Welcome to NIUS
The National Initiative on Undergraduate Science (NIUS), a major initiative of HBCSE (TIFR) concerning tertiary science education in India was launched in the summer of 2004. The program includes initiating and guiding students over an extended period for proto-research, preparing and editing lecture notes, and promoting undergraduate research. Introducing innovative experiments and rejuvenating the Undergraduate Laboratory is an important component of NIUS. Another aspect has been to assist college teachers in setting up modest research programs who in turn would then locally mentor students. This involves arranging workshops for college teachers and facilitating their contact with scientists in TIFR, BARC and other leading institutions. The administrative aspects involve coordinating with scientists and students and purchase of equipments among others.
NIUS Student Camps
The NIUS is an extended nurture program for undergraduate students. Each batch of selected students is nurtured over a two year period. A typical student attends three to four camps each of two to four weeks duration. The first camp is an exposure and enrichment camp for students. In this camp, experts lecture on topics of front line research. Some of the more pedagogical lectures have been written up and edited, and will assist in Curriculum Development at the undergraduate level. Some of these have already been widely disseminated and constitute valuable resource material. The first camp has been acknowledged to be an important learning experience. Typically a third of the students enrolled for the first camp stay on to complete their entire two year project. The first camp is also a selection camp.
Ten batches of undergraduate students from across the nation have been exposed to this programme from 2004 – 2014. A fair fraction of the students was from non-metropolitan colleges.
Summary of NIUS Camps (2004-2014)
1. Exposure and enrichment camps for students
2. Lecture notes prepared
3. No. of completed projects
4. Refereed Research Publications and Conferences
At the same time NIUS faculty have assisted in setting up and conducting laboratories and framing curricula in the newly established science institutes (IISERs, NISER and UM - DAE CBS). NIUS faculty have undertaken teaching at UM - DAE CBS for the past three years. Further, the task of identifying, encouraging and working with faculty in Non-Metropolitan colleges has been initiated. This had been done in over half a dozen places in India. Our perspective is to enable the teachers to set up a modest research effort so that they in turn will mentor the undergraduate students. The research areas initiated so far are nanophysics (both theoretical and experimental) and quantum chaos. This activity is likely to be expanded.
Assisting newely established Science Institutions
Promotion of Undergraduate research in Non-Metropolitan Colleges over
Number of teacher workshops completed so far over
It maybe noted that the tradition of introducing undergraduate students to research in western countries is not new. Caltech (USA) for example has run the SURGE project since 1919. The Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) in India have initiated similar projects with IIT – Kanpur tying up with Caltech. The Kishore Vaigyanik Protasahan Yojana (KVPY) and the Jagdis Bose National Science Talent Search (JBNSTS) schemes also encourage its scholars to carry out research projects in summer. In contrast to these schemes the budget outlay of NIUS is modest. It must also be noted that for five years since NIUS was launched (2004) there was no hostel, laboratory space and dedicated staff. The Olympiad cells of biology, chemistry and physics were asked to take up this task. Students have won laurels from thier parent institutes for work carried out under NIUS. Several are now doing their PhDs in leading institutions. Many have acknowledged the positive influence of NIUS. To get glimpse of this click here.
Prof. Vijay A. Singh has been the National Co-ordinator since its inception in 2004 till 2012. Prof. Savita Ladage is the new National Co-ordinator from 2013. The NIUS proposal document can also be viewed .