A couple of weeks ago, I had written about a proposal to have lateral admission into IITs. I received a large number of emails and comments. There are two ideas that some institutes are seriously considering to attract research students through lateral admission. (Both ideas are not fully developed, and are not currently implemented. Hence I have been advised that naming the institutes or persons would be premature.)
In one of the ideas, some IITs are considering offering PhD admission directly to students at the end of their 3rd year of studies. These students will join the IIT immediately thereafter. The remaining credits for the BTech degree will be done at the IIT. It is expected that the under-graduate institute of the student will agree to transfer those UG credits that have been earned at the IIT, and whenever the UG requirements are complete, will offer the degree to the student. So the IIT will not offer the BTech degree to these students, but hopefully, being in IIT for the final year will cause the student to adapt to IIT system quickly, and will be productive sooner.
Another Institute is planning to offer admission to the dual-degree program directly in the 3rd year to those who have completed 2 years of studies at another institute. (Most good institutes in the country have a 5-year program at the end of which the student gets both an undergraduate degree and a post-graduate degree, for example IITs have BTech-MTech dual degree programs.) This institute will consider research preparedness and research aptitude as the primary criteria for admission, and will be willing to offer credit transfer for the courses done in the first two years, if they are relevant to the program that the student wishes to pursue in this institute.
I see these two as examples of innovation that academics institutes are thinking of bringing about, and I hope that they will succeed.