NEW DELHI: IIT-Ropar is set to get the first visiting faculty from abroad under a special scheme launched by the Centre to appoint globally renowned teachers at institutes of higher learning to raise research standards and improve their global rankings.
Scientist Christopher Berndt of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia—well known in the area of Surface Science and Interface Engineering—is set to join IIT Ropar for a period of three months aiming to create a ‘Joint Institute on Advanced Surface Engineering’.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development, in conjunction with the Department of Science and Technology, had recently launched Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty Scheme that aimed to tap top scientific minds to mentor IIT students.
Overall the government received 260 applications from scientists from other countries with proposals on renewable energy, water, surface transport and other subjects in which India lacks expertise.
“Of them, 70 names had been shortlisted. The final names are now being notified for various IITs,” the official added. “These scientists will guide post-doctoral students at these institutions and exchange ideas with other faculties.”
In 2015, the government had relaxed rules allowing faculties from foreign universities at ranks other than professors to join Indian universities, but it was only with the launch of VAJRA that special emphasis was given on inviting foreign scientists to work as adjunct faculty in Indian institutions.
Last year, the HRD ministry had launched project Viswajeet to improve the global ranking of Indian institutes. Only five institutes—Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and IITs at Bombay, Delhi, Madras and Kanpur—figure in top 200 universities in the world listings.