Two New Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research
By Ministry of Human Resource Development, India
Oct 25, 2005, 21:35

The Government of India has decided to create two new institutions devoted to science education and research to be named “Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.” The Institutes would be located at Kolkata and Pune and will integrate under-graduate education, post-graduate education and research under the same umbrella. The Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata on 30th October, 2005 in the Auditorium Complex of the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. It may be mentioned that at present the only Science Institute in the country is the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore which is fully funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. This Institute does not have an under-graduate stream and it caters to only post-graduate education and research.

The setting up of these Institutes is a culmination of a long-standing desire of the scientific community in India to set up high caliber institutes in which science teaching and education will be totally integrated with the state-of-the-art research. Many experts have expressed concern about the state of education and research in basic and natural science in India. In spite of the fact that scientific establishments in space, nuclear and defence areas have come up in the past few years, the quality of science education has deteriorated considerably. Deliberating on all these issues in detail, the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister headed by Prof. C.N.R. Rao has strongly recommended establishing these two Institutes at Kolkata and Pune.

For the Institute at Kolkata, 200 acres of land will be provided by the Government of West Bengal at Kalyani. Similarly, for the Institute at Pune, the National Chemical Laboratories, Pune will provide 100 acres of land within its premises. These Institutes will be devoted to under-graduate and post-graduate teaching and research in sciences in an intellectually vibrant atmosphere of research. One of the important goals of creating these institutes is to make education and career in basic sciences more attractive by providing opportunities in integrated teaching and learning of sciences and break the barriers of traditional disciplines. One other significant concept of the proposed IISER is to actively forge strong relationship with the existing universities and colleges and network laboratories and institutions, in order to share and complement faculty resources as well as research, library and computational facilities. These Institutes at Pune and Kolkata would be set up with an approximate cost of Rs.500 crores each.

The IISER shall have programme of study in various inter-disciplinary areas of biological sciences, mathematical and computer sciences, physical sciences, chemical sciences, life sciences and material sciences. Each Institute is expected to have about 2000 students in integrated master programme, doctoral programme and post-doctoral programme. The entrance to these programmes will be through a competitive examination at all-India level. There would be about 200 faculty members in each of these Institutes across disciplines. The academic session will commence from the year 2006-07 in a temporary location. On the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has also constituted two Implementation Committees – one at Kolkata and another one at Pune. The Committee at Kolkata is headed by Prof. Bikash Sinha, Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics and the Committee at Pune is headed by Dr. S. Sivaram, Director, National Chemical Laboratories, Pune.

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