IISER Pune Celebrates its Fifth Foundation Day

IISER Pune celebrated its fifth foundation day on April 6, 2015 with the Foundation Day Lecture being delivered by Prof Devang Khakhar (Director, IIT Mumbai).

 Prof K N Ganesh welcomes Prof Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay

Prof KN Ganesh welcomes Prof Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay

The events of the day began with the audience being taken on a trip down the memory lane through a short film prepared by the Science Media Centre that showcased the foundation day events over the years. Director Prof K N Ganesh recounted how developments that have taken place at IISER over the past year were facilitating various academic, cultural and student activities. Mentioning that IISERs have been ranked fourth in India by a Nature magazine survey of research organizations, Prof Ganesh stated that to maintain and improve its standing, the institute needs to have clear goals for the future. He envisioned that reviews by advisory committees consisting of top national and international scientists, would provide a good basis for preparing this road map.

Prof Khakhar

Prof Khakhar

Prof Khakhar congratulated IISER Pune for making substantial progress even within a few years after its inception. He began his talk on ‘The Role and Impact of Modern Research Universities’ with a brief review of the historic origins of universities and their changing nature. Recounting the early years of IITs in the post-independence era, he spoke about the elements that had contributed to making them institutions of high calibre. These elements, that include an emphasis on teaching of basic sciences and merit-based intake of students, are relevant even now in determining the success of any such institute. He mentioned that today, institutes have not remained merely places for training but have taken on several roles such as incubation units for innovations and technology transfer, supporters for start-ups, technology partners for industry, and assistance providers for patents and publishing.

Prof Khakhar and Prof Ganesh with Team Kalpa

Prof Khakhar and Prof Ganesh with Team Kalpa

Prof Khakhar outlined the ingredients for successful research institution, like recruitment of the best faculty and students, academic autonomy, stable source of funding, and a clear vision that aims for excellence. Commenting that the structure of higher education in India is still much skewed in various aspects, Prof Khakhar summarized the challenges faced by organizations like IISER Pune: working to keep pace with the changing global economy and society, while striving to maintain high standards in an era of free and ubiquitous sources of information. He said that as a national institution, we must always be conscious of our role in society—generating quality human resource, creating a repository of knowledge, and nurturing new ideas and innovations. Noting that institutions like IITs and IISERs enjoy a privileged position in society, Prof Khakhar reiterated that we are obligated to justify the faith reposed in us.

This year’s edition of Kalpa, the annual student magazine, was released at the hands of Prof Khakhar. It was then time for the much-awaited awards ceremony where students were felicitated for their excellent academic performance. Student groups involved in creating a Warli canvas the size of a football field and organizers of Mimamsa, the national inter-collegiate science quiz were also lauded. Members of administrative and technical staff, and faculty committees were commended for their contribution to the institute.

This year’s winners in various categories:

CNR Rao Education Foundation Prize
Mr Chhajed Shubham Sohanlal Spring 2014 – Semester 2
Ms Shraddha Lall Fall 2014 – Semester 1
Prizes for Academic Excellence:  Spring 2014
Mr Akshay S Semester 4
Ms Khushboo Singh Semester 6
Mr K Arun Kumar Semester 6
Mr Shiva Chidambaram P. Semester 8
Prizes for Academic Excellence:  Fall 2014
Mr Spandan Choudhury Semester 3
Ms Tanushree Bharat Shah Semester 3
Mr Akshay S Semester 5
Ms Santpur Sai Neha Semester 7
Mr K Arun Kumar Semester 7
Administrative and Technical Staff
Mr Nilesh Dumbre Technical Officer
Mrs Beena Subhash Office Superintendent
Mrs Suvarna Bhardwaj Office Assistant
Ms Shabnam Patil Lab. Technician
Mr Narendra Khandekar Lab. Technician
Mr Yogesh Kapse Office Assistant
Mr Arvind Mehta Support Staff
Recognition of Service
Director, Prism Enterprises
Student Activites: Warli Painting
Ms Divya Singh
Ms Lavanya Lokhande
Ms Prachi Shinde
Mr Siddhesh Zadey
Dr Suhita Nadkarni Faculty Co-ordinator
Student Activities: Mimamsa Group
Ms Nandini Hazra
Mr Aseem Rajan  Kshirsagar
Mr Mangesh Avinash Sonawane
Mr Adithya E Rajagopalan
Dr Diganta Borah Faculty Co-ordinator
Day Care Committee
Dr Mayurika Lahiri
Dr Collins Assisi
Mrs Neeta Deo
Dr  Aparna Deshpande
Dr Srabanti Chaudhury
Women’s Cell
Dr Mayurika Lahiri
Dr Sudarshan Ananth
Mrs Mariamma John
Dr Srabanti Chaudhury
Dr Soumen Maity
Dr Rama Mishra
Faculty Special Award
Dr Mayurika Lahiri

Reported by Apurva Barve

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