08study1_opt This summer season at BITS Pilani, one of India’s Best Technology schools, seems to be going quite productive for students as they are working in groups to turn their ideas into life. All students in the group consider a programming job a dull start for their professional career at the time when they are just 20. Keeping with this thought, they are fast opting for ‘research’. Microsoft Research India lab on Lavelle Road in Central Bangalore has turned into a hub of research for these students of the group.

Tosif Khan from BITS Pilani campus and Vishwajit Kolathur from BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus are two students of the group who enjoy their research like two classmates.

“To me this is real learning. I applied to Microsoft Research for an internship as it allows me to blend research and development work besides giving an opportunity to work on some cutting edge technology. It’s the open atmosphere that allows you to explore and engage in real learning,” Vishwajit said during an interview.

“The name research means future and ideas. And that’s what excited me,” Tosif said.

The program, known as Rx Lab, is designed smartly to allow students have a detailed insight into research environment at MSRI partner institutes. MSRI or MSR India works in direct connection with faculties of IITS and IITs etc. MSR India helps these faculties in selecting students of undergraduate programs from neighboring institutes as summer interns for a total period of 12 weeks.

All selected students for the program come from a non-Ph.D granting institutions. All of them get to work on some very interesting research problems.

“There are a large number of students who are interested in research. But they do not have any means of getting projects that give them research exposure. The Rx Lab programme addresses this by providing a means for students to gain exposure to research, while being guided by able faculty. We’ve seen an enthusiastic response to this over the last few years, and have helped more than 600 students. For the faculty offering these internships, it’s a great opportunity to mentor good quality talent and build a pipeline for their masters and PhD programmes. For the students, Rx provides a hands on exposure to research at premier institutions in India, and hopefully motivates them to actively look at a career in research,” P. Anandan, scientist and managing director, Microsoft Research India, said.

Owing to confusions over career options in research, many students invariably opt for other popular options such as getting a programing job at just corporate firm at the end of their degree.

“There is no awareness on research. Somewhere the industry too is not highlighting the path for research of our students. On its part, Microsoft has initiated various programs to spur interest in a research career among computer science graduates. One of them is the Techvista that the IT giant conducts to give students the first hand exposure to top quality research happening in the country,” said Vidya Natampally, senior director (Strategy), Microsoft Research India.

The lab in Bangalore is also recognized for its biometrics for monitoring TB treatment in India, Olacabs, and Babajobs.

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