Taking unchartered paths in science research

Quality education: Laboratory sessions being conducted at IIRBS; (down) Prof. H. B. Kagan of the Universite Paris-Sud, France, conducting a session at the institute.

An old saying in the scientific community goes 'Theory guides, experiment decides'. This adage has been driving the Institute for Intensive Research in Basic Sciences (IIRBS) forward since its launch in 2009. Functioning independently under the direction of the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, the institute envisages high priority research and dynamic academic programmes in interdisciplinary areas.

The institute offers an innovative five-year integrated interdisciplinary Master of Science programme (MS programme) that was the first of its kind in Kerala at the time of introduction. The programme seeks to create scientists who have a deep appreciation of humanities.

It also aims to create a talent pool that consists of highly competent and motivated scientists who are capable of expanding the scientific frontiers by engaging in cutting-edge scientific research in physical, chemical, and the biological sciences.

The institute also aims to address the dearth in quality training in fundamental science that had occurred in recent times. "The importance of this field has been neglected of late. A deep understanding of basic science is crucial in order to fathom the various arenas of advanced scientific and also to conduct experiments," says Dr. I. Ibnusaud, the coordinator of IIRBS.

Visiting faculty Dr. Simon Bernhard Cammerer, a scientist in organic synthetic chemistry, testifies to this fact. "Proper training should be made available in order to lay the foundation for scientific advancement," he said. The curriculum includes classroom learning, video/e-learning, off-campus learning, experimental tasks, project assignments, and original research work in the high priority areas.
Each course has a certain number of credits which denote its weightage.

Some of the courses will be covered by tutorials-discussions, lab tasks, minor and major research projects, assignments, workshops, preparation of review, off-campus visits and instrumental methods.

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