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Ramgopal Rao says Creativity and Innovation are two sides of the Same Coin

"We will soon be launching a Phd incubator wherein we will have 50 Phd holders converting their ideas and technologies that they have worked with", says Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi.

By Reetika BoseFeature Writer

One of the pathfinders of Indian Nano fabrication, Ramgopal Rao, was the first elected Chairman for the Indian Section of the American Nano Society. He is also the recipient of multiple prizes including the Swarnajayanti Fellowship in 2004, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in 2005.

At the Indian Education Congress 2018, we were in talks with Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, where he gave an insight about the changes that Entrepreneurial education brings along in the sector. He is hopeful of the fact that innovation can lead to major changes in the Higher Education sector and the process has already begun.

Innovation in the Higher Education

Few institutions are rich or self-sustaining, while many face severe squeezes on costs. Despite high hopes, only a handful has actually made a surplus from their technology transfer and spin-out activities.

“With the ongoing scenario, things are changing very rapidly even in IIT’s, a system that I represent”, said Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi. “For example, Creativity and Innovation in our higher education is becoming as important as literacy at the grassroots level. A lot of initiatives are being taken in IIT Delhi; one of our goals is to connect the students and the faculty with the society on a higher scale”, said Prof. Rao.

There are initiatives which we are hoping will make a big impact. We are focusing on Technology innovation, the tech startups, stressing on which he said,” We will soon be launching a PhD incubator wherein we will have 50 PhD holders converting their ideas and technologies that they have worked with.

The startup ecosystem

Rao went on to pitch for a good startup environment in all the IIT’s in India. “The kind of quality students we attract here in IIT simply makes them the job providers and not job searchers. The startup culture is progressing very well. In another 10 years, a complete transformation of the IIT system will be playing a major lead role and these sums up of us being in the right track”, said Ramgopal Rao.

In this era of strife and steep competition, it is prudent to groom students from a younger age, for them to gain an edge over competition as in this rat race called life, only the fit survive and thrive.

The Entrepreneurial hub

Education has always been the backbone support to expansion of economy, augmenting the standard of living alongside broadening perspective. Yet, the question of its practicality still remains, with students often scoring well in their boards but failing miserably in the test called life. “This is the point where one needs entrepreneurial zeal to be the driver of change, said the Director, IIT Delhi.”

“IIT Delhi has a very good ecosystem for startups and innovation and that is something that we are further building on. We have started a course on Entrepreneurship to formally teach students the basics of starting a company out of an idea and in a way accelerate the process of innovation. Our process of Teacher training selection is very rigorous. We give our faculty the freedom to explore their area of interest and accordingly excel in it. Pushing the boundaries that make them live up to the standards”, concluded Prof. Rao.

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