IIT Madras launches 15 centres of Excellence as part of Institute of Eminence

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Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) launched 15 Centres of Excellence (CoE) as part of the ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE) Scheme at an event held at the campus today (24th May 2023).

These Centres will be undertaking cutting-edge research to develop next-generation technologies and create a significant impact not just in India but internationally as well.

The IoE Scheme was launched by the Government of India to empower Higher Educational Institutions to become world-class teaching and research institutions. IIT Madras, one of the pre-eminent institutions in India, was chosen in 2019. It has established several research initiatives in diverse fields with funds from IoE grants.

The financial support through IoE will enable IIT Madras faculty members to pursue ambitious research goals, undertake cutting-edge projects and attract top talent to work on ground- breaking research topics.

IIT Madras had identified 68 research initiatives across 21 technology clusters in diverse fields in Phase I. Through an extensive and rigorous review process, the Institute shortlisted 15 Centres of Excellence within the IIT Madras system alongside 23 Research Centres and 10 Research Projects in Phase II.

These research initiatives encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines and involve over 400 faculty members. By fostering interdisciplinary research, they facilitate collaborations that can lead to ground-breaking discoveries, innovations, and advancements in key areas.

Addressing the launch event, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “A substantial amount of the IoE funding has been invested in the development of research. We had a first set of exploratory research grant through which around 68 projects had been funded. Based on the deliverables of those projects, we shortlisted 15 for which today we are announcing the ‘Centre of Excellence’ status. These centres are expected to become world class and bring eminence to the Institute.”

Prof. V. Kamakoti said, “These centres are predominantly interdisciplinary, involving faculty from more than three departments and working on niche technologies. As an example, we have CoEs on Quantum Diamond and Emergent Material, electronics, and aerospace engineering, among others, touching all departments of the Institute. The outcome from these centres is envisaged to have multiple ideas that are state-of-the-art that can lead to extensive commercialization, product development, and technologies. We are looking at several start-ups to come from these CoEs and extensive collaboration with the Industry.”

Prof. V. Kamakoti added, “I also thank Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi (Former Director) who conceived this idea, and the Ministry of Education for recognizing IIT Madras as an ‘Institute of Eminence’.”

These CoEs are dedicated to specific areas of study and are expected to reach the top five in the world in terms of research and innovation. They are intended to serve as hubs of excellence, attracting top talent and foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

Speaking later, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Institute Professor, and Former Director, IIT Madras, said, “We wanted breakthroughs in research by discovering teams that have a critical mass of faculty with demonstrated capacity to achieve results and have audacious goals. This has to be in emerging areas...In the next five years, we have definitely expect at least half-a- dozen or more world-class CoEs. Some of the external reviewers of these Centre Proposals told us that few of these centres can already be considered among the top ten globally.”

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi added, “IIT Madras must succeed in its IoE Mission not just to meet the expectations of the IoE program but to reinvigorate the quest of our pioneers. We must vigorously build instruments and collect primary data.”

The IoE funding will facilitate stronger collaborations with industry partners, leading to technology transfer and commercialization of research outcomes. The Institute envisions successful partnerships with corporations, start-ups and industry leaders, resulting in the development of cutting-edge technologies, products, and solutions that address real-world challenges and contribute to economic growth.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Raghunathan Rengasamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras, said, “The IoE funding has not only had a direct impact on our research output but has also elevated our global standing and reputation. It has positioned IIT Madras as a leading institution for transformative research and innovation, attracting collaborations with renowned researchers and institutions from around the world. These collaborations have further enhanced our research capabilities, expanded our knowledge base, and opened doors to new opportunities for our faculty and students.”

Further, Prof. Raghunathan Rengasamy said, “In addition to our research initiatives, IIT Madras places great emphasis on fostering international collaborations and promoting global academic mobility. Through robust partnerships with renowned universities and research institutions worldwide, we engage in collaborative research projects, joint publications, and knowledge exchange programs. These international faculty collaborations have proven invaluable, offering diverse perspectives, expanding networks, and resulting in joint research publications and intellectual contributions of global recognition.”

The goal is not only to achieve individual research milestones but also to create an environment of cross-cultural collaboration and learning, thereby fostering overall growth and development. The IoE funding has also facilitated the establishment of state-of-the-art infrastructure, research facilities, and technology platforms, which are instrumental in driving scientific advancements.

The funds allocated through the IoE Initiatives at IIT Madras have been primarily utilized for purchasing capital equipment and supporting research-related expenses. These strategic investments have enabled the Institute researchers to access state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, empowering them to conduct cutting-edge experiments and analyses that push the boundaries of knowledge.

The 15 Centres of Excellence that are being inaugurated are

1. Critical Transitions in Complex Systems

2. NDE 5.0 – Industrial Assets and Process Management

3. Centre of Excellence on Molecular Materials and Functions

4. Technologies for Low Carbon and Lean Construction

5. Healthcare and Assistive Technologies

6. Maritime Experiments to Maritime Experience

7. Centre for Quantum Information, Communication and Computing

8. Sports Science and Analytics

9. Centre for Soft Matter

10. Center of Excellence in RF, Analog, and Mixed Signal ICs

11. Atomistic Modelling and Materials Design

12. Geophysical Flows Lab

13. Centre for Cancer Genomics and Molecular Therapeutics

14. Quantum Center for Diamond and Emergent Materials

15. Energy Consortium


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