Report of the Professor R. P. Singh Committee, 1974

R E P O R T
On the Establishment of an INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH & CONSULTANCY CENTRE
At Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, December 1974
The following committee was appointed by the Director on September 10, 1974, to prepare a report on the establishment of an Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre at this Institute.
  1. Prof. M. V. Hariharan
  2. Prof. A. K. Malik
  3. Prof. N. Ramaswamy
  4. Prof. S. K. Raman
  5. Prof. C. K. Ramesh
  6. Prof. R. P. Singh – Convener

The committee met several times and had deliberations on the various points connected with the establishment of an Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre. Various implications in connection with the establishment of the Centre were discussed by the committee. The committee has finally prepared a report which is submitted. The committee has not tried to spell out minor details which can be worked out as the Centre takes shape. Only a broad outline and general scope have been presented in this report.
Signed by

  1. M. V. Hariharan
  2. A. K. Mallik
  3. N. Ramaswamy
  4. S. K. Raman
  5. C. K. Ramesh
  6. R. P. Singh

I. Introduction
The All India Council of Technical Education considered the question of setting up inter-links between the technical education and research on one side and the industry on the other, at its meeting held on May 17, 1974. The Council considered it absolutely necessary to develop a system of education where some joint effort with industry is involved. This, in their opinion, will help the students and equip them to be able to take up development research and consultancy work of interest to industry. The Council also emphasized the need that the institutions ensure that there is a continuing exchange of expertise and experience between the institutions and industry through guest speakers, seminars and workshops etc. between the faculty and students on one hand and the appropriate industrial undertakings on the other.
The Council made the following recommendations:

  1. The Council recommended that the technical institutions should accept the responsibility within the limitation of resources and the range of expertise available with them, to initiate concerted efforts by organizing cooperative programmes like apprenticeship training, sandwich courses and practice schools, reviewing course content from time to time to meet the operational and design requirements of industry, organizing short term progrmmes including non-formal education for serving personnel from industry, assigning specific projects on live problems of industry to students and organizing special seminars/symposia with participants from institutions and industry.
  2. It also recommended that teachers in technical institutions should be encouraged to undertake consultancy practices in accordance with the normal rules accepted by the Government.
    The Council also observed that the institution-based consultancy practice is most essential to keep the faculty alive to the needs of the industry. It contributes to faculty development and thus improves the effectiveness of teaching and the standards of technical education as well. It also helps to recruit well qualified, competent, motivated and practicing engineers to the faculty.
    It felt that several technological institutions like ours in the country have gathered teams of highly qualified scientists and engineers and possess modern sophisticated equipment and other facilities. In their opinion, the expertise and facilities available, however, are not fully and effectively utilized although sizeable research and consultancy work is being carried out at some of these places. Efforts should be made to achieve better results.
    The industry in their opinion is not completely aware of the expertise available in these institutions and is not sure about the extent to which an individual institution can contribute to the solution of problems encountered in industrial development and growth. Each institution has, therefore, to project out an adequate image of the expertise and capabilities for extension service and spell out the help it can render for the solution of problems faced by industry.
    Based on the above observation of the All India Council of Technical Education, it has been accepted by the IITs Council that the five IITs where facilities and expertise exist for undertaking research and development, design and consultancy should take immediate action to set up Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre. Such Centers should act as a link between industry and institutions to enable the existing expertise and capacity in terms of men, machines and methods, to be effectively used for the growth and development of industry, based on indigenous knowhow and competence of the institution.
    It has been suggested that such Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre should be headed by a full–time member of staff. He may be assisted if necessary by others on full time or part time basis to take care of managerial functions. These centres should be self–supporting and need not involve an additional expenditure. However, in the initial stage of 2 to 3 years, if there is an additional expenditure on this account, the same may be met from the overall budget provision of the institute.

II. Projected Functions of Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre
The following functions for the Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre are envisaged.

  1. To establish closer relation with industry.
  2. To disseminate technical information to various agencies
  3. To identify industrial problems and to undertake research, design, development and consultancy work.
  4. To formulate time bound research programmes and arrange necessary Contractual Agreements with the industrial organization and expeditiously complete them.
  5. To exchange technical personnel between institution and industry.
  6. To lay down procedures for distribution of revenues among various elements involved in the work.
  7. To promote systematic utilization of expertise, facilities and consultancy services available with the institute for the consultancy work and for industrial research and development.
  8. To encourage self–employment and entrepreneurship among young Technologists and Engineers.
    To achieve the above functions the IRCC would have the following facilities:
    (i.) Facilities for design, fabrication, testing and analysis.
    (ii.) Facilities for experimentation with respect to industrial problems, products and processes.
    (iii.) Planning, costing, execution and evaluation of projects.
    It can thus be surmised that starting as a link between IITB and industry, the IRCC will attempt to foster production based on indigenous knowhow. The IRCC, in future, is likely to develop into a self supporting centre for Engineering Experimentation and Design. New industrial products and processes will be designed and developed on expertise available at the institute. It is expected to bring interdisciplinary research & development projects to the forefront where faculty from different departments will work together.
    A major activity of the Centre having all basic design and experimental facilities as well as staff for project development and management, will be to prepare feasibility and detailed project reports of industrial projects.

III. The Interface of IRCC with other Academic Activities of IIT Bombay
IITB is an institution of national importance. It is to carry out a set of functions in order to be called a leading and live institution fulfilling the aims and objects with which the IITs have been established. Some of these are the following.

  1. To impart the highest and most up-to-date instruction to its undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  2. To have an innovative and effective system of academic evaluation of students with a large emphasis on problem solving by the students in order to integrate the knowledge that they accumulate and to enable them to apply this knowledge to realistic problem of industry or elsewhere.
  3. To have challenging and live research programmes both in theoretical and experimental studies for the postgraduate students for their degrees and also to cater for the interest of the faculty to advance their capacities as leader in their field of study or research. This will have impact also ion their teaching.
  4. To bid and acquire from various National or International Funding Agencies and the Industry research projects of sizeable nature and thus meet the demand from the Faculty for more resources needed for projected research work.
  5. To encourage the faculty to undertake preparation of good quality books in their special areas or in the areas of general undergraduate education, technology, science and humanities.
  6. To keep the various academic programmes under review and modernize them almost constantly.

IV. Present Status of Industrial Activities at IIT Bombay
The Indian Institute of Technology has been actively participating in many or even most of the functions outlined above. It has definitely taken a lead and has been forward looking. There is, however, always a possibility to do more and better. In the past most of the consultancy work has been initiated and conducted at the departmental level under the advice of Institute Consultation Practice committee. The departments or individual have strived to bid for research and developmental projects from the Government and industrial funding agencies. Considerable amount of consultation work has been done for the industry. There have been a large number of seminars, symposia and conferences organized by different departments where both industry and institutions have participated; courses both of long and short durations have been designed and conducted for the benefit of industry. Many of our faculty members have mutual agreement to visit factories at convenient times. An effective industrial training programme has been organized for the students to work in industry for certain length of time. The Training and Placement Office has done commendable work, in not only finding the placement for our students in industry but also advise them on self–employment entrepreneurship. It has also been responsible for arranging industrial training programmes.
It would thus appear that we have already given attention to problem on industrial relations and steps have been taken from time to time to bring suitable machinery into being in order to augment these activities.

V. The proposed IRCC and its Framework.
It has been pointed out that the bulk of consultancy work, at present, is carried out in the departments where facilities and expertise have been developed during the pas sixteen years. These facilities, by and large, and the expertise will still stay with the department where the ideas originate. It is envisaged that the proposed IRCC would have complementary facilities to enable the faculty to carry out the assigned work with efficiency and speed. The IRCC may in future develop into a Centre for Engineering Experimentation, with some large scale fabrication facilities which may not be possible in the Departments. It is thus expected that the IRCC will help further growth of Industrial Research & development and consultancy by obtaining projects on Institutional basis and then assigning them to the competent persons to carry them out. It will also settle the fees to be charged and its suitable distribution among proper heads.
The present procedure for consultation has several difficulties and shortcomings. These have been discussed critically in the recent Consultative Practice Committee Report. The report deals mainly with streamlining the procedure for consultation. The following aspects are lacking in the present consultation scheme.

  1. Patent utilization
  2. Scaling up of processes developed
  3. Legal safeguards, audit and purchase facilities.
  4. Instrument and Equipment Design
  5. Fabrication Facilities.

The Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre, IITB, will ultimately be the chief avenue of all kinds of industrial collaboration where the Institute can render valuable advice and help to our growing industry. IRCC will develop an effective liaison with industry, locate competence in IITB for various kinds of problems and keep industry informed of this. In order to perform its function effectively, it is felt that it should gradually develop the following Section under it.

  1. Industrial Research and Development and Design Section;
  2. Prototype development, fabrication and scaling section;
  3. Consultancy section having the following subsection
    1. Process and product development consultancy,
    2. Management consultancy,
    3. Project and feasibility report preparation;
  4. Computer aided design group;
  5. Extension courses and continuing education for industry.

The bulk of expertise for carrying out the work secured by IRCC from industry will be done in the Departments. The IRCC should know exactly as to where a particular problem be referred to.
It will set up in liaison with other facilities at the Institute to utilize them effectively for speedy solution of problems. These facilities are–

  1. Central Services Organization
  2. Computer Centre
  3. Central Library
  4. Central Workshop
  5. Printing Press and Publication Facilities
  6. Proposed Central Research Facilities
  7. Proposed Regional Sophisticated Instruments Centre
  8. The Industrial Design Centre

The IRCC will have an Advisory Council. It will also have suitable help for legal problems and purchase, audit and patent acquisition. The organisational structure indicating the functioning of the IRCC is enclosed (Flow Chart).

VI. Operational Efficiency.
As pointed out, the Faculty of the Institute definitely had very good opportunities to get to know mutually persons in responsible positions in important and leading industrial
establishments. As a result of this there has been plenty of scope for the consultant and client to come together and formulate plans for industry oriented projects.
In spite of this the fact, however, remains that the total number of such collaborative endeavours is still not very sizeable. This can be augmented in an effective way, particularly when we are located in the heart of the Industrial Capital of the Country. Many of the bottlenecks in such an augmentation of collaborative effort may be not technical, but administrative and managerial in nature. The proposed Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre would need to provide express service for administrative, accounting and purchase work needed to expedite the work on the projects.
Thus the Industrial Research & Consultancy Center would operate as a focal point not only providing complementary facilities non-existent in the departments but also as an agency maintaining liaison with industry and taking care of administrative and managerial functions for the departments and thus expediting the progress of projects.

VII. Recommendations
The Committee wishes to make the following recommendations:

  1. The Industrial Research & Consultancy Centre (IRCC) should be set up with a small nucleus to begin with. A suitable place for its location may be found.
  2. The IRCC will be under the charge of a Co-ordinator who should be appointed for a period of 3 years.
  3. The IRCC will have an Advisory Committee with the Director as its Chairman.
  4. The Advisory Committee will have 6 members in addition to the coordinator of the IRCC as ex-officio member. Of the 6 members two members will retire at a time. The normal tenure of membership will be 3 years.
  5. The Advisory Committee will lay down the guidelines and policies for the working of the IRCC. Some of the guidelines suggested by this committee are given in Annexure – A.
  6. The IRCC will have two working committees to look after the work undertaken. These committees will be (i) The Consultative Practice Committee and (ii) The Committee for R&D work and Continuing Education to Industry. The Consultative Practice Committee will look after the consultancy work received by the IRCC and the Committee for the R&D work and Continuing Education to Industry will look after the research and development work being taken by the IRCC and also set up a liaison between the Institute and Industry for organizing training programme for personnel in industry, arranging seminars and exchanging the faculty between the Institute and Industry.
  7. The IRCC will project the capabilities of the Institute to Industry as regards the expertise and facilities available. For this purpose, the IRCC will prepare all suitable documents in the form of booklets, broacher etc. which can be sent to the Industry in connection with either research and development work or consultancy work. The IRCC will also maintain an up-to-date list of industries and other agencies who might be interested in either R&D work or in consultancy. They will be supplied with information regarding the availabilities of facilities and expertise at the Institute.
  8. The IRCC will receive proposals for R&D or consultation work from industry or other agencies and will pass it on to one of the two committees indicated above for processing. These committees will, after processing, locate the expertise in the Institute and then assign the work either to a single individual or a group from the faculty. The committees will also finalize the charges that the sponsoring agency will be required to pay and later look after the distribution of money received among different heads.
  9. The IRCC will receive the report on the R&D work carried out or consultation work done by the faculty, either individual or as a group. Direct communication between the faculty and the sponsoring agencies will be worthwhile for expediting the projects. The final report will be sent to the client by the IRCC.
  10. The Faculty engaged in R&D or consultation work with keeps the IRCC informed of the progress of the projects undertaken so that the IRCC may be able to maintain a suitable chart indicating the projects on which the work is done at a given time and the stage at which the project stands.
  11. The IRCC will need to have a suitable office set up to enable it and the co-ordination to function properly and expedite the correspondence needed in connection with the projects. The IRCC will also require facilities for the purchase of materials needed quickly for the consultation or R&D projects. The Committee feels that this can be achieved by identifying an R&D and Consultation Cell in the Stores Office.
  12. A similar cell will be needed in the office of the Deputy Registrar (Finance & Accounts) for dealing with the IRCC work expeditiously. A separate budget head for IRCC may be maintained and audit facilities provided.
  13. The IRCC will need to have suitable facilities for dealing with legal matters and also facilities for taking action to acquire patents.
  14. The IRCC will need the services of a Technical Officer to work under the coordinator for carrying out the work expeditiously. The Technical Officer will have to be a practicing Engineer / Technologist with a good knowledge of the work involved in industrial liaison, patent search etc.
  15. To begin with, some equipment and facility for prototype development, fabrication and scaling may be set up in the IRCC.
  16. The IRCC will also require the facilities of design and drawing and therefore a small design office should be attached to the Centre.
  17. The IRCC should establish close liaison with the various industrial and consultancy organization in the State. As many of their head offices are located in the heart of the city, a Liaison Office of the IRCC can be located in a suitable place in the city for the purpose of contacting the various organization and publicizing the capabilities and efforts of the IIT Bombay.

Annexure A
Guideline for the working of IRCC

  1. All the communications from industry and other organizations regarding R&D work and consultancy will be addressed to the Director, IIT Bombay: attention – Coordinator, IRCC.
  2. Where the specific assistance is sought from an individual faculty member, the official communication received will be directed by the IRCC to the member concerned without delay.
  3. The faculty member in turn, will make a brief report of what he is expected to do and indicate to the IRCC, the charges involved in the work.
  4. The work will be taken by the individual faculty member only when the money is received and the project has been approved by the IRCC.
  5. In the case where the industry does not specify a particular member, the IRCC will decide in consultation with the Department/Departments concerned as to how best the project can be taken up.