Varsities on science centre shortlist

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 4.12.07
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Calcutta University and Jadavpur University are set to play a role in rejuvenating research in basic sciences in India.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has shortlisted Calcutta University’s radio physics department and Jadavpur University’s chemistry department for setting up two resource networking centres.

Students, research scholars and teachers from across the country will be offered training and other facilities at the centres to upgrade teaching, learning and research in their respective institutions. The UGC will set up 10 resource networking centres in India.

According to the plan, there will be two centres each for chemical sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences, mathematical sciences and material sciences. The centres at Calcutta and Jadavpur universities, if they are set up, will be on physical and chemical sciences, respectively.

Two more institutions have been shortlisted in each category, said UGC sources. The institutions that have made it to the shortlist gave presentations before UGC officials in New Delhi on November 20.

“We are expecting the final selection to be made in December. The UGC officials expressed satisfaction with our performance at the presentation,” said Sushanta Sen, the dean (technology) of Calcutta University.

A senior official of the state higher education department said: “It is going to be an achievement for the city if two of the 10 resource networking centres are set up here.”

Each centre will be provided Rs 25 crore over five years. The UGC will continue the grant if the mother institutions are able to run the centres successfully during the period.

Students, teachers and scholars from across the country will regularly visit the centres for training. They will be allowed to pursue collaborative research, at the institution-level or personal level.

“The primary responsibility of the centres will be to impart academic training to college and university students and research scholars and promote collaborative research in basic sciences,” explained A.K. Mullick, the head of the chemistry department at Jadavpur University.

The centres will also provide technological support and other facilities for science teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate institutions, he added. The laboratories in the institutions, if not properly equipped, will be upgraded.

The centres will also have to establish summer and winter schools for science students at all levels, according to Mullick.