▌ HoD Message
Chemical Engineering is a constantly evolving discipline which keeps pace with the developing world. Our department reflects this in its teaching curriculum, research thrusts, industry partnerships and entrepreneurial initiatives. Founded in 1959 along with the rest of the Institute, the Department in its early days bore the imprint of German collaboration in nearly every functional aspect. The laboratories were well equipped with large-scale equipment that are still fully operational. While the trend towards miniaturization has led to ongoing replacement, faculty still carry out consultancy assignments for industry using these. They also give the students an early appreciation of the “shop floor” in factories.
The recent re-introduction of an “Introduction to Chemical Engineering” course for first-year undergraduates has been widely welcomed by the students. Combining a variety of lectures by faculty and industry practitioners with visits to manufacturing locations, the course is an eye-opener for many who choose the discipline without quite knowing its scope. Core courses that emphasize the fundamentals, electives that broaden the horizon, and laboratories—for UGs and graduate students– that reinforce classroom learning ensure that we graduate students who are equally capable of pursuing higher degrees and industry careers.
Undergraduates are encouraged to take up research projects in their 2nd year and carry them through to their Senior Year. They undertake one mandatory summer internship in Indian industry, and usually Doctoral candidates and postdoctoral Fellows ensure a research focus that is ever-intensifying. With an average of 5-6 Ph.D. students and 1-2 PDFs per faculty, research Groups are now reaching critical mass. Publication metrics, conference participation and patent filings are among the best in India, befitting an Institution that has been ranked # 1 in India four years in a row, and most recently, was also recognized as one that has the best innovation/ incubation ecosystem. Nearly 20% of the faculty in ChE are actively involved in start-up’s, facilitated by India’s first and still only University-based Research Park located next door.
Faculty recruitment is robust, with two more joining in 2019 and taking the strength up to 32. They represent an exceptional resource that begets awards and acclaim as a matter of routine. We are still looking for more in strategic areas of growth, such as energy, environment, and systems biology. Freed up to bring on board foreign citizens (on three-year assignments), as well as outstanding researchers/ educators of Indian origin, we are looking to add 6-8 more by 2021. Global research collaborations are strong and expanding, with Centers such the National Centers for Combustion R & D (NCCRD) and Catalysis Research (NCCR) leading the way. The Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science & AI counts 8 faculty from ChE among its active members. Joint and dual Ph.D. degree programs are operational with 20 top-ranked Universities around the world, offering unprecedented opportunities for impactful research-based interactions.
A recently formed Advisory Board provides strategic directions and tactical inputs to the Department. Alumni continue to lend support through their 3 t’s (time, talent, treasure). We see a bright future ahead for ChE @ IITM and invite you to join us for the journey. Do visit us, and you will see the difference.