IITH Director: Focus on tangible projects, student involvement drives project ideas

7 Dec, 2015


On the sidelines of the launch of the Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CHE) at IIT Hyderabad (IITH), PaGaLGuY caught up with IITH director Prof. U. B. Desai to discuss courses and placements at the institute.

Are there any plans to develop more centres like the CHE?

Definitely. Some plans are in the pipeline, so I can't talk about them yet. But certainly, things will come through soon. Like a Centre for Healthcare, we may also have centres for Automobiles, Aerospace etc.

Anything new at IITH this year? How are the placements coming along?

We have moved to our permanent campus now. Even though some work is still in progress, the environs clearly tell people about the facilities offered to students here. The companies coming for placements, which started on December 1 this year, are able see the quality of students the new campus can provide. Many new companies have shown an interest in hiring students from IITH.

IITH started a 3D printing course last year. How has the response been? Any plans to expand the course?

The response has been very good, the total intake last year was over 200. We are the only IIT offering the course for the first year/first semester students, as we feel that this is a common course, there is nothing special about it. Based on the interest, we may expand it as a mandatory course for all students. However, we don't plant to make it a special course, as we don't believe in having smaller departments for every field. We prefer to add optional courses to major departments instead.

What are the current projects that students are working on? When do they get involved in these projects?

Our students have come up with brilliant ideas. There is no fixed timeline to when they can get involved. It all depends on them - they can start in the first year itself. If somebody has an idea and they want to research it, we back them with every possible requirement. The focus is to come up with tangible products. Currently, we are working on sonography (ultrasound for the heart). We are trying to make this technology portable and more affordable so that it can be taken to rural areas using an industry partner.

Are these projects open only to students? Have any students been successful from them?

Initially, we want to see how this works out for students here at IITH. Once a structure is in place, we'll look beyond our own students. One of our students, Ankit Mishra, now heads a company that initially started off as a class project. His entire project was to create stories out of photos automatically and now his company is doing pretty well.

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