Dr. S. Sundar Manoharan, Director-General, Pandit Deendayal Energy University

Spread across a 100-acre campus, with an opulent source of greenery and freshness, the Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU) makes it to the list of Must-Watch Colleges in Gujarat. The University has been awarded prestigious “Centre of Excellence” status by Government of Gujarat and secured its position in Top 100 Universities in India. Equipped with facilities like no other, the university caters to more than 6900 students, including 270+ students from 40 foreign countries. “PDEU has developed a vibrant campus with advanced facilities and technologies on its campus. It has set up state-of-the-art laboratories in each discipline with support from industries, knowledge partners, and internationally renowned University partners,” shares Dr. S. Sundar Manoharan, the Director-General at PDEU. 

The institute has transformed itself into a nurturing ground for hybrid learning by developing cutting-edge digital infrastructure with up-to-date research and an educational curriculum to promote and facilitate research and learning. Thus, PDEU has become synonymous with a student paradise for higher education and learning. With furnished hostel rooms, various food courts, a sports complex, gymnasiums, a medical store, a book store, and other essential amenities, PDEU has become one of the choicest universities in Gujarat. This Wi-Fi-enabled campus is a safe heaven for students from all around the globe, with 24/7 security and CCTV surveillance. 

Bridging the global gap 

As we live in this global village, there is an increasing need to shape students into global citizens. With international collaborations and exposure programs, many students are equipping themselves with flexibility and adapting to changing times. PDEU facilitates and encourages them to step forward into International Exchange Programmes and be prepared for dynamic international careers. Since 2010, the university has partnered with numerous universities abroad to Summer Internships and Research Programmes. “It was designed in such a way that students get an exposure academically, technically and culturally with the intent to create and promote a collaborative academic and Research platform at some of the finest universities in the world,” shares Dr. Manoharan. 

The International Exposure Programme allows students to explore global technologies, improve their communication skills, self-esteem, creativity, and leadership skills. As budding professionals, these are the skills that employers look for. With an international scope, students can be trained in international business and sculpt and perfect their skills in advanced research and development. More than 750 students participated in international conferences, and the university spent more than Rs. 1.3 Crores (approx. US$17,000) to support their travel.  Through classroom sessions, practical classes, industrial visits, experts from the industry, and research-oriented workshops, the university makes sure that students are subjected to different cultures and best practices to become successful engineers, scientists, and business professionals. 

Holistic Growth and Development

PDEU believes that students have a right to use all the resources available to them. In this regard, the university has gone above and beyond to make these resources readily available for all students. With accreditation from NAAC and recognition for SIRO, NBA, and AIU, the Pandit Deendayal Energy University provides scholarships for deserving students and grants for those who excel at research. To get students excited about learning, there are over 35 student activity clubs that open up many opportunities for them to think and explore their creativity. In addition, the university also provides an Innovation and Incubation Center to boost their entrepreneurial spirits. Students have the opportunity to intern at multiple companies in both rural and corporate sectors, including industry project opportunities and student research funding up to Rs. 250,000. The infrastructure also includes state-of-the-art laboratories, Residential premium facilities with covid safety measures, cafeteria facilities, sports facilities, and much more. A women’s cell, an anti-ragging policy, and COVID safety measures have been adopted to ensure safety. 

Through the act of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, the Pandit Deendayal Energy University was established in 2007, with the provision to have diversity and scholarship for building a prominent talent base in the energy sector. By evolving with the times, PDEU was conceived as a university of transformation that would focus on energy, academics, and research. As years went by, they included fields of humanities and renewable energy sources. Today, the university has marked its presence as a renowned institution with noteworthy national and international visibility. 

Ranked the No.1 Private University in Gujarat, PDEU is proud of its NAAC ‘A’ Grade Accreditation with CGPA 3.39/4.0 from 2015 and for being the only private University in Gujarat to get the graded autonomy status by University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2018. The university has been awarded ‘Centre of Excellence Status’ by the Government of Gujarat. “It has undertaken extensive research in the area of renewable energy sources, with 8 International Level Centres of Excellence and Innovation and Incubation Centre (IIC). Apart from this, International Exposure Programs (IEP), State of the art Infrastructure, Laboratories, On-Campus Residential Facilities, Green Campus, Diversity of students and Global Collaborations with Universities abroad, has been the steps towards success for PDEU,” says Dr. Manoharan. 

So far, the university has helped more than 100 researchers, entrepreneurs, and research projects as a way to encourage students to participate and engage in their fields. “At PDEU, understanding the need of the hour, special emphasis is given to developing the ‘observational power’ and ‘sharpening the problem-solving approach’ as this creates a foundation for achieving excellence. It is focused on developing an intentional, aligned, and integrated culture that radiates the beliefs, values, and life skills for the youth to be successful,” Dr. Manoharan shares. 

PDEU also provides scholarships to deserving students and exposure and facilities for them to grow. They offer 5 categories of scholarships for undergraduate students for merit, SC and STs, and female students. The university provides financial aid for candidates with qualified and valid GATE scores for MTech students. It also offers assistance to Ph.D. students for resources as per its availability in the name of fellowship, who would qualify as per the norms specified below on a merit basis. 

PDEU provides its learners with a perfect blend of pristine environment and modern technology, enabling a dynamic learning experience and turning students into potential professionals. The university has an excellent infrastructure with proper maintenance facilities offering students an ideal platform for excelling their performance. Be it festivals, sports, or various programs/events, the students actively participate and win awards for the university. With more than 40 student clubs, students take an active role in the club functioning as a Core Executive Member and participate in the activities organized by other clubs. There are 3 major festivals: Flare, Tesseract, and Petro Cup organized annually, where students from different colleges across the country participate. 

Initiatives towards securing ‘Energy for All’

As natural resources are depleting every day, it has become the need of the hour to find alternative energy sources to make our planet greener and reduce our carbon footprint. PDEU was established to focus on renewable energy and drive prominent research into the field. “PDEU has completed extensive research on new energy sources. The Centre of Excellence in Geothermal Energy (CEGE) has conducted exploration surveys for geothermal prospects in several parts of Gujarat and has drilled two shallow wells in the Dholera region in India’s west. It has established first-of-their-kind projects on heating and cooling in Dholera, honey-processing, and balneology using geothermal water,” Dr. Manoharan says. He adds, “The Centre for Biofuel & Bio-Energy Studies (CBBS) has developed expertise in designing energy-efficient biodiesel processes. This includes an energy-efficient biodiesel reactor unit that is capable of producing biodiesel from readily available Indian feedstocks, facilitating a reduction in dependency on imported fossil fuel and increased self-sufficiency in the Indian energy sector. PDEU also has a Solar Research Development Centre, a 1 MW solar power plant, and a 1.5MW rooftop facility.”

Disruptive Industry 4.0 Technologies

To cater to student exposure and give them hands-on experience, the university has partnered with a variety of companies and organizations. It has collaborated with Maruti Suzuki and the Government of Gujarat to create the International Automobile Centre of Excellence (iACE) in order to teach students about automotive manufacturing and electronics. Similarly, the university is working towards setting up a 45MW assembly and manufacturing unit for monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic solar panels to demonstrate solar cell to panel integration, lamination, and electroluminescence testing process.

Apart from Maruti Suzuki, PDEU also has collaboration with Reliance Industries, Torrent Power Limited, Jubilant Oil and Gas, Shell Total, Cairn India, Siemens, Hitachi, Adani Ports, and many other leading companies in the field of energy and resources. PDEU also has Prof. Surendra Singh Kuchhwaha as Suzlon Chair Professor. He has vast experience in the application of evaporative cooling, sprays, ice slurry generation technology, cascaded refrigeration system, biodiesel production techniques, waste heat recovery systems, renewable energy-based poly-generation systems, and resource assessment of offshore renewable energy (solar, wind and wave).

“PDEU has received more than Rs. 200 Crore (approx. YS$27 million) for Centre of Excellence Projects and 60 ongoing projects being sponsored by government and private entities. The university is contributing to the ATMANIRBHAR BHARAT INITIATIVE through its Centres of Excellence, including recent addition of Metal 3D printing facility dedicated to the nation for research in Energy, Healthcare, Automotive and Aerospace Sector,” shares Dr. Manoharan. 

With an idea to transform the energy and potential of young students, the PDEU Innovation and Incubation Center (IIC) was established in 2014. It was then legally registered as a Section 8 company in 2017 to support budding entrepreneurs, innovators, and technologists to drive business ventures and initiatives. For 3 consecutive years, from 2017 to 2019, the center was recognized as the “Incubation Centre of the Year with Prominent IP Culture” by Intellectual Property Protection Organization (IPPO) in IP fest.

Through its extraordinary efforts to make the university stand out, many accolades have been awarded to PDEU, including the ARIIA Ranking in 2021 that ranked the university as 5th under University / Deemed University category. The institute was awarded as the Best Performing Private University under the Private University category at the SSIP Prashana Awards organized by the Education Department of the Government of Gujarat for 2019 and 2020.

Interactive Learning

PDEU spreads its belief in active and continuous interactions with industry players to build stronger bases and long-term professional relationships by conducting various activities like guest lectures, seminars, workshops, industry visits, and short-term training programs. “This Industry connect helps the university to facilitate Industry exposure to the students. This exposure allows students to apply technical knowledge to real-life situations and problems. Industrial training is an experience where a student closely works with other professionals and follows instructions to get insights about the operations,” Dr. Manoharan shares. 

The immense success of the students and the initiatives at the university to cater to student needs and holistic development can be attributed to the diverse faculty that PDEU employs. With over 500 faculty and staff from reputed national and international universities, 200 guest faculty from the industry and over 250 research scholars, the university prides itself on the support that students receive from them. 75% of this faculty body are qualified with doctorate degrees from prestigious universities of national and international repute. Faculty with their experience and immense subject knowledge in specialized fields play a vital role in upbringing students’ development. At PDEU, researchers and students collaborate with industry and government to create innovative solutions merging engineering and creativity, theory and practice, and university and society. Experts from industry and academia and members from our Board of Studies provide scientific advice to craft the curriculum to meet industrial requirements.

With the third wave looming worldwide, stricter measures have been adopted to increase security and safety. As the world continues to vaccinate itself, PDEU has been taking steps to reduce the spread of the disease by organizing Vaccination drives on campus, continuing to follow COVID protocols in addition to sustaining online teaching and using Microsoft teams and google classrooms. “The University provided Coursera access during the difficult time of pandemic to all the students along with NPTEL (National Programme on Technology-enhanced learning) / SWAYAM platform courses for Credit Transfer. All the Classrooms have been equipped and integrated for hybrid learning since the first Unlock during the pandemic. Faculty members conducted the classes from campus while students attended the same from Home through Microsoft Teams/ Google Classroom. Over the last year, more than 11200 lectures have been administered over hybrid mode from the classroom at the campus,” Dr. Manoharan says. 

In recent years, the university has transformed the teaching-learning process, making it more adaptable for future generations. With the change in how concepts are taught and learned, the objective of grooming students has taken a paradigm shift for the future. Now, with the hybrid approach to learning, syllabi have been designed to incorporate STEM subjects and integrate them with practical learning. 10% of total classes are delivered by experts from industry/academia who are invited to share their experiences. This is done practically for all subjects & it is facilitated by concerned faculty taking the subject. With all this in mind, PDEU continues to work towards creating a space safe for students to explore their creativity and innovative ideas. 


About Dr. S. Sundar Manoharan

Dr. S. Sundar Manoharan, a renowned Educationist, Scientist, and Administrator, obtained his doctoral degree from the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore in 1991. After his post-doctoral fellowship, he served at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur as a Professor between 1996 to 2014 and as the Vice-Chancellor of Karunya University, Coimbatore, Periyar Maniammai University, and at Sathyabama University between Feb 2014 till Feb 2020. He has over 30 years of extensive experience in teaching and research in Material science and Nanotechnology. He was deputed from IIT-Kanpur to be the Founder Director of UGC funded 100 Crore project to establish the National Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the University of Mumbai premises in 2012-2014. He served as a visiting professor in internationally reputed institutions, including NUS Singapore, University of California-Berkeley, Max Planck Institute-Germany, Imperial College-London, and the University of Maryland-USA. In the recent past, he has held several administrative positions including, being a member of the Project Advisory Committee at DST & DRDO Funding Agencies.

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