UG Honours with research is possible if varsities have research supervisors and infrastructure

The UGC announced the curriculum structure four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP). The four-year UG Honours degree in the major discipline will be awarded to those completing the course with 160 credits. They will have to complete an assigned research project or a dissertation under the guidance of a faculty in the eighth semester. The rule will boost research specialization competencies in students.
Building scientific temperament
The new structure aims to introduce basic research ethics and skills among UG students, hopefully popularising research and innovation.
Taruna Gautam, vice-chancellor, IILM University, Greater Noida, says “The FYUP will be effective in building scientific research temperament. Students will high-level curiosity can carry out meaningful research in the areas of their interest. This will give them a dedicated purpose to popularise the academic benefit of pursuing research. In the long run, a pool of quality students with research rigour will improve the research output at PhD level.”
Collaborating to fix gaps
The universities or departments offering Honours (with research) must have at least two permanent PhD supervisors and the required infrastructure such as the library and laboratory facilities to conduct experiments. Pointing at the challenges, P Deiva Sundari, principal, K C G College of Technology, Chennai, says, “The implementation is difficult, especially in institutes that do not offer PhD courses as they do not have PhD supervisors. Universities in rural areas are likely to struggle the most. However, the departments already recognized for conducting the PhD programmes may effectively speed up the FYUP research component as they do not require approval.”
Implementation challenges are part and parcel of any new rule when introduced in the system, says Sanjay Padode, founding president, Vijaybhoomi University, Maharashtra. This can be solved by collaborating with industry experts and other resourceful universities.
“Most PhD supervisors are exhausted to onboard UG students for research projects. In many cases, they guide more scholars than the intake capacity. Collaborating with industry experts and recruiting them as adjunct faculty could be helpful. UG students will learn better if research work is assigned by the industry experts in relevant segments, ” says Padode.
New research pathways There is a great probability that the flexibility offered in FYUP Honours will broaden the research pathways, says Balvinder Shukla, vice-chancellor, Amity University. “Research ideas aligned with national priorities, for instance, defence, environment, sustainability and mental health should be at the forefront. The special part is that UG students will study these crucial topics by identifying real-world problems. Their exposure at labs, collating and mapping accurate datasets from correct population sample size will lead to the development of new products as a research outcome.”
In the current context, the complex problems prevailing in societies require a multidisciplinary research approach. “UG students are provided with academic modules to identify research gaps and solve modern-day societal, business and general issues with a fresh perspective. The move is bound to expand the scope of research projects in the area of Science, Commerce, and Humanities. However, Computer Science, Biotechnology, Sustainability, Innovation, Psychology, Digital Currency, and Public Policy disciplines have a slightly greater industry research edge,” shares Gautam.