Director's Message New Year 2019

Starting literally from a green field in 2009-10, in the past 9 years we have come a long way towards our long-term goal of being the best in the world in some respect. The road ahead to our goal is still long and steep. Sustained effort is needed towards excellence in research, teaching and administration. In consultation with the Deans, the Chairs of the Schools, Heads of Sections and others, we have reviewed the achievements of 2018 and set measurable targets for 2019.

IIT Mandi is earning national recognition. From 2016-2018, we led the successful effort to increase female enrolment in BTech in the IIT System. As a result, the 1st BTech gender ratio across all IITs rose from 8% in 2016 to 15% in 2018. IIT Mandi was the leader in 2018 with 19% females in 1st BTech. IIT Mandi was nominated as the nodal institution for Germany in the nationwide SPARC programme of MHRD. This is a result of our successful mobility programme with the TU9 in Germany resulting in substantial research collaboration and student exchange.

Our strong inter-disciplinary culture resulted in IIT Mandi being chosen to lead the ambitious FarmerZone project of DBT. This multi-national effort is aimed at using AI to provide crop management advisories to small and medium farmers. By the end of 2018, the project had enrolled 1,000 potato farmers in Punjab and UP. With a sanctioned budget of Rs. 7.5 crores for IIT Mandi, this is the largest project won by our faculty to date. While the South Campus had housed most of our students from 2015, in 2017-18 the construction activities in the North Campus picked up pace. Now, over 40% of our students live in the North Campus. Most of their classes and many labs are in the North Campus. The Construction Materials Lab and the Environmental Engineering Lab represent a major step forward in civil engineering teaching and research. This progress was due in part to the in-house designed online Campus Construction Portal, an online project management tool tailored to the needs of campus construction

In October, IIT Mandi scored an impressive hat-trick in our new 800-seat Auditorium. From October 21st to 23rd, we hosted the 3rd Himachal Science Congress in cooperation with HIMCOSTE. This event saw the Auditorium packed to capacity for the inauguration, with 380 participants

accommodated on our campus for 2-3 days. On 29th October, our 6th Convocation was held in the Auditorium, indoors for the first time. The graduands were inspired by the speeches of Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Chief Guest, and Mr. Sonam Wangchuk who was awarded Eminent Himalayan Technologist 2018 by IIT Mandi. The 3rd event in the Auditorium was the International Workshop on 2D-3D Nano-Bio Materials & Devices on 31st October to 2nd November. Inaugurated by Mr. R. Subramanyam, Secretary, MHRD, this event featured over a dozen eminent speakers from US, Singapore, Taiwan and Germany, plus over 100 participants from India. That 3 major events with unprecedented numbers of participants ran flawlessly within a space of 2 weeks in a new facility in the middle of the semester speaks volumes for the dedication and hard work of our faculty, staff and student volunteers.

Campus in 2019

    • Complete Phase 1, over 1,50,000 sqm in South and North Campuses
    • 40% progress in Phase 1x, about 48,000 sqm
    • Construct a pedestrian bridge to the Ghadpa Guest House and road bridge to the Village Square in the North Campus
    • Complete water supply from Uhl River
    • Safety audit of all labs and buildings
    • Predictable response time for maintenance trouble tickets
The year 2018 saw an increase of 280 students, and the introduction of several new Master's programmes. Notably, the first degree programme in HSS, the MA (Development Studies), was started with 13 students. Our faculty and research scholars won several awards including membership of the Indian National Young Academy of Sciences, DBT Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award, and several best paper awards in international conferences

Academics in 2019

    • Increase student strength by 20% to over 1,500
    • Start 1 new BTech and 1 new Master's programme
    • Fully-staffed conference facility in our North Campus
    • Organise four large conferences with 100+ participants, at least one in HSS
    • Host one conference or workshop on behalf of some other institution
    • Host 50 faculty from abroad for 1+ week each, and 50 students for 1+ month each
    • Host a Nobel Laureate or person of similar eminence at the Institute
    • Admit 20 foreign students from Africa and South Asia
    • Our faculty to win at least 5 prestigious national awards, and to publish papers in the top 5 core journals in each discipline
    •Felicitate our PhD graduates who join as faculty in another IIT, at least 2

In 2018, our faculty submitted 68 sponsored project proposals worth Rs. 130 crores. Of these, 15 were submitted with international partners under the SPARC scheme in December. In 2018, 43 projects worth Rs. 24 crores were sanctioned. This brings the total sanctioned projects since inception to over Rs. 85 crores. About 150 project staff are working on these projects, 60 being registered part-time for an MS or PhD degree.

Sponsored Research in 2019

    • Initiate Rs. 30 crores new sponsored projects, at least Rs. 3 crores industry-related
    • Incubate 20 companies (10 serving Himachal), with 5 in commercial operation
    • License or commercially exploit 2 patents
IIT Mandi has a unique project-oriented curriculum that engages students in solving real-world problems. Our students and faculty have strong interest in designing products and technologies for practical applications. To make these dreams a reality, we plan to start a Centre for Product Design during 2019. This Centre will be headed by an experienced industrial designer. The Centre will conduct courses for students on ergonomics, aesthetics, engineering design, etc. It will help students, faculty and startups to create better products. The support staff are the unsung backbone of an academic institution. Besides rising to the occasion and working around the clock for organising special events, they work tirelessly behind the scenes every day to support the faculty and students in their academic pursuits. In 2018 we started a recruitment exercise to almost double the number of regular staff. We also made significant headway in implementing automation in the Academic Section, Hostel Management, and HR.

Administration in 2019

    • Complete automation of all administration
    • Write manuals including target response times for all administrative processes
    • Fill all sanctioned staff posts
    • Provide regular in-house training for all staff
    • Send at least 10 staff for training in India and 2 abroad
There was a significant increase in outreach activities benefiting the people of Himachal. This includes about 6 applied R&D projects sponsored by the HP Government and IIT Mandi. Our faculty conducted a number of camps for bright school children from Himachal to introduce them to the excitement of science and engineering. EWOK expanded its incubation of businesses by rural women to include horticulture contracting and herbal products. It also offers courses in computer use and spoken English. Our students are an enterprising lot. During 2018, they have been active in a wide range of sports, cultural, technical and other clubs. The activities range from training programmes for freshers, to conducting widely-attended inter-collegiate events. In December, our contingent won 5 medals in atheletics in the Inter-IIT Sports Meet in IIT-Guwahati. It is noteworthy that 3 of these were won by two PG women.

Student Life in 2019

    • 150 alumni to visit our campus for interactions
    • Host one mountain biking event by March
    • Win 10 medals, at least 2 in team events, in the Inter-IIT Sports Meet
    • Incubate 2 start-ups by our students
    • Celebrate the cultural and linguistic diversity that is the hallmark of India
With our sylvan surroundings, many of our faculty and students work on projects related to the environment. Maintaining a green campus despite the construction and human activity is an ongoing priority. In 2018, our Green Committee led the 1st BTech students in planting 700 trees in the North Campus. Both campuses saw 13,000 new shrubs planted. An almost complete ban on the use of disposable cups and plates in the canteens and offices was implemented. Food waste in the mess was reduced to a modest 200g per student per day.

Green Campus in 2019

    • 700 trees to be planted
    • A fully functioning biogas plant
    • Parking – bicycle stands and multi-level parking, electric vehicles for campus commuting, less use of private vehicles
    • Landscaping & beautification of the Village Square and Academic Area, North Campus
• Install solar power/heating in 15 buildings, including several hostels and residences

The year 2019 is my 10th and final year as Director of IIT Mandi. I look forward to spending the year working with every one of the faculty, students, staff and alumni of IIT Mandi and with well-wishers elsewhere in scaling ever more imposing heights. Striving together in the serene Uhl River Valley in the Himalayas, new technologies will emerge for the benefit of India!

With Best Wishes for a Happy and Fulfilling New Year!

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Timothy A. Gonsalves