IIT Mandi witnesses a successful 2018 with achievements in Academics, R&D and Innovation

Mandi: Indian Institute of Technology Mandi witnessed another year filled with achievements in diverse sectors ranging from R&D, academics and sports to innovations and startups.

2018 saw a significant increase in the number of sponsored research projects and funding for IIT Mandi. The total number of projects sanctioned is nearly 200 with the sanctioned amount of over Rs. 80 crores. 40 Research Scholars graduated this year compared to 31 in the preceding year (2017 Convocation).

IIT Mandi began its journey in 2009 and has since progressed rapidly with many firsts and pioneering initiatives. Recruitment and retention of bright young faculty will continue to be an important factor in the Institute’s development.

In a message shared to the Institute during this year’s Convocation, the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi congratulated the graduating students and noted that despite being one of the youngest IITs in the country, IIT Mandi has emerged as a premier centre for engineering education and research, fulfilling the aspirations of the region.

Speaking about the Institute’s major successes of 2018, Prof Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director, IIT Mandi, said, “It is the time to commend the entire campus community for the notable achievements in the year 2018. The Institute has excelled in the fields of academics, innovation, research and development, international linkages, student placements and business incubation.”

IIT Mandi is overseeing the integration of science, technology, innovation and farm ecosystem for effective agricultural decision making to address food scarcity and build a sustainable future in India. A project titled ‘Smart Agriculture: Farmer Zone’ worth Rs. 9.47 Crore has been sanctioned by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). Currently, the project is already serving 1000 potato farmers spanning Punjab and UP in the 6 months since its inception. It provides advisories on crop yield, pests & plant varieties and is delivered directly to farmers through mobile apps.

IIT Mandi Catalyst, a Technology Business Incubator (TBI), has been successful in attracting entrepreneurs from many parts of the country. Catalyst has 15 commercial and social /or impact start-ups in its portfolio from different sectors. In future, Catalyst is going to focus majorly on developing entrepreneurship ecosystem in the state of Himachal Pradesh and in the Himalayan region. It also plans to make a focused attempt to encourage entrepreneurship in the Himalayan region and enable solutions for social or economic problems.

The Institute also witnessed some of the top MNCs in the world coming for campus recruitment this year. They include Amazon.com, Microsoft Corporation, Siemens, Samsung Delhi, SMS Datatech and TonichiInsatsu besides Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). In Research and Development, IIT Mandi has led the way in tackling the region’s issues. IIT Mandi Researchers successfully developed a low-cost landslide monitoring and warning system against landslide disasters, which is a common problem in the Himalayan mountain belt. With support and encouragement from the Mandi District Administration, 10 systems were deployed in the Mandi district at different landslide sites along the Mandi-Jogindarnagar and Mandi-Kullu highways.

A Research team lead by Dr. Venkata Krishnan, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi, developed a nature-inspired material that can harvest water from fog. The Researchers have designed water harvesting surfaces based on the surface structure of the leaves of an ornamental plant called the Dragon’s lily head (Gladiolus dalenii).

Dr. Rajanish Giri, Assistant Professor, IIT Mandi, won the ‘Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA) 2018’. He was selected by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology for his work on understanding and solving the fundamental problems of protein folding in various structured and Intrinsically Disordered Proteins.

IIT Mandi also established an incubator to enable rural women of Kamand Valley in Mandi to become entrepreneurs. Started as an initiative of IIT Mandi Women’s Center, the incubator, ‘Enabling Women of Kamand’ (EWOK), helps rural women set up their services or small enterprises. EWOK partners with women from the four panchayats of Kamand, Kataula, Katindhi and Navlaya in Mandi district.

Industry Connect and International Collaborations are two crucial aspects of IIT Mandi’s engagement with the wider world. Solar Labs, an AI-based start-up, won the 3rd place in Schneider Electric’s Asia-Pacific level startup pitch contest held in Singapore. They were founded by IIT Mandi alumni who rejected high-paying jobs to pursue their dreams.

IIT Mandi hosted first-of-its-kind, International Workshop on Nano/Micro 2D-3D fabrication and manufacturing of electronic-biomedical devices. ‘Helium Ion Microscope’ was also unveiled at the workshop, along with a state-of-the-art class 100 clean room facility for device fabrication. The clean room facility, a part of the Centre for Design & Fabrication of Electronic Devices, is the first-of-its-kind in India. The event was inaugurated by Shri R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary – Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India.

International Linkages

This year faculty members visited SAARC countries, including Nepal and Bangladesh to recruit students. IIT Mandi has also been appointed as the nodal Institute for collaboration with German universities in the recently launched ‘Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration’ (SPARC) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, and also signed a MoU with Leibniz Universitat Hannover(LUH), Germany, for joint research.

Student strength:

In 2018, 193 B.Tech., 79 M.Sc., 110 M.Tech. and 13 M.A. students secured admission at IIT Mandi. The Institute has a total of 1,276 students, including 274 Ph.D., 46 M.S. and 17 I-Ph.D.

New Postgraduate Programs:

IIT Mandi launched six new postgraduate programs between August 2017 and August 2018. The programs include:

1. M.Sc. in Physics

2. M.Tech. in Power Electronics and Drives (PED)

3. M.Tech. in Structural Engineering

4. M.Tech. in Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI)

5. M.Tech. in Communications and Signal Processing (CSP)

6. M.A. in Development Studies

These programs were introduced as part of IIT Mandi’s vision to be a leader in Science and Technology education, knowledge creation and innovation. With the introduction of these new programs, IIT Mandi is one step closer towards achieving its target of 60 percent postgraduate students in its student strength in the coming years.

Currently, IIT Mandi has four schools: The School of Computing and Electrical Engineering focusing on the key technologies of the Information Age; The School of Basic Sciences which includes Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Life-Sciences; The School of Engineering that deals with principles such as classical mechanics, atomic physics and thermodynamics; and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences that seeks to provide a good understanding of language, culture, sociology, economics, management and ecology.