The International Joint MTech degree in Food Science and Technology (IMDFST) programme started in 2019 as a joint academic exercise by IIT Guwahati’s departments of chemical engineering, bio-sciences and bio-engineering, chemistry and the School of Agro and Rural Technology along with the United Graduate School of Agricultural Science of Gifu University, Japan.
A total of eight students —- four each from IIT Guwahati and Gifu University — comprise the first batch of graduates of this course. The IIT Guwahati students will receive their degrees during the upcoming convocation this year. The IMDFST programme at IIT Guwahati is the only such degree in India that enables an enrolled student to receive an international MTech degree with a mutually participating curriculum, said an institute spokesperson.
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The “participatory curriculum” of this course provides equal credit-based learning of both theory and research components, enabling an Indian student to earn both Indian credits and Japanese credits based on independently and jointly designed and taught courses by both IIT Guwahati and Gifu University. A similar participatory curriculum is also applicable for Japanese students.
The interdisciplinary course academic theme of Food Science and Technology provides a fine balance between sciences (chemistry and bio-science) and engineering (chemical engineering and bio-technology) disciplines. Since its inception, the chemical engineering department of IIT Guwahati has been coordinating the IMDFST curriculum to date.
“The IMDFST programme strives to remain forever as an academic beacon and flagship program of IIT Guwahati under the aegis of the chemical engineering department. A pragmatic curriculum design oversaw the smooth transition to a translational research-based paradigm in the rapid advances associated with the Food Science and Technology,” IMDFST course coordinator Prof. Vaibhav V. Goud said on Thursday.
The Japanese higher education emphasizes laboratory coupled engagement in the instructed theory and quicker transmission of subject-related principles into the practical framework. On the other hand, the Indian higher education system emphasizes sound fundamentals followed by research emphasis towards the highest levels of research excellence.
Thus, Goud said, the admitted students have been exposed to both systems of learning and would have their realizations for their integration for a smarter engagement and enrichment of research pedagogies.
The curriculum spans four semesters in which an Indian student would carry out a semester course at IIT Guwahati followed by an incubation trimester of research activity. Thereafter, the student would get enrolled in Gifu University and complete a semester of course at Gifu University after which the students would return to IIT Guwahati to research for two semesters. “All enrolled students will learn the research cultures of both top-notch institutions of India and Japan,” read an IIT Guwahati release.
The course pedagogy advocates high-end research through the practical application of basic and applied principles of food science and technology. The curriculum imparts practical skills associated with research methodology and design thinking, global internship for the smarter evolution of localized food technologies for global markets, and outreach and understanding the research culture par excellence in the internationally acclaimed institutions of India and Japan.
Other notable features of the joint degree are —- joint supervision of both Indian and Japanese professors and jointly designed and taught courses involving practical exercises in food science and technology and global Internship.
“Due to its highest academic and research standards, the IMDFST programme received significant attention from undergraduate students in the agricultural engineering, biotechnology, chemical engineering, food technology disciplines, and allied disciplines,” the spokesperson added.
Candidates with a very high GATE score joined the programme in 2019 at IIT Guwahati. A similar selection process exists at Gifu University for Japanese students.
The mutual academic timetables and credit systems have been respected and this ensured the greater confidence of all participating faculty and administrative setup of the respective institutes. “The culture and values of both India and Japan have been duly accommodated and respected to impart integrity and research ethics in the admitted students,” he said.