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India’s Chennai Local Network

“We are very driven by the IET values”

The 17-strong CLN committee strives to bring the engineering community closer together, inspire professionals and bridge the gap between industry and academia.

Chairman Dr Dhanasekaran Devaraj is proud of the fact that the work of the CLN committee is founded in mutual respect and trust for all members. He said: “We encourage everyone to bring their respective skills and knowledge to the table, to help us achieve our common goals. We get a lot of innovative ideas and we are always open to constructive feedback.”

Committee Member Vivek Ram Vasan added: “As a team we are very driven by the IET values and we focus on engineering a better world by creating pathways for young professionals and providing local expertise. We are a very close-knit group that’s constantly engaged in discussions and updates. This approach really helps to create a very good working atmosphere among the team members.”

Teamwork photograph - from the Left Rajkumar Ramareddi, Prasanna Bharathi Sankara Raghavan, Dr Dhanasekaran Devaraj, Dr Cloudin Swamynathan, Dr Rathinam Ananthanarayanan, Vivek Ram Vasan

Teamwork photograph - from the Left Rajkumar Ramareddi, Prasanna Bharathi Sankara Raghavan, Dr Dhanasekaran Devaraj, Dr Cloudin Swamynathan, Dr Rathinam Ananthanarayanan, Vivek Ram Vasan

Innovative events

The committee is forever on the lookout for opportunities to launch new events to support the engineering community and capture the interest of young engineers. As with any great team, all committee members get the chance to take the lead and help out whenever they can.

In 2017 Committee Members Dr Cloudin Swamynathan and Prasanna Bharathi Sankara Raghavan helped launch India’s SMART CITY Challenge. Dr Swamynathan said: “We wanted to create a platform for the young professionals to showcase their skillsets and talents to industry, so we set up a competition that involved student teams developing smart city prototypes for areas like transportation, energy, industry, infrastructure and living.”

The competition attracted around 150 entries. Multinational telecommunications and data networking company Nokia Solutions and Networks Pvt Ltd was CLN’s technology partner for the event. The company helped select the winners and provided a one-month internship for the top two teams, marking the start of an extensive and enduring collaboration between CLN and Nokia, which now sponsors this annual event.

In September 2018 Nokia sponsored CLN’s Industry Institution Summit. Committee Member Dr Rathinam Ananthanarayanan said: “The Summit provides an opportunity to bridge the gap and enhance collaboration between industry and academia. Nokia has continued to sponsor this annual event, which in May 2020 we delivered in a new, virtual format that attracted more than 1,500 participants and showcased emerging technologies for the benefit of the engineering community.”

Industrial partner

According to Dr Swamynathan and Prasanna, the secret of CLN’s success lies in persistent networking and follow-up. This approach was instrumental in establishing a memorandum of understanding [MoU] between Nokia and the two colleges associated with CLN: the Vadapalani Campus at SRM IST and KCG College of Technology.

Prasanna said: “The MoU led to the CLN team setting up an IoT [Internet of Things] Research and Innovation Lab in April 2019. It’s located at SRM IST and technically supported by Nokia. It has been a great help to IET placement students keen to complete their projects for Nokia from their university location and to train up on the latest technologies.

“Nokia has so far provided around 80 three-month internships to IET student members, along with more than 15 job offers. To ensure timely delivery of the projects each quarter, we have weekly review meetings on projects with our students and Nokia officials. We’re very proud to report that all our students have completed their projects on time.”

Nokia has helped frame the curriculum for some courses at SRM IST. And around 400 students and faculty members have visited the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Oragadam, Chennai. In Prasanna’s view, building such a strong and effective relationship with Nokia is one of the CLN team’s biggest achievements.

Positive approach

Positivity and creativity are strong threads that run through everything the CLN team does.

Committee Member Rajkumar Ramareddi said: “We strive for creative ways to deliver knowledge and I often invite eminent speakers to share their learnings and insights with CLN members. For example, we set up a Space and Rocket Engineering programme to inspire young engineers to explore a career in space entrepreneurship – one of the speakers we invited is based at the Analog Astronaut Training Centre in Poland.”

The CLN team also delivered a vibrant and varied programme of virtual events to IET members and non-members around the world during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown. Aided by a team of young professionals, Vivek spearheaded the introduction of a new social media platform (#IETChennailn) in late March, with regular posts on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Within two months the platform had attracted more than 100,000 views: 65% were engineers and 20% were academics.

Summing up, Dr Devaraj said: “I’m very proud of the culture we follow at CLN, because through it we have been able to nurture a strong bond among our members and the committee. We have a very active team with a can-do attitude.

“As volunteers, the more we give back to the engineering community, the happier we feel. That’s because we know that we have helped to shape a person’s life or to spread the word about technology. Volunteering has also provided a platform for us to build strong friendships, exchange ideas, develop and grow personally, as well as being a source of support during difficult times.

“We often refer to ourselves as the IET CLN family, rather than as a committee. That’s the sense of involvement we have developed over the years. A series of intangibles make up the fabric of our committee: caring, respect, humility, commitment, dedication, humour, honesty, open-mindedness, integrity, empathy, transparency, hard work and resilience. These are what make us the dream network!”

Find out more about the CLN team’s amazing efforts to support the engineering community during the 2020 pandemic.