IIT Mandi (2010 – 2020): 10 years in Kamand

    Mandi: Indian Institute of Technology Mandi began its journey in 2009 and has since progressed rapidly with many firsts and pioneering initiatives in engineering education, Research and Development (R&D), societal impact and international collaborations.

    Prof. Timothy Gonsalves, Director of IIT Mandi since its inception, addressed a Press Conference on campus on 12th February 2020. Prof. Gonsalves highlighted the successes and achievements of the Institute.

    Addressing the media’s query on “How did IIT Mandi rise to the top position in Himachal overall (NIRF) in the short span of less than 10 years?” , Prof. Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director – IIT Mandi said,”In 2010, IIT Mandi adopted a strategy of working on research directed towards solving major challenges of the Himalayan Region and of India. We crafted a unique project-based learning approach and a collaborative inter-disciplinary culture. These factors enabled our exceptionally talented and dedicated faculty and students to crack challenging societal and academic problems.”

    Here is the summary of the Institute’s successes and achievements in the past decade:

    Campus Infrastructure: The first new IIT to move to its permanent campus, in 10 years IIT Mandi has developed state-of-the-art infrastructure with a built-up area of 1.15 lakh sq.mt comprising of housing for more than 1600 students, 125 faculty and 61 staff members, cutting-edge laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, and facilities for sports and extra-curricular activities. This includes a 750-seater auditorium which is one-of-its-kind in the region and has already started hosting national and international conferences and workshops. The Institute is on track towards completing 2.16 lakh sq.mt of construction by early 2021 to provide for 2,580 students and 200 faculty, plus staff members.

    Students at IIT Mandi: IIT Mandi has grown to currently host 1,655 students including 750 B. Tech., 179 M.Sc., 257 M.Tech., 24 M.A, 361 Ph.D., 66 M.S. and 18 I-Ph.D. The Institute successfully achieved the target of female enrolment in undergraduate courses by admitting 20.22 per cent female students to B. Tech. programme for the Academic Year 2019-20. This compares favourably with the target of 17 per cent set by the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Apex Board Committee for 2019-20 and is the highest in any IIT

    Academic Programmes at IIT Mandi: To cater to the growing and changing needs of Indian industry and the aspirations of students, IIT Mandi has introduced several specialized programmes in the past 10 years. The Institute is currently offering B.Tech. programmes in 7 disciplines and Masters programme in 11 disciplines, in additional to Doctoral programmes in Science, Engineering and Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, the Institute became the first IIT to introduce a full-fledged B.Tech. degree in Data Science and Engineeringwhichemphasizes the integration of theory and practice. Recognizing the importance of Data Science in future years, the Institute gives exposure to Data Science to all B.Tech. and several post-graduate students via customized courses.

    The unique practicum-based learning curriculum in the. B. Tech. programme of IIT Mandi has been designed taking into consideration the current and future changes in the society and the nature of technology. The Reverse Engineering projects for students in 1st year imparts a good understanding of common scientific and engineering principles and methods. The Design Practicum in 2nd year helps students in building strong foundations in the range of engineering knowledge. The Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum in 3rd year introduces students to the breadth of knowledge in humanities. The Major Technical Projects in 4th year give students knowledge in social sciences and management.

    IIT Mandi in NIRF Ranking: In the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), IIT Mandi improved its position by jumping up six positions in the Engineering category in NIRF 2019, compared with the preceding year. The Institute was ranked 20th in the Engineering category in NIRF 2019 compared to 26th in NIRF 2018 and 28th in NIRF 2017. IIT Mandi has been ranked 1st in Overall category in Himachal in NIRF 2017, NIRF 2019 and was 1st in Himachal in the Engineering category every year since NIRF started.

    Category / Year

    2016

    2017

    2018

    2019

    Engineering Rank

    20

    28

    26A

    20

    Engineering Rank among Second Generation IITs

    6

    5

    6

    4

    Engineering Rank among all IITs

    14

    13

    15

    13

    Engineering Rank in Himachal

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Overall Rank

    NA

    37

    NA

    44

    Overall Rank in Himachal

    NA

    1

    NA

    1

    Research Thrust at IIT Mandi: IIT Mandi nurtures an interdisciplinary research environment that develops innovative technologies for widespread use. Driven by the need of the region and the nation, the thrust areas have been identified and organised. Since the inception of the Institute, IIT Mandi faculty have been involved in over 275 Research and Development (R&D) projects worth more than Rs. 120 crores. The faculty from the four schools (School of Engineering, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, School of Basic Sciences, and School of Humanities and Social Sciences) have published a total of 306 publications in the year 2019. Dr. Manu V. Devadevan, faculty member in the School of Humanities and Social Science, was awarded the prestigious 2019 Infosys Prize for Humanities for his pathbreaking research in Indian history.

    Social Impact Projects of IIT Mandi:

    FarmerZone, is a National initiative of the Department of Biotechnology with Indian and foreign partners, led by IIT Mandi. It aims to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to help small and medium farmers make better crop management and marketing decisions. The precision farming will increase their profitability. Currently the team is working with over 3,500 potato farmers in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. The Institute works across projects such as dealing with climate change and weather prediction, to matters of land, soil, water, seed and market linkages.

    IIT Mandi also works on projects such as VLSI Resist, for indigenisation of wide spectrum of photoresists, an essential ingredient for the electronic chip fabrication; Pine needles research, in which the researchers used pine needles to manufacture fuel briquettes in a viable business model; Landslide monitoring system, which uses motion sensors to detect major soil movement and alerts traffic using blinkers provided along the road before a landslide. To address local agronomic challenges, IIT Mandi worked on a research to develop herbal infusion technology as a substantial means of income for local marginal farmers. The research and scientific analysis allowed the researchers to employ various herbs growing in the mid-Himalayan region in the surrounding areas of IIT Mandi, for developing value-added products in the form of herbal infusions known for their health benefits (mainly rich in antioxidants).

    Collaborations with Industry and Academia: IIT Mandi believes in the exchange of knowledge across international boundaries. In the past 10 years, the Institute has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with as many as 11 International and 12 National universities/technical institutes in India, Europe and the United States. These MoUs aim at the mutual benefit by conducting joint research activities and exchanging academic materials. These MoUs have paved the way for the exchange of students, faculty and administrative staff between IIT Mandi and collaborating institutions.

    IIT Mandi has also been appointed the nodal Institute for collaboration with German universities for the ‘Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration’ (SPARC) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. This is a result of the successful mobility programme with the TU9 in Germany resulting in substantial research collaboration and student exchange.

    Start-up Ecosystem at IIT Mandi: IIT Mandi Catalyst, the first Technology Business Incubator (TBI) in the state of Himachal Pradesh, is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and Himachal Pradesh State Government. Catalyst aims to incubate technology-based start-ups focused on economic and/or social impacts. Till February 2020, IIT Mandi Catalyst has supported a total number of 60 start-ups of different domains and disbursed over Rs. 2.5 crore as grants and investments. In a recent seed funding round under the Nidhi Seed Support System, Catalyst has disbursed Rs. 1.55 crore to seven start-ups for commercialization.

    Empowering Women of Kamand: EWOK is an initiative to help rural women set up small enterprises in 4 panchayats of Kamand, Kataula, Katindi and Navlaya in Mandi district by providing them guidance, training and information. The aim is skill-upgradtion for income generation, and there are several success stories of first-generation entrepreneurs.

    IIT Mandi’s Contribution to the Himalayan Region: IIT Mandi is making a significant contribution to the development of the Mandi region and the state of Himachal Pradesh. Some of these include: Evaluation of MGNREGA in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh; training in Pahari painting: A step towards the presentation of Himalayan culture; eco-friendly utilization of hazardous dry pine needles for social benefit; development and dissemination of agri-based technologies being optimized at IIT Mandi from laboratory to farmer’s field of mid-Himalayan region; botanical and medicinal plant garden project; upgrading the existing ropeway system used in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh. Overall, about 1/3rd of the Institute’s faculty are involved in R&D that benefits the Himalayan Region. IIT Mandi along with IIT Guwahati, and IISc Bangalore has collaborated in a pan-Indian, multi-institutional initiative to develop a ‘Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Indian Himalayan Region Using a Common Framework.’ The assessment exercise is unique because for the first time all the 12 Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) States have used a common framework resulting in the production of comparable state level and within state, district level vulnerability maps. Such comparable vulnerability assessments are useful for the government officials, implementers, decision makers, funding agencies and development experts, to have a common understanding on vulnerability, enabling them to assess which state in IHR is more vulnerable, what has made them vulnerable and how they might address these vulnerabilities.

    Research Centres on campus: IIT Mandi houses state-of-the-art research centres. The Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMRC), which acquired research equipment worth Rs. 60 crore, aims to support and foster the research enterprise by providing state-of-the-art instrumentation and ancillary equipment, and expertise in its use and application. The BioX Centre, which has acquired research equipment worth Rs. 15 crore, has a focus on the environment and on agriculture particularly for traditional farmers who are engaged in the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, saffron and medicinal plants in this region. The Centre for Design & Fabrication of Electronic Devices (C4DFED) is a unique institute facility for multidisciplinary research of electronic device design and fabrication.The Centre has Class 100, Class 1000 & Class 10000 laboratories where high-end sophisticated electronic device design, fabrication and characterisation tools worth Rs. 50 crore are installed.

    Detailed information on all these and other achievements is available in the attached dossier.