Wednesday, July 25, 2007


IISc. running out of space; NISER should learn from that

Hindustan Times reports that IISc is looking for additional land for its expansion. Following is the news item on that:

The nearly century-old famed Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore intends to build a new campus, twice its size, to meet much of its future expansion needs.

IISc Director Prof P Balaram said the institute of higher learning is in discussion with the government and has requested to allot it land somewhere closeby that can be utilised for the expansion activities.

"I would like to think that if one is going to take a very long term view, one would actually look for a campus of at least twice the size of this one," Balaram told PTI in Bangalore.

"The reason is that there are many, many things which have to be done in Bangalore like greater industry connection with research labs...All this needs space somewhere in the neighbourhood."

The current land-holding of the IISc, which is ranked highly in the international academic field, is 443 acres. It's celebrating its centenary year in 2009.

"Right now, we are extremely constrained by the growth of Bangalore. We are completely covered on all sides. There is little scope here (the existing campus) for future expansion," Balaram said.

IISc, meanwhile, is currently in the throes of modernisation. It is building new laboratories for aerospace engineering, biology, physics, nano electronics, nano science and nano engineering in the existing campus.

"We are also building a new library. Libraries have changed a great deal...Everything is becoming very much more electronic and it's going to be, I guess, very much more elctronic than what is today," he said.

IISc, Balaram said, is also building two students' hostels. "This will automatically permit a little bit expansion of students' strength."

According to him, part of the funding for the modernisation and expansion activities would come from the special grant of Rs 100 crore announced by the Finance Minister two years ago, as also from allocation in the 11th Plan.

He also said the IISc is keen to increase the clinical interface of its research activities both in biology and in engineering.

"Only way to increase the clinical interface is to have a fair amount of inhouse research which is clinically directed. This would mean setting up of some kind of a bio-medical centre at a point in future."

Asked if the IISc has plans to introduce under-graduate programmes, Balaram said the issue is still being discussed internally, with some supporting it and others saying it's not a good idea.

Considering that NISER would like to grow up to be an IISc, it must secure adequate land now, before it is too late to find adjacent land. Having parts of an institute in one place and another part in another place will not be as cohesive. So adequate steps should be taken now.

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