Thursday, November 03, 2005
IIST: an IISER alternative for Bhubaneswar, Orissa
In lieu of the hijacked NIS/IISER from Orissa, an alternative institution could be an IIST (Indian Institute of Science and Technology) in Bhubaneswar with an investment of the order of 500 crores (same as an IISER) or more from the HRD ministry and with an additional amount from the Science&Technology ministry and/or the AICTE budget.
This institute will be a blend of an IISER and IIT. Similar to IISERs its main focus will be science. But it will be an opposite of an IIT in that in IITs engineering departments have a main role but science departments do exsit. In contrast, in the proposed IIST, the science departments will play the main role, but various engineering departments will exist so as to create a synergy between the science and engineering departments and so that new scientific developments will have easy access to engineering techniques leading to a faster path to products.
For example, there will be various biology and life science departments such as Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Material Sciences, etc. But at the same time there will be departments such as (a) Bioengineering, (b) Biotechnology, (c) Biomedical Informatics, and (d) Drug and therapy engineering. To support these departments there will be engineering departments such as (e) Chemical Engineering, (f) Computer Science and Engineering, (g) Information technology, (h) Electronics engineering, (i) Robotics and mechanical engineering, etc. In addition there will be departments like (j) Pharmaceutical sciences, (k) Fuel and Energy engineering (with special focus on Bio fuels), and (l) Instrumentation engineering (with special focus on Biomedical instrumentation).
Mathematics, Informatics and Biology will play a central role for all undergraduates. Like in IITs all undergraduate students will have courses in Physics and Chemistry, but in this institute every student will have more Math classes (for example: every one will be taught discrete mathematics which is not taught to all undergraduates at IITs), more informatics classes
(algorithm design) and Biology classes (in particular in "molecular biology").
This istitute will closely collaborate with the proposed AIIIMS-like institution in Bhubaneswar and have joint centers in topics like (y) Medical Technology. It will have unique centers (w.r.t. India) such as in (z) systems biology.
In this institute, at the undergraduate level, everyone will be required to have a major and a minor, one from a science program, and the other from an engineering program, and everyone will be encouraged to have a dual degree.
To encourage interdisciplinary research, the institute will not have any departments. It will have a couple of colleges such as (i) College of Science and Engineering,
(ii) College of social sciences and in the far future (iii) a college of business and law.
Within the college of science and engineering there will be programs, and program heads who will be in charge of programs such as the B.ScTech (Bachelors in Sc and Tech) in
Biochemistry, but no distinct departments or departmental buildings. The faculty offices
and research labs will not be grouped around the programs, but rather in a way that will facilitate interdisciplinary research. A molecular biology faculty's office and his lab may be next to the database faculty's office, thus enabling greater interaction between the groups.
The architecture of the college of science and engineering would borrow from the Pentagon's architecture in that one can get from one office/lab to another in no more than 5 minute of walking.
This institute will serve several purposes.
(a) It will serve the purpose of an IISER with respect to enhancing the scientific prowess of India.
(b) It will be a graduate school in science, engineering and technology so as to significantly add to the number of M.Techs and Ph.Ds in various science and engineering fields that are necessary to improve the faculty of the thousands of private engineering colleges that have opened in India, and that currently have very low quality faculty.
(c) It will bring science and technology closer together.
(d) It will be the only institute in India with interdisciplinary research as its focus with everything (courses, programs, faculty offices, administrative structure of colleges, etc.)
centered around that focus.
(d) In collaboration with the propsed AIIMS-like institution it will bring together medicne, science and engineering.
We will flush out more details of this proposal in future postings.
has little respect for democracy and social justice then they have to establish an institute in Orissa having same profile as IISc/ NIS/ IISER.
The concept of IIST is absolutly appropriate which sound more novel than the proposed framework of IISER. With The proposed objective, the IIST can meet the challange of the third millenium.
Feel free to suggest some ideas.
Please ask your colleagues to join in too. My plan is to make a decent proposal and send it to SAC-PM, Planning comission etc., so that they don't complain that Orissa never sent any innovative proposal.
I am trying to prepare a proposal
on "energy science- an inter- disciplinary Research". Currently many leading universities world over taking up this subject to meet future energy demand.