How IIT-B notches key spot in global rankings
Cutting-edge research and innovation in academic courses, despite funds crunch, gives way to awards and accolades.
Mumbai: Good academic and employer reputation, and citations won by faculties have led the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay to be ranked as the best institute of the country for the second time in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia rankings 2024. It is the only Indian institute named among the 150 best in the world.
How has the institute managed to notch a coveted spot?
Set up in 1958, IIT-B has state-of-the-art research facilities, vigorous institute-industry collaborations, international exchange programmes, interdisciplinary research collaborations and industrial training opportunities that has helped students excel.
It leads nationally in both academic and employer reputation indicators, drawing on the expert opinions of 1,44,000 academics and employers. Impressively, it ranks within the top 20 Asian institutions for employer reputation. The IIT-B scored 81.9 in employer reputation, which is the highest score in various categories of QS parameters.
Power of innovation
Aniruddha Pandit, member of the governing council of IIT-B and vice chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), said, “IIT-B has a better industry connection, which helps in placements as well as research. This institute has a management programme too, which also helps students find place in various sectors.”
The research and development activities have kept pace with time. In the 2022–23 academic year, 280 research and development-sponsored projects and 776 consultancy projects with a financial outlay of ₹330.66 crores and ₹111.39 crores, respectively, have been carried out in diverse areas of science, engineering, management and social sciences.
It has filed 175 intellectual property (including 133 patents) applications, and 211 IP rights (including 176 patents) were granted during the financial year 2022–23. In the QS ranking, IITB scored 73.1 for citations per faculty, and 55.5 in academic reputation. It has a rich tradition of pursuing excellence and has continually reinvented itself in academia and research infrastructure.
Subhasis Chaudhuri, director, IIT-B, said, “Students are exposed to challenging, research-based academics and a host of sport, cultural and organisational activities on its vibrant campus. Flexibility in academics is a major positive, which gives students the chance to pick subjects of their choice.”
In the annual report for the last academic year, the director spoke about the importance of the humanities in the institute. Chaudhari wrote, “The economics group already launched a four-year BS (Economics) degree programme in 2017 that has been very successful and has attracted top IIT Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) rankers. In addition, the department will offer, in the future, a minor specialisation in economics and an Inter-Disciplinary Dual Degree Programme (IDDDP) for undergraduate students. An MS degree in economics will also be introduced in the near future.”
Strong alumni network
Full autonomy and strong support from the alumni network have also contributed to IIT-B’s success. In the financial year 2022–23, the dean’s (Alumni and Corporate Relations) office raised ₹180 crore, a 58% jump over previous year’s collections of ₹114 crore.
This purse is used to improve the research and academic infrastructure on campus. In the academic year 2023–24, Nandan Nilekani, the Infosys co-founder, donated ₹315 crore to his alma mater.
“IIT-B is in the process of making continuous changes in their academics. Apart from traditional courses, it has Design and Making Labs, which will allow students to gain access to top-of-the-class equipment for mechanical and electronic work, including 3D printers, laser cutters, and the latest workstation with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. The labs form an essential part of the institute’s larger makerspace initiative that envisions providing a comprehensive education to students through exposure to state-of-the-art thematic labs,” said Chaudhari.
Even though it is a top institute in the country, there are hurdles – a major one is funding. Chaudhari offers a comparison between top universities overseas and IIT-B. “Top research institutes globally are spending $33 billion for 35,000 students. In IIT, we educate 13,000 students with funding of ₹150 million. We are the best at making optimum use of resources but at the same time we need to spend money on equipment, which is almost the same or sometimes more than the foreign university,” he said.
Pandit added to Chaudhari’s point, as he focussed on fund cuts from the government. “As a premier institute, it somehow manages to cope with the funding, but it is eating up the academic and thinking time of professors. To arrange funds, professors need to spend more time making proposals and submitting them to various forums,” said Pandit. To address the infrastructural challenges, IIT-B is working on the vertical development of the present campus.
Devang Khakkar, former director of the institute, said, “It is good to hear that IIT-B scored well in academics and employer reputation. It is based on how students perform in the outside world. They are the products of the institute’s holistic education that ensures the students’ all-around development.”
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