The week of Feb 16 was an intense one on the alumni/ industry-relations front, with three momentous Events on Friday, Sat & Sunday.
On Friday, I flew to Bengaluru to sign an MoU with HAL at their stage in “Aero India 2015”. The Chairman, Shri Suvarnu Raju (former student of IITM), signed on behalf of HAL. The objective of the MOU is to create an HAL Chair at IIT Madras (endowed with Rs. 1.5 crores) in order facilitate a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship between HAL and IITM for academic and research-based interactions. This engagement is expected to lead to promotion and development of new and breakthrough technologies in several areas. The Chair Professor at IIT Madras is expected to provide technical consultancy to HAL; Facilitate development of training programs & training modules, mentoring/coaching for capacity building of HAL personnel; Visit divisions of HAL at least once in six months to understand first-hand HAL’s requirements and possible areas of assistance from IITM; and Coordinate with various Departments at IIT Madras to identify research work of potential use to HAL. Under the auspices of the Chair, M.Tech. and Ph.D. programmes may be organized through external registration, and all subjects taught through online method. Specialized short-term courses may also be conducted for HAL officers through the Chair. Here are some media reports:
On Saturday, we organized 3-hour workshop on campus with industry to present various options for engaging with IITM, including sponsored research & consultancy, Research Park, and various contributory modes. Nearly 40 industries & corporates were represented at the Workshop, along with a dozen IITM faculty. CSR contributions towards scale-up of socially-relevant faculty research emerged as a focal point from the discussions. Water, energy, housing, and healthcare all have a critical mass of IITM faculty actively involved, and looking for partnerships to help them achieve scale.
On Sunday, the Director and I met with alumni in New Delhi at a luncheon frequently punctuated by whoops emanating from the lounge where the India- South Africa World Cup cricket match was on view. The Event was superbly organized by the local team, led by Ashok Khanna and Harish Seth, with able assistance from Prashant Pitti and Aayush Jain. Alumni in attendance spanned graduating classes from the ‘60s to 2014. Service to the local community was identified by consensus to be the most meaningful mechanism to bring together alumni across ages and disciplines.
A productive week, and one with good ramifications, hopefully, for the future…