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Educational News Today
Saturday, Jan 09, 2010
" ISRO mulls tie-up with Kerala University"

Proposal to set up materials science division
  • Working group to draw up proposal
  • Collaboration can enhance quality, says Vice-Chancellor
Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to explore the possibility of a tie-up with the University of Kerala (KU) in the field of materials science.

An informal discussion on the possibility of setting up an ISRO-KU materials science division was held between university Vice-Chancellor A. Jayakrishnan and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) Director P. S. Veeraraghavan on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress which concluded here on Thursday.
Mr. Veeraraghavan later told The Hindu that a working group comprising experts from the ISRO and the university would soon be constituted to draw up a proposal for a possible collaborative venture. “The nature of the collaboration cannot be spelt out now. It is also not clear whether a new materials science department or centre would be set up,” he added.

Dr. Jayakrishnan told The Hindu that the university had initially mooted the idea of a materials science division to G. Madhavan Nair when the latter was the chairman of the ISRO. “ISRO Chairman Dr. Radhakrishnan too is aware of this proposal and I understand that the organisation has, in principle, agreed to the idea,” the Vice-Chancellor said.

From the university’s point of view, a collaboration with an organisation like the ISRO would go a long way in enhancing the quality of research in frontier areas. Dr. Jayakrishnan pointed out that ISRO’s expertise in materials science is immense. Moreover, such a collaboration would prove advantageous to the space agency’s engineers. “They (the ISRO) mainly operate on a mission mode and, as such, their engineers cannot engage in open-ended research. Once a division comes up at the university, such kind of ‘blue sky’ research can be done. Even if their engineers spend 20 per cent of their time at the university, rapid strides can be made in materials science,” he explained.

Pure research apart, the varsity also wants the division to offer masters and doctoral degrees in materials science. A state-of-the-art laboratory, at an initial investment of Rs.50 crore, would also be necessary at the division, he added.
Courtesy: The Hindu
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