Encouraging students’ involvement in R&D key to foster innovation culture: DRDO chief at IIT-Mandi

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New Delhi: Encouraging students’ involvement in research and development is the key to fostering a culture of innovation, DRDO Chairman Samir V Kamat said on Tuesday.

Kamat was addressing a gathering during the 15th foundation day celebrations of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Mandi.

“Encouraging students’ involvement in R&D (research and development) is key to fostering a culture of innovation. Leveraging engineering talent is imperative for our transition to a developed economy,” the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief said.

“Amid the serene Himalayan backdrop, taking the prime minister’s vision to be a world leader by 2047, IIT-Mandi is rapidly evolving into a technological landscape. The collaboration between DRDO and academia is vital for research and development, paving the path for a leader in defence in this constantly-evolving technological development,” he added.

IIT-Mandi Director Laxmidhar Behera said the institute has ambitious plans to expand the faculty and student strength, with a focus on inclusivity and accessibility.

“Our ongoing projects, such as the construction of new hostels, academic blocks and sports facilities, underscore our commitment to providing a conducive learning environment for all. Furthermore, our Green Committee’s proactive efforts in environmental conservation have earned us accolades such as the prestigious ‘Green University’ award at COP28,” he said.

Last year, IIT-Mandi secured significant external funding through 63 sponsored projects worth more than Rs 29.62 crore and 47 consultancy projects amounting to over Rs 2.21 crore.

On the outreach front, IIT-Mandi organised numerous national and international seminars, conferences and workshops, facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration among scholars, researchers and professionals.

“The Centre for Continuing Education is playing a pivotal role in extending the institute’s impact beyond academia, offering a diverse array of educational opportunities, and fostering lifelong learning within the regional community,” Behera said.

“Along with this, the Technology Business Incubator, IIT-Mandi Catalyst, is serving as a dynamic hub for nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation, providing start-ups with essential support services, funding opportunities and industry partnerships to thrive in the competitive landscape,” the institute director added.

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