Tiju Thomas

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Sardar Patel Road, Chennai 600036, Tamil Nadu, India

Contact

ph. no: +91 8056456442
email id: tt332@cornell.edu or tijuthomas@iitm.ac.in

Our Research Group

Applied Nanostructures Engineering and Nanochemistry (ANEN) Research Group

ID6020 Panel Discussion notes (28 Sep., 2017)

Suggestions for industrial scientists looking for academic interface

Thankfully I have had an opportunity to interact with both industrial and academic scientists over the years. I believe that I have learnt a great deal from my colleagues who work in the industry. The mandates of industry and academia are quite different, and yet we have much in common. We are both hoping to do good technology. Academic scientists are interested in aiding human society, by creating competant engineers and scientists. Many of our students, end up creating social impact by choosing to work in an industrial sector. I have a significant appreciation for the industry, and what it does for all of us. As far as I am concerned, I think industry has many challenging and contemporary problems to offer, which the academia might end up being unaware of, especially if we restrict ourselves to our campuses. Like wise the industry may lose out on valuable scientific interactions, if it chooses not to engage with academics. Industry-academia interaction is most fruitful when our expectations of one another is clear from the outset. Mutual appreciation is essential to a good partnership between industry and academia. Together we can learn and create, the way we otherwise wouldn't.

Aside from training excellent engineers and scientists, what academic institutions can do is invest time on research that in somewhat futuristic ideas. Such projects, in many cases, will be useful to the industry, but not without significant long-term partnership. We must enter into partnerships with long-term visions and goals, while appreciating and understanding one another's mandates. For example, in the university, the student's thesis and her/his future is our top-most priority. Likewise, for the industry, marketability and social relevance of a technology is of highest importance. These mandates and goals are not at logger heads with one another. I see a synthesis and a symbiosis possible. In fact, in India, we must strive hard to make this partnership sustainable and fruitful.

I welcome correspondence from industrial scientists from across the globe. As someone who has keen interests in materials design and synthesis, I am interested in knowing the materials challenges you face in your engineering research firm. Furthermore I am interested in knowing how the academic body can assist in the creation of scientists, who are competent and thought leaders in materials technologies of relevance to you.