IIT Kharagpur steps in biology education in collaboration with IACS


IIT Kharagpur and IACS Kolkata  to offer Integrated M.Sc.-PhD programme in Chemical and Molecular Biology

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS),Kolkata have signed a MoU for the institutional collaboration offering an Integrated MSc-PhD Programme on Chemical and Molecular Biology, which is new and unique in the sense this will open direct academic exchange between the country's two leading institutions. The degree will be awarded by IIT Kharagpur. In the first academic year, students will visit the both the campuses,first IACS Kolkata and then IIT Kharagpur. They will spend one semester (about six months) at each institute. From 3rd semester onwards, one half of the students will stay at IIT Kharagpur and the other half at IACS Kolkata. Students staying at a particular institute in the 3rd semester will continue to carry out their Master’s project in the 4th semester at the same Institute. There will be compulsory core  and elective courses in the curriculum. The specific elective courses will be offered from a common list. From 3rd Semester onwards, the students staying in a particular institute will choose the electives from a list offered by the same institute. If students opt for the same elective in both the institutes, the course will run in parallel in both the institutes and evaluation will be done jointly. 

IIT Kharagpur,the first of the IITs to be  established in 1951 by the Govt. of India, was recognized as an Institute of National Importance in 1956. IIT Kharagpur is widely recognized for spearheading new standards in engineering education. The institute has also made significant contributions towards various spheres of national development from the strategic sectors of Defense, Space and Atomic energy to the Economic, Public and Development sectors that directly or indirectly touch the lives of all the citizens of India. IACS, founded in 1876 is a premier autonomous research institution engaged in advanced scientific research in frontier area of Basic Sciences and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India. This is the place where Sir C V Raman did his monumental work on Physical Optics leading to the discovery of the celebrated Raman Effect which won for him  and India the first and only Nobel Prize in Science.The institute is devoted to the pursuit of fundamental  research in the frontier areas of  Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Energy, Polymer and Materials. In each field, IACS nurtures young and innovative research fellows in their doctoral programs.
“This program aims to create trendsetting initiative to bring together two premier institutes under a common academic platform. Students will have the unique opportunity to study under  the strong academic programme of the first institute in IIT system and the research excellence of the first research institute in the country. This is in continuation of the IIT Kharagpur’s existing tri-institutional PGDBA programme jointly offered with IIM Calcutta and ISI Calcutta” said Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, Director IIT Kharagpur.
Detailed exercise has been done jointly by the  institutes to identify the course outlines and associated credits. The primary focus of IIT Kharagpur is Molecular and Cell Biology and that of IACS Kolkata is Chemical Biology. One faculty member from IITKGP and one from IACS, based on their common research interest, will jointly supervise a student who will decide to continue for his/her PhD after 2 years. All students will be registered in the School of Bioscience, IIT Kharagpur. The examination pattern, schedule and grading shall be governed by the rules and regulations of IITKGP.
Reminding that IACS originally started as the first research Institute of its kind India primarily as a science teaching institute, Professor Santanu Bhattacharya, Director, IACS stated that presently IACS has a vibrant research program in Physical, Chemical and Biological Sciences.  In addition to research activities, IACS offers various courses to the Ph.D. students in the above mentioned areas.  Now for more than a decade, IACS is also successfully running an Integrated MSc-PhD program in Chemical Sciences. In view of the recent policy of the Government of India that faculty members of scientific research institutes must compulsorily participate in teaching at various levels, IACS is poised to expand the integrated MSc-PhD program to all areas including Biological Sciences.
The students will have an exit option after 2 years with an M.Sc. degree. Only bright students above a stipulated CGPA will continue for the PhD degree. Students will receive IACS fellowship in the first 2 years and PhD fellowship from IIT Kharagpur as per MHRD norms from third year.The MoUwill also cover academic and research collaboration of faculty members between the two institutes with the aim of formulating joint research projects and faculty exchange programme. 
Source: IIT Kharagpur, Press Release