Any Engineer who takes an admission to Engineering College aspire to join company or start own company after four years of study. In today’s fast changing world, Industry needs students who can become productive from first day and Engineering college has challenge to keep the pace with industry and give an education to students who will become industry ready. Both Academia and Industry must partner to overcome these challenges.
Rajarambapu Institute of Technology has taken a leadership role in Western Maharashtra and partnered with Indian Embedded Semiconductor Association (IESA) and deployed NETRA (National Electronics System Design Manufacturing Technology Research Academy) model with the vision of transform engineering campus into Product Innovation Centre (PIC)
As a part of NETRA program, students work in interdisciplinary domains, understand customer needs and solve real problems. This process of product based learning is developed from first year itself and sustained through-out four years in entrepreneurial eco-system as shown in figure 1. The industry experts guide faculty and students in the campus itself.
Figure 1: Product Based Learning Framework
Below are new initiatives at the Institute
1. Engineering Exploration and Entrepreneurship development course
2. Living Labs: Build an Autonomous Electric Vehicle (AEV)
3. Technology Business Incubator (TBI)
The product orientation starts in the first year of engineering with innovative engineering exploration course. This course is a unique Activity Based Learning Process. All engineering discipline students apply concepts to solve real-time multidisciplinary problems. A specially designed Learning Studio (Figure 2) and Tinkering Lab (Figure 3) enhances learning outcome. Based on the need of the user/ customer, the problem statement is defined for each team, specifications of the mini-product are derived after a market survey and project plan is laid out by students. All students learn project skills, teamwork, collaboration on the job. At the end of the semester, Students demonstrate their mini-products at the end of the semester in an exhibition and industry experts evaluate their work.
Photo 1: Learning Studio for Engineering Exploration Course in the first year to enable activity based teaching-learning Pedagogy
Photo 2: Tinkering Lab with mechanical and electronics/computing facilities as well as components to build mini-products at Engineering Exploration course in the first year
Photo 3, 4 & 5: Exhibition and mini-products
Autonomous Electric Vehicle (AEV) project started in RIT in collaboration with NETRA in 2018. This project involved about 50 students working in 13 subprojects guided by 13 faculties from 7 departments namely, Mechanical, Automobile, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Civil and IT. RIT has provided substantial funding of about 10 lakh Rs for the first year of this project. This project would be carried out for the next 5 years. Idea here is to create an interdisciplinary work culture with every subproject comprised of students from different departments. Each team was given a target of developing a product that requires knowledge from various disciplines. As a result of this approach, students gained knowledge and experience not only of their core but also of other disciplines. They also learned leadership skills and teamwork. This type of experience and exposure would make them ready for the outside industrial world.
In today's world, job opportunities demand interdisciplinary knowledge and attitude owing to the upcoming industrial revolutions such as Industry 4.0. Moreover, product based knowledge and execution focus is always deserved. This project was driven by experts from the industry in order to teach students how to build state-of-the-art technology and world-class products. As a result of this project, students have built an electric vehicle fully from scratch. They have developed several test benches which would help further advancement in the technology. They have come up with several innovative ideas and built intermediate products. Few of these ideas and products have the potential to turn into start-ups. Thus, this project has given students an international level of exposure and prepared.
Technology Business Incubator – TBI is a company by itself that helps start-up companies by providing various services like management guidance, assistance in various services, consulting to young growing companies and promote the concept of growth through innovation and technology.
Business incubation is support provided to start-up enterprises through the delivery of technical mentorship and entrepreneurship eco-system with the aim of improving their chance of survival in the early phase of the life span and establishing their later intensive growth.
NETRA-RIT TBI is a Technology Business Incubator launched in January 2018 to build the start-up ECO-System in Rural Area. There are 7 start-ups incubated in NETRA-RIT TBI. In the future, there is a plan of making Innovation Center which occupies 30-40 start-ups. All alumni students, budding entrepreneurs in western Maharashtra region are encouraged to take advantage of TBI. NETRA RIT TBI has received funding of Rs.5 Cr. From Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS).
Inauguration – NETRA-RIT TBI