IIT Madras-E.U. Project enables students to work in Industry, paving way for Pre-Placement

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ collaboration with a European Union Initiative has created opportunities for students to work in industry even before graduating and gain experience and training that can lead to Pre-Placement Opportunities. This project will also expose students to the real-time developments and the technological needs of the industry.

A novel concept in Technical Education for Developing Countries called ‘Dual Education,’ the TEEDE (Towards Excellence in Engineering Curricula for Dual Education) initiative is an European Union and ‘Erasmus +’-funded consortium of eminent Universities in Europe and Asia that merges the classroom learning with industrial experiences. In contrast to internships, which are short-term, TEEDE envisages students spending considerable amount of time employed in Industry as full-time workers, rather than interns, as part of their Curriculum.

IIT Madras has already developed two industry collaborations under this initiative – in Genomics research coordinated by Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras, and in Petroleum Engineering coordinated by Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras. The Master’s students from these departments will have the opportunity to work in companies engaged in cutting-edge research in these two fields. genomics and petroleum engineering.

Around 20 industry partners of this initiative attended a TEEDE Workshop held at IIT Madras today (21st January 2020). Prof. Rajesh Nair, Associate Professor (Petroleum Engineering), Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras, is the Regional Coordinator for this project.

Delivering the Inaugural Address, Prof. Ravindra Gettu, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras is the Top-Ranked engineering institute in India, as per NIRF, for last four years in a row and was also adjudged as the ‘Top innovative Institution’ in the country in Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2019 launched by Innovation Cell of MHRD. The Institute has a responsibility not only to remain in the forefront but also to innovate. It is good to have industry come on board early in the curriculum, helping students become more industry-ready by the time they graduate.”

The partners of this TEEDE consortium are eminent universities in Russia, Italy, Germany, Cambodia, India, China, Finland, Belgium and Spain.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof D. Karunagaran, Head, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras, said, “This initiative will encourage more start-ups to come. If students have exposure to the industry while still studying, they will gain a lot of valuable experience that will help them to set up their own start-ups. Students interested in working on industry-related research can find a guide in the Biotechnology Department and another in the Industry as well. The student and the guide will have the liberty to spend time in the industry, come back to IIT Madras and work on that issue.”

Under this initiative, the Fellowship for M.S. (by Research) Students will be met by an industrial partner for one to two years. On successful completion of the Research programme, the Scholar will be appointed as a Scientist in the company. It provides opportunities for pre-placement and students get an opportunity to work on industry-relevant problems for research. This can help the student career paths to become robust and in addition provides an opportunity for professors to work with industries.

In addition, based on quality work, students can switch to PhD from MS and they can get employment, challenging work and salary all at the same time.

Addressing the gathering, Prof T. Asokan, Head, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, said, “With the rapid changes happening in technology and application areas, there is an urgent need for the students to be connected with the industry on a regular basis. Industry internships are meeting this to some extent. However, a more proactive engagement is desirable, and we believe that the dual education proposed by TEEDE will address this issue.”

A three-day brainstorming session was also held at IIT Madras on 30th November 2017 with delegates from universities in India, Russia, Europe and Asia.

Speaking later, Prof N. Ramesh Babu, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “This initiative will boost industry-academia collaboration, which is vital for the country. The Manufacturing Sector always requires translational research, which will be a key outcome of this initiative as it enables IIT Madras students to work in the industry. The new generation is always looking to become entrepreneurial rather than seek employment. This initiative will boost entrepreneurship among students and create new and several opportunities for IIT Madras students.”

Prof B. Ravindran, Head, Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC DSAI), IIT Madras, said, “This initiative will help address the industry concerns of getting students to become ‘industry-ready’ by the time they graduate. This will also give IIT Madras students valuable exposure to real-world problems and scenarios faced by the Industry even while they are studying and help them apply their learnings to solve these issues.”

Prof. Rajesh Nair, IIT-M TEEDE Coordinator and Associate Professor, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT Madras, explained the two MoUs that are going to be signed with the industries and technical aspects of this collaboration. This capacity building will help IIT Madras avail additional funding for innovation and internationalisation from ‘Erasmus +.’

Explaining the TEEDE Initiative, Prof. Rajesh Nair said, “It took nearly three years of focussed work and research to find the academia – industry gaps across disciplines through meetings with industries. The model thus developed is based on several rounds of discussions and now has a convincing acceptance among industries and academia. The model is developed aiming at rapid career growth for researchers by way of pre-placements and challenging new topics and to create a climate in favour for start-ups and established companies for innovative solutions.”