Research grants at IIT Bombay have gone down in 2013-14 for the first time in a decade, which witnessed a compound annual growth rate of over 24% till previous financial year.
The premier technical education institute received a total of Rs213.6 crore in 2013-14 for research and development (R&D) activities. A year ago, the fund was nearly Rs293.5 crore, says the institute director's report, which was released in the 52nd convocation ceremony held on Saturday.
In 2004-05, the research funds were just Rs37 crore, growing almost eight-fold by 2012-13 with several government departments and corporates giving money for several projects.
The report also states that the institute bagged 225 sponsored projects in the same year. In 2012-13, the number of projects was 240. However, the number of consultancy services provided by the faculty has gone up from 517 to 523 in the same period, underlining the reputation of the teachers and their contribution in the public sector and industries.
The number of patents filed by the institute during 2013-14 was 61; 70 patents were filed in the previous year. Austerity drive at Centre, faculty crunch and rising competition among IITs are supposed to be behind the fall. "You can't expect funds coming to the institute when you have a deficit of 30% teachers," said a professor, on condition of anonymity.
Another professor said, "The Centre has been cautious in disbursing funds now. Besides, there is a huge competition among IITs to get the grants from public and private sectors. We may have to scale up our efforts."
The director's report sought to justify the decline differently. "The drop in 2013-14 funding could be partly due to lower receipts on account of deferred release of funds from government sponsorships and due to higher receipts in 2012-13 on account of NME-ICT project release," it says.
However, the institute hopes for better times ahead as it has now managed to fill almost all vacant posts for teachers over the past year. "We have 572 faculty members on roll, the largest by far among all IITs, with many of them globally acknowledged for their research contribution," mentions the director's report.
Rs102.2 crore in 2009-10
Rs179.8 crore in 2010-11
Rs189.9 crore in 2011-12
Rs293.5 crore in 2012-13
Rs213.6 crore in 2013-14
Record 227 PhDs at IIT-B this year
Over 2,256 students were awarded their degrees at the 52nd convocation programme, including 227 PhD students. This is the highest number of doctoral students being awarded degrees at a convocation in the history of IIT-B. Of these, 27 students were selected for the 'Award of Excellence in PhD Thesis'. In addition, eight joint PhDs, in association with Monash University, were also conferred by the Chancellor of Monash University, Prof. Alan Finkel, present on the occasion
Eight gold medallists
This year, eight students were presented gold medals for their exemplary performance at IIT-B. The 'President of India Medal' was bestowed on Raaz Dwivedi (electrical engineering), the 'Institute Gold Medal' was awarded to Rahul Sharma, (physics), and the 'Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal' was conferred on Ashima Mittal (civil engineering)