IIT Madras director looks to alumni for funding

CHENNAI: Four years after the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras Growth Fund was set up to raise contributions from the alumni for implementing a host of infrastructure projects on the campus, the IIT Madras director M S Ananth is once again knocking on the doors of the global alumni to raise an ambitious Rs 100 crore for the IIT Madras Golden Jubilee Fund.

With government funding being inadequate, the IIT is in need of massive financial resources to initiate infrastructural development and fund research scholars in a big way.

Using technology to reach out to the alumni spread across continents, Ananth has in a videographed appeal posted on the internet urged them to make a large contribution and make a significant difference to their alma mater.

“Nearly 15% of the space at the IIT Madras Research Park (which is likely to be inaugurated this year) has been set out for incubation. The support infrastructure for setting up the incubation will cost Rs 45-50 crore. We welcome alumni contributions towards this,” Ananth has said in the appeal ahead of the Golden Jubilee Alumni Day celebrations slated for December 26. The IIT Madras Research Park is the largest initiative ever taken by any of the IITs.

Another novel proposal for which the IIT is seeking a contribution of up to Rs 10 crore from the alumni is the institution of a Students Travel Grant Programme. “Currently our students travel (abroad) under exchange programmes. But there is no fund to support their travel. We want the alumni to support this,” he urged. Under the programme financial assistance will be provided to students and faculty members for travelling to participate in international technical conferences and workshops.

The IIT Madras is also tapping funds for its Green Campus Initiative’ under which it will focus on conserving energy consumption and making the campus sustainable.

With the student population increasing on the campus consequent to the creation of additional seats in the open quota to match the OBC seats, the institute is also hard-pressed to expand recreation facilities and increase the seating capacity in the auditorium. Plans are on the anvil to build a “very large auditorium to accommodate 1000 students, which can be split into four parts using partitions that are sound proof,” Ananth said.