Vice-Chancellor readies research roadmap

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ASSUMES OFFICE: New Vice-Chancellor of Madras University. PHOTO: N. SRIDHARAN
ASSUMES OFFICE: New Vice-Chancellor of Madras University. PHOTO: N. SRIDHARAN

Special Correspondent

Five state-of-the-art facilities on the anvil

CHENNAI: Research infrastructure at the University of Madras is all set for a boost with environmental scientist S. Ramachandran assuming charge on Wednesday as its 41st Vice-Chancellor.

On the anvil are five state-of-the-art research facilities Institute for Infrastructure Studies, Centre for Population Studies, a department of herbal sciences, a school of environmental sciences and a centre for coastal zone management.

"We have identified key frontier areas of research, and my aim is to bring the University of Madras to the forefront in science and research to gain national and international recognition," Mr. Ramachandran said after taking over from S.P. Thyagarajan, whose tenure ended on Tuesday. He assumes office in the university's sesquicentennial year.

"The priority is to consolidate our achievements and sustain growth. There are enough activities and a clear roadmap to keep us going. I will try to improve the academic ambience of the university by giving better amenities to the staff and students, including clean air and toilets," he said.

Encouraging responses had been received from T.R. Baalu, Union Minister for Surface transport, and R. Velu, Minister of State for Railways, on starting an Institute for Infrastructure Studies, which would generate research inputs for the construction of ports, highways and airports.

While research on demography and family welfare would be carried out at the Centre for Population Studies, the university had received a Rs.10-crore grant (of a total Rs.32 crore package) for starting the herbal sciences department. Funding for the coastal zone management institute would come from a Rs.500-crore World Bank grant.

Environmental studies would continue to be a priority area for Mr. Ramachandran, an internationally recognised expert in ocean management and coastal area studies.

The School of Environmental Sciences would be started with the help of a Rs. 20-crore grant, sought from the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

"One of our main objectives is to promote employable students, for which the syllabus will be restructured and revamped accordingly. Online education initiatives will be given a boost, and the distance education wing will be modernised. Research in humanities would be taken up too, alongside high-end scientific research."

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