The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras launched ‘Young Research Fellow’ (YRF) programme in the lines of ‘Super-UROP’ programme at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Any third-year undergraduate and dual degree students of IIT-Madras or other institutes can apply for this programme.
This is a year-long programme and up to 20 fellowships are being planned to be awarded in the first year. The programme will encourage multi-disciplinary projects. It offers one-on-one interaction with the IIT faculty members, to participate in research and offer a ‘career and life coaching’ (CLIC) programme offered by the 1979 alumni and curated by expert professional coaches.
Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director IIT-Madras, said, “IIT-M is very much a research-intensive university where world-class research is a daily pursuit. This programme blends these two strengths by giving selected undergraduate students an opportunity to discover the excitement of research early.”
Speaking about this initiative, Prof Anantha Chandrakasan, Dean of Engineering, MIT, who founded the ‘Super-UROP’ program at MIT, and advised on the creation of YRF programme, said, “I wish you all success for the YRF programme. Involving undergraduates in research will foster an appreciation for deeper learning and innovation, enabling their success in a wide array of career paths, including graduate studies.”
The students selected into the programme will be paid a monthly honorarium, provided research guidance by IIT-M faculty, and will participate in an interactive lecture series on research skills. They can also avail of mentorship by the alumni batch of 1979. “The Young Research Fellows will be strongly encouraged to publish their findings in reputed peer-reviewed international journals and to present their work at high-quality international conferences for which they will receive travel support,” the IIT-Madras said in an official statement.
The IIT-M YRF programme has already received a lot of encouragement and shows of support, with industry and academic partners expressing keen interest, the institute claims.
“The year-long unique programme is designed to provide immersive and intense scientific exploration opportunities to the students, with the participants executing research projects in any academic department or across departments for inter-disciplinary projects,” the IIT said in an official statement.
Prof Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “The class of 1979 has championed a unique programme that is both timely and innovative. At a time when India is talking of self-reliance, this programme aims to create an interest in deep tech research among some of the best and brightest students in India.”
The IIT-M YRF was conceptualised by the alumni batch of 1979. The ’79ers’ — with a team spanning nearly 30 members spread across 10 teams — have handled various elements including program structure, fund-raising, financial strategy planning, and marketing for the program, as per the institute.
Subrahmanyam Dravida from the Class of 1979, who is Vice-President, Technology at Qualcomm based in Boston MA, said, “We wanted to give back to IIT-Madras by designing a programme that will deepen the undergraduate experience through immersion in research. We hope this program also enhances the overall research environment at IIT. YRF will also allow students from other colleges to participate.”
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