The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are making various attempts to increase the number of PhD enrolments, including increasing the number of scholarships.
The Kakodhar Committee report had earlier recommended that the number of PhD scholars produced by IITs per year should be increased to 10,000 over the course of the next decade. The new IITs will also play a pivotal role in increasing the numbers.
The IITs are presently producing around 1,000 PhD scholars per year, in engineering and technology.
"This figure is not adequate for a country of our size. Without an adequate number of researchers we will not be able to advance in the sphere of technology," an IIT professor said.
Dean (academic research), IIT Madras, Saritkumar Das said that this year the number of PhD enrolments in the institute had increased to 550 from 363 last year.
This year, 156 PhD scholars graduated from the institute. In fact, the institute is expecting the enrolments to triple in five years.
"From this year a BTech student in his seventh semester can opt for PhD. We are also taking BTech students from outside for PhD programme. But more than the numbers, we are focusing on quality. For researchers academics is not the only career option. Corporate research has a lot of opening for scholars," he said.
Dean of academic affairs in IIT Kanpur, Dheeraj Sanghi, stressed on "marketing of science" and said that there has a 5% increase in PhD enrolments in the last few years.
"This has now increased to 8%. We propose to further increase it to 10%. While in 2012, 110 PhD scholars graduated, this year the number has increased to 120," Sanghi added.
Anurag Sharma, Dean academics, IIT Delhi said that this year there was an enrolment of around 450 for PhD programme. "This is around 8-10% more than last year, which is a positive sign. This has been made possible by several steps including an increase in number of scholarships. Also, now applications for PhDs can be processed anytime."
Dean, Postgraduate Studies & Research of IIT Kharagpur, AN Samanta too said that the number of PhD enrolments has increased from 357 in 2010-11 to 428 in 2012-13.
"Our aim is not just to increase the number but to enhance the quality also. I would say that the trend on our campus is good," said Shiva Prasad, Dean (Academic Programme), IIT Bombay.
Agrees IIT Roorkee director professor Pradipta Banerji. "Every 2 years we will take 600 PhD students. We have to stabilise at a certain level to maintain quality."