A nanotechnology park in Chennai and a complete revamping of course syllabi to reflect inter-disciplinarity are among the suggestions made by Madras University’s advisory committee for planning and development at its recent meeting.

G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, said that the 14-member advisory committee with members including eminent scientist A. Sivathanu Pillai, State Planning Commission Vice-chairman M. Naganathan, Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education Vice-Chairman A. Ramasamy and Tourism Secretary V. Irai Anbu had held a meeting last week to deliberate on updating the vision of the more than 150-year-old university.

Among the suggestions that had been brought forward were the setting up of a nanotechnology park, possibly at the Guindy campus of the University. Industry leaders would be invited and the government would be consulted, he said. At a recent meeting, Dr. Thiruvasagam had pointed out that of the funds allocated for nanotechnology, more than Rs.100 crore had not been utilised and this money would be used to step up the activities of the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

In line with the idea of encouraging socially relevant research, a performance review mechanism for researchers would be introduced and experts would review the progress made by different researchers, he said.

The syllabi for various courses would also be re-designed with the help of experts from outside the university to reflect the thrust on inter-disciplinarity, he said. There were also suggestions to increase the emphasis on sports and cultural activities, and a proposal to set up a new department for soft skills, he added.

The suggestions will be presented at the Syndicate meeting next week and would have to be approved by the Syndicate, the Academic Council and the Senate before it can take shape.