Universities not mere degree factories: President

Sunday, August 5, 2018

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday said that the best scientific universities and institutions of learning are not just teaching shops or degree factories but increasingly they are sources of innovation and incubators of technology and technology-driven start-ups.

He was speaking at the seventh convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad at Kandi in Sangareddy district near here.

"The knowledge ecosystem of public investments in science, academic institutions and universities, research laboratories, commercial applications and private enterprise has an almost magical potential. Its best example is, of course, Silicon Valley in the US. At the core of Silicon Valley are basic science and technology campuses and their talented faculty and students," he said.

The President advised IIT Hyderabad to remain relevant to the fourth industrial revolution that he said will write the script of the 21st century. He said that as a second generation IIT, it should borrow from as well as learn from the models of the past.

Kovind was happy to note that IIT Hyderabad had made a start by setting up a network of centres for research and promotion of entrepreneurship.

The President said that IIT Hyderabad had been set up in a city and in a metropolitan area where several elements for knowledge ecosystem already exist. Hyderabad had a long tradition of scientific discovery and application, he added.

He noted that in Hyderabad there were as many as 19 research facilities and laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Biotechnology, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Space Research Organisation.

The President said that individually, many of these entities were doing excellent work but there was a need for cross-pollination.

"IIT Hyderabad is not envisaged as just an add-on to this ecosystem. Rather, it needs to be the hub of this ecosystem. It must be the connecting tissue and the catalyst for a greater synergy."

Kovind urged IIT Hyderabad to break out of silos and to encourage others to break out of silos. He said that India will judge the success of IIT Hyderabad by the vitality and the output it can ensure for not just itself but for the entire Hyderabad knowledge ecosystem.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali, Irrigation Minister Harish Rao and others attended the convocation.

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