About the Rajiv Gandhi Chair set up at the Cochin University of Science and Technology.
Research in contemporary studies is catching up in the country. To promote such studies, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has established 10 Rajiv Gandhi Chairs in Central and State Universities. In Kerala, the Chair has been set up at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat). The Chairs will be on the themes of Panchayati Raj systems and local governance, women's empowerment, impact of technology on society, eco-systems and sustainable development, livelihood and food security, nuclear disarmament and peace studies, tribal development, protection of child rights, social justice, and secularism and nation building. Besides Cusat, the Chairs have been established at the University of Delhi, University of Madras, Mumbai University, University of Calcutta, North East Hill University (NEHU), Barkatullah University, Bhopal, and Sher-e-Kashmir University, Srinagar.
These universities will conduct studies and research on themes close to the heart of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The objective of the Chair is to create national centres for academic deliberations and action-oriented research in the frontier areas of contemporary relevance for improving the quality of life and life management systems. The Chair will have one professor in the grade of professor in national institutes, one post-doctoral research associate, three junior research fellowships with provisions for upgrading to senior research fellow as per University Grants Commission norms and two technical assistant-level positions.MHRD had introduced the chairs in universities spread out across the country to benefit students even in far-flung areas. The funding for the Chair will come from consolidated grants made available to the UGC by the Central Government.
The Chair at Cochin University will promote studies in areas such as ecosystems and sustainable development, Panchayati Raj systems and local governance and impact of technology on society. UGC has already sanctioned Rs.20 lakhs for the Chair on Contemporary Studies at Cusat. P.K. Abdul Azis, Vice-Chancellor, said that the university has prepared report on the programmes that could be introduced as part of the Chair on contemporary studies. He said that faculty members having specialisation on themes identified by the university would associate themselves with the centre.It will have one Professorship in the grade of professor in national institute such as IITs, a research associate, and three research fellows. The Rajiv Gandhi Chair will be an autonomous department under the university. Dr. Azis said that the Chair would be a project fully funded by the Centre.
For Cusat, this is the second Chair granted by the MHRD. Earlier, the university was given a Chair on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The Centre for Intellectual and Property Rights Studies took the initiative in encouraging research and teaching in the field of IPR in accordance with international standards. The activities of the centre include teaching of IPR for undergraduate and postgraduate students, guiding students for doctoral works, and research support to the Government in making policy and law at the national and international level. The centre also helps authors and inventors for acquiring and protecting IPR, conducting research studies for implementation of IPR and preparing reading material on the subject. It had also contributed to law making in the area of IPR.