Govt Plans 50 Centres of Excellence for Science & Tech

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The government plans to establish 50 centres of excellence in frontier areas of science and technology in the next six years.

"These emerging areas are taught in very few institutions. This is the most comprehensive attempt at creating centres of high learning in science and technology," an official of the human resource ministry said.

These centres will work in biotechnology , bio-informatics, nano-materials and nano-technologies, mechatronics and high performance computing, among others.

An expert committee headed by scientist C N R Rao has shortlisted 35 proposals from 30 institutions and 15 will be added later. They will be located in campuses of existing institutions, both government and private, and will have complete autonomy.

The centres will conduct courses at post-graduate/PhD/post-doctoral levels. They will also run short-term training programmes including summer and winter schools. There will be separate courses to enhance the competence level of teachers and post-graduate students.

The panel applied rigorous tools and global parameters to identify research potential and past performance of institutions that submitted proposals. The selected proposals are in two categories — A+ and A — based on technical merit. It graded 15 proposals as A+ and 20 as A.

Institutions were selected on the basis of number of PhDs and post-graduate students in the last five years, number of publications in the last five years and profile of the leader of the group that submitted the proposal.

A provision of Rs 150 crore has been made in the 11th Five-Year Plan, which runs till March 31, 2012. Scientists and teachers will be asked to join these centres on contract basis at higher salaries.

Other frontier areas identified include engineering/industrial design, chaos, complexity and self-organising systems, professional/business/technical/engineering ethics, consciousness studies, communication, creativity and innovation.


India Brand Equity Foundation, January 17, 2011