The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur has approved setting up two new departments in the fields of Design, and Space Science and Astronomy, making the total tally to 20 academic departments. The decision was taken on the Board of Governors meeting on January 12, 2022, to approve a proposal for transforming the existing Design Programme into a full-fledged Department and setting up a new Department of Space Science and Astronomy devoted to the broad field of Space, Planetary, Astronomical Sciences and Engineering.
Speaking on the announcement, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur said, “IIT Kanpur firmly believes in diversity of education. We have been continuously revamping our curricula periodically to better suit the changing education ecosystem of the country and the setting up of new departments is also part of that process. I believe these two new departments in the fields of Design, and Space Science and Astronomy will facilitate new research and innovation in these crucial sectors and would broaden up the ever-expanding horizon of research and learning practiced at IIT Kanpur.”
IIT Kanpur has been running a very successful Design Programme since 2002. With its transformation into the Department of Design, IITK will now offer new, exciting, and comprehensive possibilities for students, industry, and researchers, so that human needs can be addressed in much better ways. With the creation of the Department of Design, IIT Kanpur is planning to launch a Bachelor of Design program starting as early as 2023. The new Department will also expand its very popular Master of Design program, which in past has attracted recruiters from Microsoft, Nokia, Google, Oracle, Infosys, TCS, etc., to even higher levels. The Department will also enhance its existing PhD program.
The Design Department will be headed by Prof. Nachiketa Tiwari, the current Head of the Design Programme. It will have a Design Cell to address needs of the industry in areas of new product conceptualization and development, product design, engineering design, branding, user-experience, and packaging. The Department will also develop strong collaborative relationships with internationally prestigious design schools such as the ones at Stanford University, Alto University, and Georgia Tech.
The Department of Space Science and Astronomy will be devoted to the broad field of Space, Planetary, Astronomical Sciences and Engineering. This will be one of the first-of-its-kind departments in India to bring together engineers, astronomers, astrophysicists, and planetary scientists in order to meet the growing requirement of education, training and research in some vital areas of research, such as, Instrumentation for space missions and Astronomical observatories, Spacecraft design, and Space Mission planning, among others.
The department will allow exploratory efforts in the field of Space Science to answer some pertinent questions such as, whether there is life in outer space, whether other planets are inhabitable, the science behind black holes, or whether asteroids can be mined or not, etc. The department will make important contributions towards enriching our understanding of the Universe, the solar system and all the other celestial objects by attracting faculties and researchers who work in these new and emerging areas of research.
The department will offer both undergraduate and graduate degree programs (Masters and Ph.D.), with students having opportunities to participate in ongoing (Astrosat, Chandrayaan 2) and upcoming (Aditya L1, Gaganyaan) space missions. The students will have career opportunities to work for space organizations, such as the ISRO, and private space companies in India and abroad.
Continuing its relentless foray into diverse areas of research and innovation, IIT Kanpur, in recent years, has launched several academic initiatives. In the last two years from 2020 till the start of this year, the institute has approved four new departments, including the recent two, making the tally to 20 full-fledged academic departments. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the institute established two new departments: Department of Sustainable Energy Engineering with the aim of becoming a vital contributor to the nation’s growing clean and renewable energy sector and Department of Cognitive Science as a foray into an interdisciplinary study of mind. Apart from that, last year, IIT Kanpur has launched a diploma programme in geodesy, the science of measuring the Earth under the Earth Sciences Department; new courses in Statistics and Data Science; ‘Honours’ and ‘Inter-Departmental’ Degrees under revamped B. Tech curriculum; and four new e-Masters degrees for working professionals, among others. These continuous evolutionary practices in broadening the research and learning sphere at IIT Kanpur bears testimony to the institute’s resolve in strengthening the holistic R&D ecosystem of the country.