Rajiv Shekhar

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Materials Science and Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology
Kanpur, U.P., 208016
Ph: +91-512-259-7016
e-mail: vidtan@iitk.ac.in

Infrastructure of new institution

As Chairman of the Project Management Group (2013), I led the development of the master plan of IIT Jodhpur, probably one of the most comprehensive documents of its type for an educational institution in India. This was done without any in-house expertise in master planning, by leading a group of (i) engineers from CPWD, (ii) IIT faculty, (iii) architect and town planner, and (iv) an environmental expert. The salient features of the master plan are:

  • Space design to promote interaction and research collaboration between students and faculty of different disciplines.
  • Measures to stop desertification.
  • Optimize the use of space (as in modular, multi-functional laboratories), water, and energy.
  • I ensured that the master planner submitted a high quality report with detailed quantitative justifications.

Governance systems in new institution

a) As Head of the SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre (2003-06), the IIT Kanpur Business Incubator, I developed the governance system of the Centre from scratch with the help of a young IITK alumnus and a local Chartered Accountant.

  • Incubation
    • Process to select, fund, and facilitate the use of institute laboratories for incubatees.
    • Facilitated professional interaction of incubatees with Institute faculty and staff.
    • Providing professional mentors in fields such as accounts, marketing, and product development.
    • Interaction with external agencies such as banks and Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India to fund incubatees.
  • Sensitize students to entrepreneurship through:
    • “Entrepreneurship Awareness Talk Series” by IIT Kanpur alumni entrepreneurs.
    • Set up multimedia and electronic cells as hobby clubs from which the following prototype products emerged: virtual laboratory experiments, animation video in collaboration with a nationally-recognized business group, and remote monitoring of energy meters through the local area network.
    • Entrepreneurship Internship Program.
    • Funding thesis projects in the Design program related to edutainment, tourist promotion videos, rickshaw for paraplegics, and short documentaries.
  • Encouraging faculty to engage in incubation and commercialization
    • Set up a formal process for evaluating and filing patents.
    • Put in place the methodology for faculty to act as mentors to incubate firms.
    • Established “Commercialization Awareness Talk Series” to make the faculty aware of the roadmap for commercialization of products/technologies developed in the laboratory.
  • Set-up the process of virtual incubation for outstation alumni to become “online” incubatees.

b) Head, Centre for Solar Energy Technologies, IIT Jodhpur

  • Secured a Rs. 40 crore research grant for setting up a Centre of Excellence for Solar Thermal Research and Education at IIT Jodhpur, no mean feat for a new institution.
  • Motivated young faculty from Mechanical engg., Electrical engg., Physics, and Chemistry to participate in the research project.
  • Developed a unique strategy for growth of the Centre which simultaneously focused on value-added applications and designing a solar thermal power system.
  • Promoted significant external collaboration
    • Collaboration with Aditya Birla Science & Technology Company for solar thermal heating of commercial aluminium furnaces.
    • Collaboration with Indian Oil Corp. and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. for setting up experimental solar thermal plant at IIT Jodhpur.
    • Partnership with BARC for setting up a 5 MW molten salt tower demonstration plant at IIT Jodhpur.
    • Setting up an International Centre for Solar Energy Technologies with funding from the Asian Development Bank.
    • Collaboration with STEAG Energy Services (India) Pvt. Ltd. For training engineering college faculty and students on a solar thermal simulator.

Vitality in existing institutions

a) Member, Board of Governors (2011-12), IIT Kanpur

  • Championed greater transparency by taking the lead in disseminating the minutes of the Board of Governors to all employees of IIT Kanpur.
  • Ensured greater due diligence and transparency in planning and bidding approvals for new constructions.
  • Ensure that accountability and due diligence was followed in all BoG decisions.

b) Head, Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering (2006-09), IIT Kanpur.

  • Framed long-term research vision of the department.
  • Introduced a transparent and participative faculty hiring system.
  • Promoted external networking of new faculty.
  • Established department counselling system for academically deficient students.
  • Doubled teaching laboratory facilities and laboratory modernisation.
  • Implemented scheme for optimal deployment and professional development of department laboratory staff.
  • Overhauled laboratory safety systems. Before my term, safety regulations were not in place in the department.

c) Member, Institute Academic Review Committee (2008), IIT Kanpur

  • Part of committee that made the academic curriculum more inter-disciplinary for students by introducing double majors and minors, and putting greater stress on undergraduate research.

d) Coordinator, Small-Scale Industries Cell (2003-06), IIT Kanpur

  • Revived the cell by replacing the unsuccessful training course methodology for personnel from scale-scale industries.
    • New Business Opportunities workshops through sector experts for Small-Scale Industries (SSI) personnel from Kanpur.
    • Skill-based extension courses (e.g., networking, database, chemical analysis) for industry personnel and students from local colleges in Kanpur. This was a different model since the then prevalent model of offering courses for the technical up-gradation of SSI personnel usually did not have any takers.

e) Member, Civil Advisory Committee, Institute Works Department (2000 – 01), IIT Kanpur

  • Led the efforts to improve hostel infrastructure for students.
  • Streamlined procedures to the enhance life of Institute buildings.

Human Resource Skills

a) Head, Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering (2006-09), IIT Kanpur

  • Convinced faculty colleagues to plan infrastructure requirement of the department in a consolidated, rather than individualistic, manner.

b) Currently, mentoring young faculty colleagues to leverage their R&D results into a product for commercialization.

c) Chairman, Health Centre Users Committee (2002–04), IIT Kanpur

  • Implemented a new, cost-efficient health scheme for IIT Kanpur employees, which continues to this day. I had to convince and persuade the non-teaching staff and some doctors to give their assent for switching to the new scheme.
  • Overcame opposition form a large number of employees to introduce generic medicines and rationalized purchase procedure to reduce the institute medicine budget by 20%.

d) Convenor Faculty Forum (2009), IIT Kanpur

  • Part of the pan-IIT team to negotiate terms of VI Pay Commission with HRD minister to ensure that autonomy and flexibility of the IIT system is not curtailed.

Financial management skills

a) Treasurer, Students’ Gymkhana (2000-02), IIT Kanpur

  • Streamlined bookkeeping and stock-keeping of different units of Students’ Gymkhana.
  • Ensured that the accounts of major cultural and technical student festivals closed their account by the end of the academic year.

b) Head, SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre (2003-06), IIT Kanpur

  • Set-up an internal account management system based on Tally.

c) Head, Department of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering (2006-09), IIT Kanpur.

  • Streamlined the accounts and inventory system of the department.
  • Made department finances transparent to the faculty through monthly financial statements. Ours was the only academic department in the institute to implement this measure.

d) Faculty Advisor, Administration (May 2012 – Dec 2013), IIT Jodhpur

  • Simplified the accounting system and purchase procedure by reducing the number of signatures and time involved in transactions.