Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, is going to double the number of research students in its four campuses by 2020. Right now it has 650 research students, and hopes to increase this number to 1,500 in the next five years.
“The institute wanted to focus on research, entrepreneurship and innovation. We have proposed to improve research by recruiting more Ph.D. students and encouraging our faculty to go for research in interdisciplinary areas,” said Acting Vice Chancellor V. Sambasiva Rao.
“To attract students we have to provide a better ecosystem for meritorious students. To make them stay back (in the country) we need public-private partnership for research projects and fellowships. We also need to offer them challenging problems,” he said.
At present, the institute receives grants from the Departments of Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Atomic Energy and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the University Grants Commission. “We also encourage faculty to apply for sponsored grants and approach industry for funding for research. We involve undergraduates, postgraduates and research students,” added Rao.
At BITS three projects that were launched by its tech-business incubators have been successful. The institute is involved in two projects in biotechnology and one in pharmacy. While Department of Pharmacy is collaborating with the industry to create a drug for tuberculosis.
The institute also wants to increase the grants substantially to institutes of national repute. The institute also offers a direct Ph.D. programme after their undergraduate degree for students who demonstrate an ability to do research. Though many of them do enter research, a large number leave for countries that offer better atmosphere.
“We need institutions like IITs and central universities. Funding for these institutions must be improved. The government should concentrate on providing seed funding,” added Rao further.