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The lightbulbs go off here!

Bright minds bursting with new ideas head for DU’s Cluster Innovation Centre, which even allows them to design their degree.

education Updated: Aug 27, 2013 12:58 IST
Gauri Kohli
Gauri Kohli
Hindustan Times

Right from his school days at DPS, RK Puram, Sahil Mathur has been a keen participant in all activities related to ­mathematics and computer science. “I always aspired to be part of an ­institution where my penchant for technology and science could be fuelled. The Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) at Delhi University gave me an opportunity to sharpen all those big skills I had dreamt of in school. The centre has fantastic linkages which have allowed me to apply what I learnt in class. I pursued projects at numerous ­organisations like Samsung, DRDO, IIT Delhi, and the ­university’s astrophysics department,” says this student of the BTech (innovation with mathematics and information technology programme).

The facilities at centre are very good. “I was a member of a team that represented Delhi University for a robotics ­competition at NASA, where we were the only Indian team to have won awards. The entire robotics and ­electronics of the robot were ­developed at our robotics and AI lab,”Mathur adds.

Students are all praise for the faculty. “There are times when professors sit with us till midnight to meet project deadlines. An ocean of ­distinguished scientists and academicians come for visits and lectures.

The kind of learning when one gets to spend the whole day with a scientist who is ­conducting research at CERN (The European Council for Nuclear Research known for its ­particle accelerators and detectors and quest to find out more about an elusive ‘God particle’) is on a different platform,” adds Mathur.

The BTech humanities course, on the other hand, encourages a student to design his own degree according to his interests. A mentor helps him choose from a variety of courses offered in various colleges.

“So be it the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Stephen’s or Hindu, a student can select the college of his choice. The humanities course at CIC makes research projects mandatory each semester.

After having ­studied semester 1 at CIC, I have moved to SRCC. My ­subjects are business statistics, ­corporate law, income tax law and practise, principles of ­marketing - under BCom (hons). In semester one, I made a film on the iconic Viceregal Lodge in north campus. In the second semester I did research on visual communication through advertisements, street art and graffiti. The research projects are evaluated as full-fledged subjects,” says Divyansh Dev, a second-­semester student of the course.

The course encourages compulsory summer/winter internships and so far the students have interned with organisations such as NTPC Ltd, United Nations, Zee News, Lemon Tree Hotels, Doordarshan and DRDO Labs to name a few.

Programmes: BTech/BS in innovation with mathematics and IT; BTech humanities; and master’s of mathematics education (Meta University conceptwith Jamia Millia Islamia)

USP: “CIC offers a unique opportunity to work on ­innovative solutions on ­real-life problems drawn from society and from industries. A unique pedagogy of trans-disciplinary teaching, experiential and peer-learning and customised teaching on solving real-life problems are its highlights,” says Madan Chaturvedi, director, CIC.

Students of the BTech innovation with maths and IT course have successfully worked on projects to solve drinking water problems in a few rural areas, parking woes, and traffic problems. BTech humanities students have worked on a film on the history of the Viceregal Lodge, a film on Flagstaff Tower, and a project on sign language, among other things.

Faculty: The centre has 32 regular positions at the levels of professors, associate professors and assistant professors which are going to be filled soon. In addition to this the university has appointed 22 very accomplished academicians and professionals as honorary professors, visiting professors and adjunct professors at the centre.

IT quotient: BTech in innovation with maths and IT has a major focus on information technology. CIC has high-class computational facilities with 32 work stations, both Mac and PCs. There is Wi-Fi connectivity on campus. Every student has been provided with laptops. Classrooms are equipped with smartboards, visualisers and presenters, and with video-lecturing facilities. The university is connected with high bandwidth connectivity (more than 1GB) from the National Knowledge Network.

Infrastructure: The ­campus has a good library-cum reading room, computer labs, an engineering kitchen and a robotics lab, among other facilities. A committee room, a seminar room and rooms for faculty, visiting professors, and for industrial collaboration, and a canteen are also available.

Industry-academia link: The CIC has tie-ups with reputed research institutes for interesting academic research at the ­undergraduate level.

CIC was established in September 2011. It works in collaboration with National Innovation Council, government of India

“We would like to see more faculty members and experts at the centre who are more associated with industry,” say students

First Published: Aug 27, 2013 12:54 IST