In a first for the century-old Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), a daylong career fair brought students face to face with their potential employers within the industry on Saturday.

Around 40 companies and public sector agencies — ranging from National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) to Shell, IBM and Saint Gobain — showcased their work even as budding scientist posed questions about work culture, recruitment process and R&D programmes. The fair, Samanway, was organised by the IISc. Students’ Council.

Masters student Mathangi R., from the Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics, who took notes at the DRDO stall, told The Hindu the initiative was particularly appreciated by students doing research. “M.Tech. students already have a placement routine. But for researchers, the fair helps in making an informed choice.”

Scouting for “fresh minds for new innovation” Sandeep Ambedkar, advisory system software engineer at IBM India, said he was looking specifically for talent to help update IBM’s key enterprise server system.

IISc. alumnus S.R. Viswamurthy, who represented NAL where he is senior scientist, rued that while the science institute had “informal ties” with public sector organisations, it lacked a formal route of interaction where research problems could be solved together.

A platform

The intention of the career fair is not necessarily about finding a job as much as it is about creating a forum for interaction with companies so science students understand how their work can translate into products, explained Samanway convener Vipin Gupta.

Thus far, the industry expected research institutes to reach out to them, rather than the converse, said IISc. director P. Balaram at the inauguration of the fair. “This must change. For instance, companies that are given tax exemptions and other concessions should be encouraged to approach academic institutions for research opportunities.” Later, at a panel discussion, Faculty of Engineering dean B.N. Raghunandan said industry should get involved in curriculum review too. “We need to find out from the industry what kind of students they are looking for, the kind of training they expect, and we need to involve them there as well.”

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