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The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), with support from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is establishing a Skill Development Centre at its second campus in Khudapura, Challakere taluk, Chitradurga district. The new “HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre” will focus on skill development at various levels in mechanical, electronics and manufacturing sectors, including aerospace and allied industries.
The concept of a Skill Development Centre has been in the pipeline for nearly eight years at IISc. The push for skill development programmes by the Government of India has given further impetus for this socially important initiative.
However, the realization of this vision warranted working with active partners having common goals. As an organization already committed to social projects of national interest, HAL came forward to support the infrastructure for this Centre under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The goal is to create a model facility that would provide skill development programmes for various beneficiaries — from unemployed youth and local community members to advanced engineering professionals.
Construction of the HAL-IISc Skill Development Centre is expected to be completed in 24 months. Training activities are expected to begin by March 2019.
HAL has been supporting various community development activities over the years under CSR, in areas such as infrastructure development, health, rural sports, women empowerment, education, skill development, drinking water, establishment of wind power project & solar power projects in schools, etc.
IISc @ Challakere:
In 2010, IISc started the establishment of its second campus in Challakere taluk, Chitradurga district, on 1500 acres of land. Many activities have been initiated at the new campus including the construction of the boundary wall and peripheral road, and the establishment of a climate research laboratory, solar power research field, and a Centre for bio-energy-based low-carbon technologies.
At Challakere, IISc has also been running the Talent Development Centre (TDC) for the past few years, where science and math teachers from government high schools and colleges are trained using hands-on experiments. More than 9000 teachers have been trained at the TDC so far.
To encourage bright young faculty members and incentivize outstanding researchers to join IISc as faculty members, the Institute plans to establish several named Young Investigator positions.
The first of these, called the “R. I. Mazumdar Young Investigator” position was established with a generous contribution made by Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon Limited. This endowment fund will be used to support cutting-edge research in Bioengineering and related areas by bright young faculty members currently at or recruited in the future by IISc.
“It is an honor to be chosen as the first awardee,” said Dr. Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, Assistant Professor, Centre for BioSystems Science and Engineering at IISc. His research focuses on a cross-disciplinary effort combining elements from drug delivery and materials science, to study and engineer the immune system. “I am grateful for the support extended, as it will enable us to expand our ongoing work on developing tools to modulate immune responses.”
In recent years, IISc has consistently maintained its position as the #1 Indian institution in world university rankings. Establishing such prestigious Young Investigator positions is part of the Institute’s long-term vision to reach the top 50 universities in global rankings. Each of these endowed positions can be named after the individual contributor/organization and will be associated with them for perpetuity.
In 2016, an IISc alumnus made a commitment to support the travel of IISc students to international conferences for 10 years through the “D Nagarajachar Fund”. In the academic year 2016-17, two students benefited from the fund and presented their work at international conferences in Berlin and Washington, DC.
When the 1965 B.E. ET, ECE batch were planning their golden jubilee reunion last year, they came up with the idea of raising funds to contribute to students’ needs. Discussions with the ECE and EE department chairmen led them to realize that travel to international conferences was one of the biggest challenges that research students currently face.
“Students get Rs. 1 lakh for the entire duration of their research for travel. This is nothing; not even enough for one international conference,” says Prof. KVS Hari, ECE Chairperson.
The alumni then raised Rs. 3.2 lakhs to help kick-start the ECE Alumni Research Fund for Students, to support students towards travel and research contingencies. In order to make the fund sustainable, Hari plans to encourage department alumni to contribute to the fund at golden and silver jubilee reunions every year.
“If we are an international institution, there should be free exchange of scholars across. Students should travel [to conferences], because they can initiate networks that will be helpful for the rest of their lives. That connection with your peer group at a young age is very important because whatever network you form during your PhD is very critical for the rest of your academic and R&D career.”
“If the fund grows, we will be to support more students and even think of expanding the support amount,” he says.
IISc alumnus Dr. Desiraju Rajagopal Rao, and his wife Dr. Vijaya Rao have made a generous contribution to create a Biomedical Research Laboratory in the Centre for BioSystems Science and Engineering (BSSE), IISc. Their contribution will support biomedical research at BSSE for perpetuity. At a ceremony held on Diwali at the Faculty Hall, the couple handed over the cheque to Prof. Anurag Kumar, Director, IISc.
Dr. Rajagopal Rao enrolled in the Associateship Programme in Biochemistry in the mid 1950s. He conducted basic research in food biochemistry at the Central Food Technology Research Institute, Mysore, and retired as its acting Director. Dr. Vijaya Rao served with distinction as a microbiologist at the Defence Food Research Laboratory, also located in Mysore. This distinguished scientist couple is passionate about science, and biomedical research in particular.
Their contribution will help BSSE set up a biomedical research lab and promote research in this interdisciplinary area. A new interdisciplinary centre started in 2015, BSSE undertakes research and training in the broad multi-disciplinary area of biological systems with equal emphasis on science and engineering.