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Plunge into research and innovation

Shashi Narayan, ranked number one among 17 selected students all over the world for an ERASMUS Mundus scholarship, talks about his journey from a Khagaria school to IIT-K to France and now Malta.

education Updated: Jun 19, 2012 13:46 IST

I am a final-year BTech student of computer science and engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.

My father is a clerk at Sadar Hospital in Khagaria district, Bihar and my mom a housewife. After completing my schooling from Khagaria, I got selected for Super 30, an educational programme in Patna. The programme takes 30 meritorious and talented candidates every year from economically backward sections of society and shapes them for India's most prestigious educational institutions, the Indian Institutes of Technology. I was one of the 26 students of Super 30, who qualified for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination 2005. I entered IIT Kharagpur as a mining engineering student, but my extreme passion for computer science and excellent performance in my freshman year (institute rank: 12th) enabled me to change the department to computer science and engineering.

The Exposure

Studying at IIT Kharagpur has been the most amazing time of my academic life. Exposure to every field of computer science under the esteemed guidance of a world-class faculty helped me realise my field of interests. My experiences at summer school at Microsoft Research India and summer internship at INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) France gave me an insight into the life of research students and helped me realise the dedication required for research. The learning experiences in these diversified academic environments inspired me for higher studies after BTech.

The aim of ERASMUS or European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students programme is to encourage and support academic mobility of higher education students and teachers within the European Union. ERASMUS Mundus is the international version of the ERASMUS programme with the goal oriented towards globalisation of European education. Most of the ERASMUS Mundus programmes are called European Masters and lead to a double Master's degree.

The Opportunity

During my internship at INRIA France, I got to know about this innovative programme. ERASMUS Mundus is an excellent opportunity for Indian students. I got many opportunities to discuss ERASMUS Mundus with some ERASMUS faculty members and students. And I can speak with full confidence that ERASMUS Mundus offers top class education and training opportunities for the next generation of leaders in research and innovation. It is designed to meet the demands of research and industry in growing areas.

I have been selected for ERASMUS Mundus European Masters programme in language and communication technologies for 2009-11. I came to know about my selection in April. It was really great. I am really happy. The scholarship pays 21,000 euros a year. I shall be pursuing my Master's at the University of Malta (first year) and University of Nancy 2, France (second year). These are the two partner universities of this programme.

Language and communication technologies occupy a central position in research and education in Europe. They are key enabling technologies for numerous applications related to the information society, intelligent web search and semantic web, automated dialogue, and language learning. These two universities played important roles in producing qualified researchers and developers to fulfil the requirements of this rapidly growing area. Coordinating department of artificial intelligence at University of Malta and research team TALARIS at University of Nancy have been the centre point of these innovations in Europe.

After post-graduation, I plan to do PhD -- haven't decided where -- as I wish to be a researcher.