IIT Gandhinagar Decennial: Continuing the Glorious Journey Ahead

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“Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right TIME.” – Arnold H. Glasow, renowned businessman from USA

Situated on the banks of the river Sabarmati, in Palaj (Gujarat), IIT Gandhinagar recently crossed the ten-year mark of its successful establishment journey. Through all these years, the institute has constantly strived to offer the best education in the country with unmatched innovations in its curriculum by means of various first-of-their-kind-in-India initiatives. It is committed to promoting excellence in technology, science, humanities and social sciences so as to ensure a complete 360° development of rounded and nuanced minds of its students, with an emphasis on courses in design and life sciences and encouraging a unified diversity in all possible aspects of curricular, co-curricular and extra – curricular learning.

Hello friends! Here is a throwback to some ingenious avant garde programmes and uniquely creative features kick-started and notable milestones crossed by this institute for the progress and betterment of its students over the years. We start our journey from the year 2015 (for the 2008-2014 adventure, please visit here), so buckle up!

2015…

A strong promoter of developing critical thinking and problem solving in its students, the institute launched ‘IGNITE’ in February 2015. The motivation behind starting this annual fest was to provide students with an exposure to world class cutting-edge technical experiences and inculcate deeply within them, the will and wish to self-create and develop radical inventions and innovations, at maximum possible levels. Every year since its inception, Ignite creates a unique platform where students can enhance their technical quotients by indulging in hands-on skill training so as to produce and assemble indigenous self-made technology.

With the aim to encourage and empower students to set off on a journey of discovery, wherein they experience and learn from the diverse cultures and lifestyles of India on a limited budget, IITGN initiated the Explorer Fellowship. This 6-week first-of-its-kind-in-India annual summer initiative is the second to be emulated (after the Foundation Programme) by other colleges and universities across the country.

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Earlier hosted by the Vishwakarma Government Engineering College in Chandkheda, IIT Gandhinagar moved its operations to its permanent campus in Palaj. This advanced and beautifully designed campus makes IITGN one of the most globalized institutes of India in a short span of less than ten years. The unmatched cutting edge infrastructure and architecture of this place successfully enable it to transform the landscape of education in its students through numerous innovations.

August 2015, witnessed the organization of the first Alumni Meet at this institute. A detailed interaction session provided the current students an opportunity to exchange ideas with and learn from the IITGN alumni working in more than 40 different organizations of India and Abroad.

IIT Gandhinagar was recognized as University of the Year at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Higher Education Excellence Awards 2015. The institute won this award in the category – ‘institutes in existence for less than 10 years’.

The Government of India started a new programme, Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) in Higher Education, with the objective of tapping the talent-pool of eminent scientists and entrepreneurs, so as to enhance the country’s academic resources and encourage the scientific and technological capacity for global excellence. In order to accelerate the pace of quality reform, garner the best international experience into our systems of education, enable maximum interactions between students and national and international faculty and discussions with the best academic and industry experts from all over the world to motivate us to work on Indian problems, Union Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Smt. Smriti Irani inaugurated this initiative at IIT Gandhinagar.

The staff residences and student hostels of IIT Gandhinagar’s newly constructed permanent campus at Palaj bagged the First Prize at the HUDCO Design Awards 2015 under the category of Cost Effective Rural/Urban Housing including Disaster Resistant Housing.

2016…

This second generation IIT was ranked 8th among all engineering institutions across India by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), MHRD. In particular, IITGN was ranked 4th in Teaching, Learning and Resources category and 5th in Outreach and Inclusivity category.

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The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IIEC), which had started construction back in 2013, became fully functional in 2016. It is a Section 8 company, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST – Government of India), with a mission to foster techno-entrepreneurship in students through inventive, innovative and creative thinking using interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches.

IIT Gandhinagar was the first among the new IITs to set up a Research Park within its campus premises with the purpose of enhancing the collaborations between industries and academia. This will assist towards creating and developing an innovation ecosystem which, in turn, will aid organizations and companies to create, consolidate and progress in terms of knowledge.

The IIT Gandhinagar campus became the first in the entire country to receive a 5-star rating from the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment for Large Developments (GRIHA LD). This is a unique Indian National Rating System for green buildings, developed jointly by GRIHA Council and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), which judges the overall impact of large developments, such as educational campuses and townships, on their surrounding environment. IITGN achieved this rating because of the range of features envisioned in its master-plan and executed in the campus development. Some of these include low-energy sewage treatment, water recycling, rooftop solar photovoltaic plants, rain water harvesting, solar water heaters, pedestrian-friendly campus, passive ventilation, environmentally-friendly materials used on site (e.g. concrete roads, fly ash bricks), solid waste management and biogas plants.

2017…

January 2017 saw the institute host its first Nobel Laureates, Prof Randy Schekman of University of California (Berkeley) and Prof Harold Varmus of Weill Cornell Medicine (Cornell University), in the fields of physiology and medicine. They delivered public talks on some interesting areas of biological sciences and had interactions and discussions with students about different aspects of research and education.

A firm believer of the philosophy of learning-by-doing, IIT Gandhinagar initiated the Center for Creative Learning (CCL) with the aim to provide hands-on creative pedagogy. The objective is to bring back that gleam in the eyes of thousands of people which usually get lost because of the theory and ratta-fication oriented education system. This centre constantly strives towards providing access to interesting education for every child throughout the country.

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IITGN was dedicated to the Nation by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi. He visited the institute on October 7th, 2017.

The William Henry Merrill Fire Engineering Laboratory was inaugurated, as a part of the Centre for Safety Engineering, with a strong commitment of IITGN and Underwriters Laboratories towards enhancing fire safety within and outside India. The objective of this Centre is to promote a safe-built environment in both public and private spheres of society, working towards secure urbanized development.

Prof. Michel Danino, guest professor and coordinator of Archaeological Sciences Centre (ASC) at the Institute, was conferred with Padma Shri – one of the highest civilian awards of India. He was awarded for his unparalleled contributions towards literature and education.

2018…

Tinkerers’ Lab was established at IIT Gandhinagar, with the objective of encouraging students to channel all their creativity, to construct mechanisms, to take systems apart, rebuild them and in the process come up with design driven and technology based innovations. It’s open to all and completely managed by students, which acts as a one-stop-solution for all the technical tasks, ranging from hobby projects and course work, all the way to repairing and remaking stuff.

The institute is well aware that in the 21st century, effective writing constitutes an integral part of all possible professions around the world, one way or the other. Hence, in order to enhance the writing skills of its students, IITGN inaugurated the Writing Studio with the aim to equip them with the globally recognized writing practices and conventions.

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The first-of-its-kind in India, INVENT@IITGN was conducted for the first

time in 2018. It is a unique six-week annual summer program in which IITians throughout the country get the opportunity to conceptualise, build, test and patent prototypes of their inventions at the institute, on a limited budget of Rs. 50,000. Started in collaboration with the Cooper Union (New York), the major criteria involve these prototypes to cater to real life problems of the society and be practical in terms of safety, feasibility, size, cost and weight. Participants from IITs – Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati, Jammu and Gandhinagar – formed 10 teams with 2 students in each. They filed patents for all 10 inventions which covered a huge diversity of fields, along with winning the awards for the Best (prize money Rs. 2,00,000) and Second Best Inventions (prize money Rs. 1,00,000). All the participants received a stipend of Rs. 10,000 with a certificate of participation at the end of the program.

2018 saw IIT Gandhinagar winning the 5-star rating from Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment for Large Developments (GRIHA LD) for the second time.

Adding yet another feather to its cap, the institute bagged the YES Bank Natural Capital Award (NCA) under the Eco Campus category. Educational institutes from all over the country competed for the award and were judged on the basis of their sustainability practices deployed for campus development and management.

In the year 2008, IIT Gandhinagar embarked upon its journey with a vision to become a preferred destination for future generations of students, faculty and staff. 2018 marked the completion of ten years of this stupendous journey to build an institution which is recognized as a leader in educational innovation.

2019 – And the Journey Continues…

Working along the lines ‘sustainability for a better future’, the institute established the Dr. Kiran C Patel Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD) on 2019, with a generous endowment from the Indian overseas philanthropist Dr Kiran C Patel who is a distinguished cardiologist based in Tampa (Florida), USA. The centre aims to advance local and global solutions through cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on water, pollution, waste management, energy, natural resources, and climate change.

Dr Hemant Kanakia, Co-Founder and former Chief Executive Officer, Gemplex Internet, Inc., USA has committed a large donation to establish Maker Bhavan at IITGN. It is envisioned as a multidimensional, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary makerspace with the mission to foster experiential learning, creativity design-oriented thinking and innovative approach among students across all disciplines of the institute.

The second edition of INVENT@IITGN – version 2.0 – returned this summer. It had a total of 28 students in 14 teams from nine IITs across the country including IIT Bombay, IIT Dhanbad, IIT Dharwad, IIT Gandhinagar, IIT Goa, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Palakkad. Their ingenious inventions and innovations within a small period of six weeks led to the introduction of the Third Best Invention award (prize money Rs. 50,000) this season, apart from the Best and Second Best Invention awards.

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Achieving another remarkable milestone, IIT Gandhinagar became the first educational institute in India to receive the Eat Right Campus Award with 5-star rating from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The recognition was conferred on the institute because of its healthy, hygienic and delicious food practices for students.

As a result of its constant strategic vision and dedicated collaborative efforts of its students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, the 11-year old institute is ranked 7th in India and, for the first time, entered the 501-600 rank band worldwide, by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. It clearly indicates that an educational institution does not need to be old and experienced to achieve great heights!

“The future rewards those who press on. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama, American attorney and 44th president of the United States.

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