‘Awarded annually to a student team demonstrating exceptional innovation and creativity in the fields of science/engineering’

Project Apeiro, Winner of SuRa award 2016 gets featured in DNA India

Winners of 2017-18 edition: 

Project: Imitato Robotics

Team Members: 

VADAGA ANANYO RAO (2014B5A7910G)

SHARDUL WALWADKAR (2014B3A8798G)

CHAKSHU MOAR (2015A3PS177G)

Mission: 

The Prof. Suresh Ramaswamy Memorial Award is to honor the memory and lasting impact of Professor Ramaswamy in the lives of students he mentored. It aims to institutionalize his legacy, and promote activities that embody his spirit and enthusiasm for nurturing students.

Background and Vision:

Students in BITS Pilani are the cream of India, chosen on merit by a very selective process. Once in BITS, these students express their creativity and innovation by working on projects, both as hobbies and/or as part of the curriculum. However, several students find many hurdles (especially financial constraints) that cause them to never have an opportunity to take their ideas/projects to fruition.

Prof. Ramaswamy always believed that every student, when trusted and given the right encouragement can be successful in any venture of his/her choice. A group of students who were very close to Prof.Ramaswamy realized that the best way to honor him and continue his legacy is to initiate an award that encapsulates his vision, and remove all barriers that impede the progress of student projects in BITS.

Award summary:

A prize of Rs. 40,000 will be awarded every year to a team of students (max. 6 students) in order to encourage and nurture them to work on a student project. The prize will be open to any student in any department of the Goa campus (for now). The recipients of the award will be chosen by a competitive peer-review process in the previous semester to the award. Interested students should apply to the award with a sound proposal of the project. Project ideas may come from student(s) with or without inputs from faculty, other alumni and industry experts. For the year 2014-15, proposals will be restricted to science and engineering. They will be judged on their innovation and feasibility (more details below). The awardees will choose a faculty mentor who will have oversight of their project. The award money could be spent on anything (equipment, training, software, advertisement, travel etc) that directly helps in the success of their project.

Selection process and timeline:

Step Details Timeline
Call for               proposals The award details are announced and proposals are called for. May 6
Proposal submission Students (max team size of 6) submit proposal of their project. The project should be innovative, but more importantly technically feasible. They should also suggest the name of a faculty referee who will judge the proposal on its merit. Students should submit their applications to following address: sura-memorial-fund@bitsaa.org August 14
Referee process The award panel sends the proposal to a faculty referee who is in the best position to judge the viability and innovation of the project. The referee could be the one suggested by the student(s), or anyone else the panel deems suitable. The referee sends back a confidential report stating his/her opinion on the merits of project. August 14 – September 14
Selection of         awardees Based on the referee reports, the panel selects one student team as “Prof. Suresh Ramaswamy Memorial Award” recipient, and awards the team INR 40,000. September 15
Faculty Mentor The awardees will choose a faculty mentor from any department. The mentor will be the overall supervisor of the project. He/she will also have financial oversight and ensure that the money is spent for the right purposes October 1
Report due A report for the project will be due on the last day of the semester. It will be put on the website. May 15
Unspent award   return To ensure the success of the project, the awardees will have upto 1 year to spend their award. After this period, any unspent money is returned to the Prof. Ramaswamy memorial fund. Jan 1

 Guidelines for spending award money:

The prize money (INR 40,000) can be spent on anything that directly benefits the success of the project. These may include for example, equipment, training, software, advertisement and travel. All expenses should be reported to the faculty mentor who will have financial oversight. It is expected that the recipients of the award will by themselves act in full faith and honesty in utilizing the award money towards genuine initiatives which help take their projects forward. The faculty mentor will provide them

with sufficient guidelines and advice as appropriate to execute their endeavor. Any unspent money will be returned to the award panel after 1 year of the project inception.

Laboratory access:

To ensure the success of the project, students might need to use laboratory equipment/facilities. For example, this might include oscilloscopes in the EE/Physics labs, or tools in the workshop. Traditionally, students are not permitted laboratory access after class hours, because authorities fear some equipment may be stolen/misused.

Prof. Ramaswamy believed that students should be trusted, and authorities should act in good faith. Since the awardees have sound proposals and are chosen by a competitive process, they should be given access to any BITS facility they require. The access will be in a manner that does not disrupt any normal laboratory activity, and importantly ensures that all safety norms are followed. The students should consult the respective department head for access hours, and safety norms.

Under these constraints, the fund will insure (to a maximum of INR. 40,000) against any equipment damage. Any further cost will be borne by the students.

Award Panel:

An awards panel will be responsible for administering this award and facilitating the selection procedure. The panel may consist of 3-6 members including at least one member of the faculty who was a close colleague of Prof. Ramaswamy, and if possible one prominent external member. However, the panel chair may use his / her discretion to make sure that a smooth, easy and efficient working arrangement.

The responsibilities of the panel will be five-fold:

  1. Do a quick initial scrutiny of the submitted proposals and reject outright any incomplete submissions.
  2. The panel can then refer the shortlisted proposals to experts (referees) in the field of the proposals (the names of the experts need not be disclosed to the participants and can be anyone within or outside the campus at the discretion of the panel), with a request to get back to them with a short summary of their evaluation of the level of innovation and practicality of implementation. The experts may be given sufficient time (suggested time: 2 months) to get back with their feedback.
  3. Collect the comments from the various experts and evaluate the proposals in order to decide the proposal which conforms most closely to the award guidelines. To reach an informed decision, the panel might seek to consult any other faculty member for further technical opinion. However, the panel must have full independence in choosing the awardees.
  4. Finalize the faculty mentor in consultation with the students and work out an arrangement with the mentor to access the funds.
  5. In case of unused funds, take responsibility for the remaining funds. The panel chair, in consultation with some other panel members, may decide to utilize these funds to promote other activities which in his / her opinion would help keep the memory of Prof. Ramaswamy alive (eg. guest lectures, musical events, purchasing common lab equipment) or he/she may return the money to the Prof Ramaswamy Memorial Fund.

Winners of 2016-’17 edition: 

Project: Cosmic Ray Flux Measurement & Analysis 

Team Members: 

  1. Sanket Deshpande (2014B5A3599G)
  2. Lucky Kapoor (2014B5A3449G)
  3. Pankaj Tiple (2013B4A7381G)
  4. Vibhav Joshi (2013B1A1935G)

Winners of 2015-’16 edition: 

Project: Hitch 

Team Members: 

  1. Akshay Sonandkar (2013A4PS361G)
  2. Yash Bardapurkar (2012A8PS318G)
  3. Vandan Phadke (2012A7PS006G)

Winners of 2014-’15 edition: 

Project: Mudra- A Braille Dicta

Team Members:

  1. Sanskriti Dawle (2012A7PS083G)
  2. Aman Karan Srivastava (2012A7PS126G)
  3. Shaikh Saif Ali (2013A4PS183G)

Winners of 2012-’13 edition: 

Project: Furniture-Integrated Workspace Cooling System

Team Members: 

  1. Geetansh Gupta (2010A1PS022G)
  2. Aaditya Shah (2010A1PS200G)

If you would like more information about this award, or have any questions / comments / suggestions, please send a mail to alumniaffairs@goa.bits-pilani.ac.in