IIT Kharagpur students can earn credits by making the campus greener

IIT-KGP will now offer students credits and projects to come up with practical solutions to environmental problems.

IIT Kharagpur students can earn credits by making the campus greener
By Anam Naqvi updated on 28-Jun-2014            

Although IIT-Kharagpur has the second largest campus in India, it cannot yet call itself a clean and green campus. IIT-KGP had banned the use of plastic cups and packets in 2008, and to decrease pollution further it had also banned the use of motor bikes. But students, even then, failed to contribute to making the campus greener. 

With about 10,000 students that live on the campus at their disposal, the administration decided to start an Innovation Grant. “Getting students involved in green campus initiatives works better than enforcing discipline—after all, how much can you dictate young adults? Hands on involvement becomes learning which they carry for life,” says Professor Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director of IIT Kharagpur, who is leading the institutions’ green initiatives.

If you want to get into an IIT and build a career in environmental research then knowing IIT-KGP grant may help you in the early years as a student.

Why the grant

The Innovation Challenge Grant was introduced as a research initiative under IIT-KGP’s Vision 2020 programme. Chakrabarti felt the need to involve students more actively in the effort to make an eco-friendly campus. At the same time instituting an incentive to students to increase participation and practical use of knowledge was important.

Vision 2020 is a wider initiative which aims at catapulting IIT Kharagpur to the league of the world’s top 20 science and technology institutions in the next 20 years. Professor Chakrabarti explains that Innovation Challenge Grant fits in the Research Excellence theme, one of the six transformational themes identified to achieve Vision 2020. Universities like Harvard University and Colorado State University have also implemented transformational green initiatives.

What you should know

The details of the grant are given below:

Funding: Rs 45 lack from the Vision 2020 funds has been set aside for the Innovation Challenge Grant for the current fiscal year.

Designing the Initiative: Innovation Challenge Grant’s rules stipulate that each green project that is chosen will be funded for a maximum period of three years (over three stages). Proposals that move past the first evaluation round will receive seed money.

The students will have to use this money to make working models of their ideas in six months. After a second round of evaluation the selected projects will be funded to move to the prototype level. Another evaluation round will be held after this and prototypes that enter the final stage will become full fledged research projects and be funded for field implementation.

The Innovation Challenge Grant is an ongoing project under Vision 2020. Calls for proposals will be made every year.

Identifying the problem areas: The major environmental issues prevalent in the campus have been furnished in a list as areas that need work. "To point students in the right direction, the list consists of possible technological solutions as well,” says Professor Chakrabati.

A few of the areas are: utilising plastic waste in road construction, using hostel kitchen waste for biogas generation and installing solar energy panels in hostels to save energy. Other areas of concern are: reducing the water used in hostels, cutting down the electricity wasted in the library, planning a chemical waste collection system, planning for groundwater pollution control, improving the design of garbage bins, improving the handling, utilisation and disposal of electronic waste, evaluating and reducing the campus’s carbon footprint, designing and planning a street lighting system.

Setting Guidelines: The Innovation Challenge Grant requires students to get completely involved in the area of their choice. If the preferred subject is biogas generation through hostel kitchen waste, then the first step is to quantify the waste being generated in different hostels and examine the feasibility of converting it into biogas.

Also, the research will not stop at the point where biogas is generated but also determine how it will be used and distributed.  “Back of the envelope calculations or theoretical solutions will not work. Students must get fully immersed in the problem they are addressing and visualise the usage of the solution,” explains Professor Chakrabarti.

Groups of students can compete in the grant and also take help from faculty. According to Professor Chakrabarti, “The idea is to get students and faculty working together, researching ways to make the campus greener, cleaner and more energy-efficient.”

Criteria for selecting projects: Student groups and their mentors will jointly formulate and submit project proposals for evaluation. The best proposals will be chosen based on practicality, feasibility and review by subject experts.

Credit award system: To attract more students to participate, the academic committee is working on devising a system by which participating students can earn academic credits for their research work.

The work done under the Innovation Challenge Grant may also count towards their independent/course-linked/final year project work. All students whose projects reach the final stage will receive project performance awards which includes certification.

How it will help

Working on projects which look for practical solutions to environmental problems will equip you to work in a world where saving the environment has become imperative. If you are interested in a job that will deal with environmental innovation then this grant would be a good way to understand your strengths and get rewarded.


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Tips that will help you in the race for a top notch institute

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Tips that will help you in the race for a top notch institute
By Pick-a-College updated on 10-Jul-2014

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IIT Kharagpur students can earn credits by making the campus greener

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IIT-KGP will now offer students credits and projects to come up with practical solutions to environmental problems.