Prof Karanam Umamheshwar Rao was appointed as the new director of NIT Rourkela on February 18. He succeeded Prof. Simanchalo Panigrahi, who was appointed interim director in October last year. Prof Rao was previously the director of the NIT Surathkal. He was also a faculty at IIT Kharagpur for almost three decades.
His key portfolios include Chairman (Estate) and Vice Chairman of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). He was also the head of the mining engineering department in 2006-08 and 2010-14.
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Prof. Rao’s field is experimental rock mechanics, in which he has been working since 1989. He has published as many as 30 research papers in international journals and presented an equal number of papers at international seminars and conferences. He is also the author of the book Principles of Rock Drilling, published by AA Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1999. Later this book was also published by India Book House, New Delhi.
Prof Rao holds a degree in mining engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad. After working in various mining industries for a total of about three years, he joined IIT-BHU for a master’s degree in engineering. He obtained his MTech in mining engineering in 1987. He obtained his PhD in rock mechanics from IIT Kharagpur.
Prof Rao emphasized his priorities for the Institute and said: “NIT Rourkela is a proud entity of Orissa. The institute’s position in the NIRF ranking is significant today. It is time to redefine our goals and work towards them with determination, required skills and strategies with a foresighted vision for the exponential growth of the Institute. Our performance towards the goal starts now.”
“The industry expectations of the students are to have 21st century skills and sufficient knowledge in the niche areas such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, 3D printing and additive technology in production.These expectations should be met with much commitment from the Institute.It is the time for the establishment of a Career Development Center instead of a Training and Placement Cell, with the aim of creating opportunities for students to develop their career skills, soft skills and technical skills,” added Prof Rao.
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Prof Rao also aims to bring NIT Rourkela into the top 10 of the NIRF ranking, the institute says. He also wants to improve the research and innovation infrastructure with the help of teachers and students and would also work to increase the multidisciplinary quotient in the curriculum, with special emphasis on environmental and value-oriented education.
Prof. dr. Simanchalo Panigrahi, the outgoing interim director of NIT Rourkela, congratulated his successor and said: “NIT Rourkela was founded in the rich country of Ratnabhava (resource-rich country). Our state shares much of the country’s mineral reserves. Since mining is the primary profession here, the new director is an asset not only to the Institute, but also to the state.”
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