part of some of the stakeholders involved.

When asked about the opinion of how fruitful the vision 2025 would be, the keynote speaker, Dr Om Aggrawal told, 

I wholeheartedly hope that we will be able to achieve whatever we have discussed throughout the meeting today. Also, I expect that the authorities will take determined actions towards the execution of the plans discussed with the full support of the alumni. We are also expecting Seimens to collaborate with us for highly advanced research experience with excellent world-class laboratories, this would definitely be a milestone for us.

Dr. Damodar Acharya, ex-Director IIT Kharagpur, Padmashri Awardee and one of the attending alumni, said

I definitely expect that the plan will be executed to fruition, and also hope every person involved will work towards this vision 2025.

Besides appreciating the efforts of NITRAA to get the alumni connected to the institute; he encouraged students of NITR towards networking and said:

Nobody with any big plans or otherwise can do what you people can do for this institution. It's upon you as students to connect with the alumni and grab the opportunities.

Late in the evening, the meeting came to an end. All the attendees showed interest and enthusiasm throughout and took a determined pledge to work towards the vision.

Monday Morning appreciates the agenda discussed and sincerely hopes for a successful embarking of the comprehensive plan towards implementation.

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