Published: 08th July 2021
India's first digital university in Kerala sees a massive 500 applications for its PhD programmes
Digital University Kerala's first academic programme saw significant interest for revamped PhD courses covering some hot new tech and allowing for considerable industry experience
Admissions to the country's first digital university, Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology here has begun with an overwhelming response despite the COVID-19 situation.
Amidst a raging pandemic that disrupted the higher education scenario, the call for admissions to the PhD programmes offered by the Digital University Kerala (DUK) received nearly 500 applications for its 30 vacancies, varsity sources here said.
The Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K), the premier institute offering courses in cutting edge technologies, was upgraded to the digital university through an ordinance in January. This will be the first academic programme to start at the DUK, they said.
Of the total 442 applications to its four Schools, 259 candidates opted for regular PhDs while 169 for part-time. The admission process for doctoral programmes began on May 3, a top official said. Interviews for the PhD admission would be held next week and the programme would commence by August. Apart from the doctoral programmes, admissions to DUK's flagship MSc and MTech courses would also begin in August.
While the majority of candidates applied for regular PhD, a new option - Industry Regular PhD too had many takers. Under the unique 'Industry Regular' programme, which primarily leverages on utilising the expertise of industry and academia, candidates can propose their workplace or an industry research lab for their PhD, they said.
The research scholars will work in collaboration with a mentor from the industry to solve a real-life problem, a feature which is expected to help IT professionals pursue doctoral programmes, without taking a break from their careers.
One major reason for the popularity of the DUK's doctoral programmes is the uniqueness of the topics like AI Robotics, Computational Intelligence, Computational Imaging System and so on, they said. The good response received for the PhD programme shows that there is a demand for good quality research in the realms of digital technologies and sciences, said Dr Saji Gopinath, Vice-Chancellor, Digital University of Kerala.
"The Digital University of Kerala has expertise in and is offering research opportunities in several emerging areas, which is one of the major attractions to these programmes," he said. The Vice-Chancellor also said as Kerala is progressing towards a knowledge-based society, it requires more talents who are capable of producing knowledge-based products and services.
Deviating from the usual stream of MTech programmes, DUK is offering specialised courses on contemporary topics like Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI Hardware, Cyber Security Engineering, Cyber-Physical Systems and Signal Process, and Connected Systems and Intelligence.
MSc programmes in Machine Intelligence, Cognitive Sciences, Cyber Security, Ecological Informatics, computational economics and computational social science (focus on AI, Data and Society) are expected to be a major solution to the huge demand for candidates with academic and practical knowledge in the latest technologies, varsity sources added.