IIT-Delhi targets Rs 550-crore external R&D funding this year

Currently, IIT-D has about 500 ongoing research projects for durations of about two years each.

New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) is targeting external R&D funding of Rs 550 crore this year, up from Rs 400 crore last year. In addition, the institute will also get a grant of Rs 1,000 crore from the government over the next five years after it bagged the coveted institute of eminence (IoE) tag. As part of the IoE, the institute needs to increase its focus on research to bring it a step closer to competing with the best global institutes.

“The R&D activity of IIT-D has shown a huge growth in the last two years because of the focus on research in thematic areas of interest. As a result, all the research projects that we undertake are now either driven by industry or by what the society needs,” B R Mehta, R&D Dean, IIT Delhi, told ET. “For the coming year, the institute is working towards attracting R&D funding of Rs 550 crore,” he said.

IIT Delhi started focusing on R&D projects relevant to industry and society in 2017, when it was attracting only about Rs 100 crore per year. “As a result of this new focus, the institute has been able to attract external research funding with a four-fold increase, touching Rs 400 crore per year for the last two years — 2017-18 and 2018-19,” Mehta said.


While industry funds about 15%, national government funding comes in at 75% while the rest is from international organisations and institutes. “Apart from funding from external sources, IIT-D also uses its own internal funding (sources),” Mehta said.

IIT

Currently, IIT-D has about 500 ongoing research projects for durations of about two years each. Last year, it added about 220 new projects that fetched R&D funding of Rs 400 crore.

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Most of the research projects are in domains such as artificial intelligence, energy, water, environment, electric vehicles, nanotechnology-based sensors and actuators (the components in a machine responsible for moving and controlling a mechanism or system). The institute is also working on high-performance computing systems, high-end research facilities in nano-materials, healthcare and manufacturing, to name a few.

In the last two years the institute has set up five centres of excellence (CoEs). These include ones for research in clean air, energy and environment, 5G technology, sustainable infrastructure, and oilbased technologies, all supported by leading industrial houses.

It has also signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with industry and government bodies to set up three more CoEs this year. “These are in the final stages,” said Mehta, without divulging details.

The funds are also used to improve the faculty to student ratio by increasing the faculty strength to 1,000 from the current 600.

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The institute is building a technology park on campus that will host industry labs, provide space for entrepreneur startups and facilitate innovative ideas or technology.
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