Undergraduate students of the Indian Institutes of Technology who score a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 8.5 and more will now get direct admission to the institutes' PhD programme.

Such candidates will be entitled to a monthly scholarship of Rs 60,000 for five years. Moreover, they will also get “a suitable research grant“ to cover expenses like attending international conferences that are required to complete their research projects. The proposal was cleared by the IIT council after it realized that doctoral programmes needed to be encouraged as the institutes were facing a shortage of faculty and the unavailability was likely to on ly get pronounced.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar responded that the IITs, particularly the seven older ones, were set to increase their PhD intake by at least 20% in the next three years, starting from the ensuing academic season of 2017-18. The council of the premier technical institutes agreed to increase the seat intake to 1lakh by 2020, particularly at the post-graduate level, accepting a proposal of the HRD ministry . This had come up at a meeting of the council chaired Javadekar in August.

“We want to admit more students to our PhD programmes from next year.There is a dearth of faculty and the expansion in technical education calls for major push for doctoral programmes,“ said an IIT director. The institutes are considering increasing the number of MTech seats. Increasing PhD seats would also see the IITs contributing to the country's research output and providing innovative and affordable technological solutions needed to meet the requirement of our country , he said.

The HRD minister has assured the IITs of making a proposal to the government for rolling out a new fellowship scheme to support research scholars.“The proposed Prime Minister Research Fellows programme would seek to support at least 1,000 PhD students every year,“ said a ministry official.

Pratham data to be streamed live at IIT-B Techfest

Live data being received from Pratham, the satellite made by IIT-B students, will be streamed at the institute's techfest, which will be held from December 16 to 18. The event was discontinued for three years owing to crowd management issues. The fest, TechConnect, will showcase research and development activities at the institute. The main attraction will be ISRO's scaled versions of launch vehicles and satellites, which were used for space missions like Chandrayaan and Mars Orbiter Mission. A racing car and underwater vehicle, made by IIT-B students, will also be on display. There are about 10 exhibits from the institute. The international exhibits include a mind-controlled drone from the US and lightest scooter designed by Russian students. TNN