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How Sri Ramachandra is bringing surgical excellence to engineering education

Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (SRIHER) has always been a pioneer of medical education in the country for a long time. Established about 35 years ago, the institute has been a centre for medical research and has even been leading the testing for the COVID-19 vaccine that is being developed in India. With this immense background in medical research and education, the institute has now decided to move into engineering as well. And this move to include engineering to their list of courses also has deep-founded links to medicine. “We are offering engineering courses that can work in tandem with medicine or help improve medical technology,” says Sri Ramachandra College of Engineering and Technology Provost V Raju, in a conversation with Edex.

But why did the institute decide to venture into engineering in the first place? “Sri Ramachandra had been doing exceptionally well in all aspects of medical education and healthcare — including dentistry and pharmacy. They thought that if medicine is taught simultaneously with engineering, then it will add a lot of value. Famous universities across the world — like MIT, Cornell University, Imperial College, London — have combined engineering and medicine to ensure that engineers are able to solve problems pertaining to medicine,” says Raju

And this amalgamation has multifaceted benefits. Raju explains, “Having these two fields of study within the same campus will allow the doctors access to top-notch engineering support from faculty and students. The engineers will be able to solve problems, look at emerging technologies.” It is emerging technologies that the faculty of the engineering departments will be teaching. “We have designed courses like Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Robotics, Machine Learning and Cybersecurity. These subjects not only have several applications in medicine but can also be applied to other areas like automobiles, aerospace, banking and finance and so on,” he adds.

To make the students industry-ready, internships will be offered to students every year, amounting to almost a year’s worth of work experience when they graduate. “Just like doctors have residency and learn on the job, we want our engineering students to also go through this experiential learning process. Working with the industry will help them apply their education at a very early stage,” says Raju. Indeed, practical is the name of the game. “Our courses have been divided equally into theoretical learning and practicals,” he adds. “This will make them ready for taking up jobs right from the end of the first year itself. Every year, their learning will only improve and by the end of the third year they will almost be ready to take up a full-time job in the industry,” says Raju.

Sri Ramachandra has also collaborated with various foreign universities to give their engineering students additional exposure. “We are now collaborating with the industry and foreign universities like Purdue University, State University of New York, Rochester Institute of Technology, University College, London, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia to set up an international centre for emerging technologies. Students can come together to innovate in the field of robotics,” says Raju. Students and faculty from other engineering institutes of the country, including VIT and IIT Madras, will also be associated with the centre.