Guwahati: For IIT Guwahati, 2020 has been a year of innovations related to COVID19, realigning the way the Institute functions according to the new normal and serving the nation at large.
IIT Guwahati has put in every effort to overcome all unprecedented challenges of 2020: From virtual lessons to ensure continuity of learning for students, to virtual-reality based convocation addressed by Prime Minister Modi wherein 1803 students graduated, to resounding success of virtual placements and virtual internships, to ensuring the safety of students, staff and faculty with COVID19 protocols on campus and to top it all, innovations to tackle COVID19 such as — self-check kiosks, multiple diagnostic kits, low-cost UVC LED systems for disinfecting surfaces, spray-based antiviral coating and PPEs, developing vaccine, low cost intubation boxes, drones for spraying disinfectants, software for safe air travel and farmers welfare.
Addressing the 22nd Convocation held in September 2020 through a virtual-reality platform, Prime Minister Modi urged students of IIT Guwahati to innovate for the future of the new normal. Prime Minister said, “Convocation is a special day for every student. But this year, it is a different experience for them in the time of pandemic. The pandemic has changed the way convocation is conducted. But still it is as special as it was before. I congratulate students for their bright future. The future of the nation is in what youth think today. Your dreams will shape the reality of India in the future. This is time for you to be Future-Fit and Future-Ready”. With his motivating speech, the institute has taken forward the way education is imparted to the students adopting to best practices in a short time.
During the pandemic, IIT Guwahati has focused on high quality online education and addressing mental health issues of students to prevent loss of academics, including conducting regular online counselling and yoga classes. Student helpline portal was launched where students could get support for accommodation, food, online classes, attendance, examinations, scholarships, health, transport, etc. The institute has been imparting online education for all its courses and has initiated evaluation of the students also via online mode. During the pandemic, IIT Guwahati through E&ICT Academy has enabled the scientific community by organising online courses (both short term and long duration), free 03 months long online summer internships, interactive sessions, and webinars. The annual progress seminars, synopsis and viva-voce examinations of PhD students are also being conducted in an online mode to continuously monitor their progress and to ensure that these uncertainties do not delay their career growth.
Virtual Placements and Internships session 2020-2021
IIT Guwahati organized the virtual summer internship hiring process for pre-final year students from the 1st week of September 2020. Around 51 companies participated in the process this year. Overall internship offer for B.Tech and B.Des is 40.83%. The number of internship offers secured so far is 245 out of the net 600 registered students.
The phase I of the placement session commenced in virtual mode from 1st December 2020. Around 127 Companies from various sectors participated in the virtual recruitment process. The overall placement of B.Tech and B.Des students is 72.95%. For B.Tech and B.Des, the number of total job offers so far is 426 (including PPO) out of 584 registered students. The overall placement of M.Tech and M.Des students is 35.52%. For M.Tech and M.Des, the number of total job offers is 173 out of 487 registered students. For M.Sc. programs, 10 students were placed out of 62 registered candidates. Overall placement of all programmes (B.Tech, B.Des, M.Tech, M.Des, M.Sc., MSR, MA, PhD) is 53.75% so far by the end of phase 1 of Placements season.
Innovations to stop the spread of COVID
IIT Guwahati has been in the forefront in the fight to stop the spread of novel coronavirus and has been providing scientific and technological support, extension of sophisticated instrument facilities as well as involved in the immediate development of life-saving equipment to Assam State and Guwahati Medical College and Hospital.
Since the initial days of COVID19 outbreak, IIT Guwahati has prepared hand sanitizers at its various departments and academic centres for public distribution. On research front a few projects undertaken/ completed are listed herein.
· Development of low-cost UVC LED system to disinfect areas amid COVID-19
· Development of affordable antiviral/antibacterial spray-based coating for Personal Protective Equipment to prevent spread of infection
· Development of 3D Printed Ear Guard for Comfortable Use of Face Masks by Healthcare Workers
· Data-driven assessment of COVID-19 situation in India by IIT Guwahati in collaboration with Duke-NUS
· Designing and development of low-cost ventilators
· Designing and development of low-cost intubation boxes
· Development of contactless mobile application for safe air travel
· Development of Low-cost heat-based Sanitizer Trunk
· Development of Injection Mould for mass manufacturing of Face Shield
· Development of Disinfectant Tunnel
· Collaboration with Hester Biosciences Limited to develop vaccine against COVID-19
· IIT Guwahati alumni develops and deploys drones for spraying disinfectant in public spaces to prevent Coronavirus. The drones can also be equipped as Medical Delivery Drone and Thermal Imaging drones.
· IIT Guwahati joined hands with RR Animal Healthcare and supplied lakhs of ICMR approved VTM kits, RNA isolation kits to National Health Mission, Assam and across the country and have also developed RT-PCR kits very soon. Rapid antigen kits have also been developed by the institute to help the cause of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, a first for any educational institute.
Researchers from IIT Guwahati, India, and the Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, have used data science models to analyse and predict the total number of COVID19 infected people for different States in India. They have considered the exponential, the logistic, and the Susceptible Infectious Susceptible (SIS) models, along with the model-free daily infection-rate (DIR) using open-source data. Atleast a dozen companies have begun operation in the newly formed research park at IIT Guwahati resulting in multiple technology transfers, product development and MoU signing with these companies.
New courses during the pandemic
1. IIT Guwahati has introduced for the first time a new programme, MS (Research) in E-mobility. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the curriculum, the programme is being jointly offered by the Departments of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the upcoming academic year 2020-2021.
2. IIT Guwahati is also the first IIT to introduce a course on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 in the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) curriculum from this academic year (2020-2021). The course has been offered to all the second year B.Tech students as a compulsory course, to reorient the thinking of young and dynamic individuals towards the path of sustainable development. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the 17 SDGs, Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences, the nodal department for this course, has collaborated and pooled resources from eight other departments of the Institute to design and implement the course. Faculty members from each of these departments will jointly conduct the course and will provide exposure to B.Tech students on the technological, economical, ecological and societal aspects of these 17 SDGs.
New Education Policy
The new education policy 2020 announced on 29th July 2020 is an important step towards reforming the overall education sector of the country and is likely to transform India into a knowledge hub. Besides incorporating the ethos of Indian Philosophy right from early schooling, it has also incorporated Sustainable Development Goals which IIT Guwahati has been promoting and has already made it a part of its curriculum at the undergraduate level and has been the first institute in the country to do so. Moreover, the goal of allocating 6% of GDP on education, entry of foreign universities in India and setting-up a National Research Foundation will provide tremendous boost to education sector as well as research and development in the country and generate highly trained human resources to realize the dream of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” as we move forward in the 21st century. IITG has also started a “Center for Indian Knowledge, Sanskrit and Yoga” which is in line with NEP 2020. Welcoming the NEP2020, Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, who closely followed the NEP 2020 event mentioned that “These reforms in the education sector were long awaited and are likely to transform India into a Global education and research hub if implemented carefully. It takes into account the changes happening across the country right from the foundation till the student reaches a professional level and several other important objectives of inclusive education”.
IIT Guwahati has been the only academic institution from India that occupied a place among the top 100 world universities – under 50 years of age – published by London based Times Higher Education (THE) in the year 2014 and continues to do this even today in various International Rankings. Along with older IITs and Delhi University, lIT Guwahati has also been ranked below 500 in the QS World ranking released recently and the only one to improve its ranking from the previous year. lIT Guwahati ranks 6th Overall, 5th in Chemistry, 9th in Physical Sciences, 18th in Earth and Environmental Science, 17th in Life Sciences and 350th Overall world rank as evaluated by Nature, the most reputed scientific research magazine and one of the highest faculty to publication ratio of ~4.5. IIT Guwahati has been ranked 7th (Engineering and Overall) in the national institutional ranking (NIRF) framework conducted by MHRD in the year 2020. IIT Guwahati has also been ranked 3rd in the “Swachhata Ranking” conducted by the Gol and is the only centrally funded technical institute to be among the top 5 consistently for the past three years ever since these rankings were launched.
Besides these developments in the year 2020, IIT Guwahati also collaborated with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing for Establishing a Supercomputing Facility under the National Supercomputing Mission.