National Institute of Science coming up

CHENNAI Oct. 26. After outbidding neighbouring States for securing the high-profile National Institute of Science to be located here, the Anna University is working on proposals for starting five-year integrated M.Sc programmes in basic sciences.

The NISc will function as an autonomous institute. But its steering committee will have academic heads from the Anna and Madras Universities, besides agencies such as the CLRI, the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, the IIT-Madras. In due course, it is expected to be declared as an "institute of national importance".

The institute will be located on a 50-acre site at Pallikaranai, off Velachery. The exact location is being worked out with local bodies and revenue officials, say academic sources. Three more such NIScs are to come up in Pune, Bhubaneshwar and Allahabad representing western, eastern and northern regions. Each of them will sign a memorandum of understanding with the University Grants Commission, which will provide, initially, at least Rs.50 crores for each institute. In December, the President is expected to launch the institutes during the UGC's golden jubilee celebrations.

The teaching and research activities of NISc, Chennai, will centre round schools for physical sciences, chemical sciences, communication sciences and technology, biotechnology, advanced materials, life sciences and school of mathematical sciences. The admission will be based only on merit.

According to Anna University officials, the NISc will address the concern expressed among educationists, administrators, scientists and industrialists on the continuing decline of science education standard at all levels and the growing urgency to make available for the country an adequate supply of well-qualified and motivated scientists and technologists to participate in national development.

Thus, the institute will play the twin role of a teaching organisation and research and development establishment in frontier areas of science and cutting-edge technology. If required, it will also provide M.Tech degree.

In the first year, students will get an exposure to basic physical and life science principles, mathematical tools and computational techniques and at the end of the first year, they will undergo a rigorous test to assess individual ability. Then the students will indicate their choice by opting for courses from a large menu of courses, in consultation with a faculty adviser. At the end of the third year, they will take an aptitude-cum-ability test to decide to go for further studies in basic or applied sciences. A student can also drop out with a B.Sc degree.

At the postgraduate level, students will study in a chosen field of specialisation. They should undergo internship in reputed agencies such as the ISRO, the DRDO, the CSIR, the DAE and the TIFR. In special cases, engineering and technology graduates will be admitted to M.Tech programmes in any

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