Foundation Day of Homi Bhabha National Institute Celebrated

Mumbai: The Foundation Day of Homi Bhabha National Institute was celebrated at the institute campus in Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai today. Chairman, AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe was the Chief Guest for the occasion. Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Member, Council of Management, Shri K. N. Vyas presided over the function, while Former Chairman, AEC, Dr. Anil Kakodkar delivered a talk on the occasion.

The Chief Guest presented degree certificates as well as awards for outstanding students on the occasion. Dr. Kakodkar presented Innovative Research Awards to the students. Prof. J. B. Joshi, Chairman, J. B. Joshi Research Foundation (JBJRF) and Emeritus Professor, HBNI gave a brief on the J. B. Joshi Research Foundation Endowment.

The Chief Guest and Chairman, AICTE, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe delivered an address on the topic, “Challenges and Opportunities in Technical Education”. While access and equity in education has been improved, the focus is now more on improving quality and affordability, he said. The Chief Guest called for a need for streamlining and simplifying the accreditation process; rationalization of regulatory bodies is one step which could be taken. The AICTE Chairman said that India has the second largest technical education system in the world, with a capacity of 3.3 million, out of which 1.8 million seats are filled. However, he stated that increasing the employability of graduates is a big challenge. There is a need to reverse the trend of a large number of students going abroad for higher studies while relatively much fewer students come to study in India, said the Chief Guest.

Prof. Sahasrabudhe said that the industry wants an incoming employee to be functional from day one; he said that the industry however needs to realize that graduates would need some time and training within the job to become functional. The Chairman said that most of the technical universities have adopted the AICTE Model Curriculum. Faculty Development Programmes are being conducted to upgrade the knowledge base of the faculty, in line with emerging areas. He said that faculty members are now required to complete teacher training modules during induction of teachers.

The Chairman, AICTE said that new processes of engagement between teachers and students have been devised and implemented among institutions in order to bring about a better spirit of collaboration, empathy and a deeper bond between faculty and students coming from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. He said that Smart India Hackathon has been a game-changer, enabling students to provide digital solutions to problems faced by government departments and industry. Entrepreneurship incubation and innovation cells are being introduced in institutions.

The Chief Guest said that every institution has to provide a unique and enriching educational experience to their students. If we are able to do this, Indian educational institutions can become game-changers not only to our country, but also to the world, he said.

The Chief Guest expressed his appreciation for the phenomenal contribution of HBNI, which he said has been registering an impressive performance in the development of nuclear technologies for energy needs, defence, medical applications and other non-nuclear technologies. Prof. Sahasrabudhe spoke also of the importance of branding in popularizing HBNI as it deserves.

Member, AEC and Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi S&T Commission, Dr. Anil Kakodkar delivered the J. B. Joshi Research Foundation Endowment Lecture on the topic “Reshaping research culture – Genesis of Homi Bhabha National Institute”. He said that DAE has had a good ecosystem which has enabled its technology to be translated into industry without much difficulty as compared to other fields. He said that while India holds global record in PHWR technology, it is of prime importance that we improve our capabilities in building first-of-its-kind technologies from scratch. He said this calls for reshaping our research culture. He said there is a need to build a cadre of researchers and developers who can network and translate the latest in scientific research into new technology ahead of others; he expressed the hope that HBNI would facilitate in this.

Dr. Kakodkar spoke of the influence of organizational structure on research. Citing the contrast between TIFR and BARC, he said that peer-driven flat structure is suited for idea-based bottom-up research while a hierarchical pyramid is useful for large projects and operations.

The former Chairman said that HBNI needs to play a role in bringing about a renewed focus in the sector on user-inspired basic research which does work that locates the centre of research in an area of basic scientific ignorance that lies at the heart of a social problem.

Delivering the Presidential Address, Secretary, DAE, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Chairman, Council of Management, HBNI, Shri K. N. Vyas said that the research facility in HBNI is backed up by R&D institutes at various locations; these institutes provide excellent facilities and immense opportunities for research. This is a unique feature of HBNI, said Shri Vyas. He expressed happiness that the research standards being maintained by HBNI are very high; he told the students that they can make significant improvements to their thesis by being systematic in their research. He expressed the hope that the institute will continue to grow in the years to come.

Chancellor, HBNI, Prof. Srikumar Banerjee said that the Foundation Day is a time to introspect. Speaking of the importance of academic linkages that foster creativity, he said that HBNI could play a role in establishing linkages among the eleven institutes under the Department of Atomic Energy. He stated that HBNI is an umbrella organization which cuts across institutional boundaries and enables researchers to work in various diverse areas. The institute is well-suited to promote both individual research excellence as well as group achievement. A lot of advance has been made in all these areas, and the administrative framework for making progress has been made. A great deal has been achieved in the last 14 years, but there is a lot more to attain, said Prof. Banerjee.

Vice Chancellor, HBNI, Prof. P. R. Vasudeva Rao presented the Annual Report of the institute for the year 2018-19. Dean, HBNI, Prof. P. D. Naik welcomed the audience.

About HBNI

Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) was established in 2005 as a Deemed-to-be University under section 3 of the UGC (University Grants commission) act 1956 and started its academic programme in 2006. It was recognised as a Grant-in-aid institution of Department of Atomic Energy in 2014. The Institute has a distributed structure and it academically integrates eleven institutions (ten Constituent Institutions, CI and one Off Campus Centre, OCC) of DAE, providing wide range of opportunities for postgraduate education and research. The Foundation Day marks the day on which HBNI was notified as a Deemed-to-be University by UGC.

The mission of HBNI is to encourage pursuit of excellence in sciences and mathematics in a manner that has major significance for the progress of indigenous nuclear technological capability. The vision of the institute is i) to provide an academic framework for integrating basic research with technology development, ii) to encourage inter-disciplinary research and iii) to nurture an environment for attracting high quality manpower in the sciences including engineering sciences to take up a career in nuclear science and technology and related areas. It has guiding values to put good of students first following the highest ethical standards and to value excellence in research and foster innovation and creativity.

HBNI was accredited as Grade A institute by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in 2015.In 2018, HBNI was placed in the category of institutions accorded the highest level of autonomy by UGC. It is placed 17th among the Universities in India in NIRF 2019 ranking by Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India.The Nature Index 2018, brought out by Nature Publications, placed HBNI at the third position amongIndian academic institutions with respect to publications in Nature group of Journals during 2017.

HBNI provides state of the art research infrastructure including mega research facilities, eg.research reactor, accelerator, and cyclotron.The university offers challenging research problems to students through its CI/OCC.It offers a range of academic programs in chemical sciences, engineering sciences, health sciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences and physical sciences, including Ph.D., M.Tech, MD (oncology), Integrated M.Sc., super-speciality medical programmes like DM, MCh and several post-graduate diploma programs. Some of the programmes are unique and only of its kind in India.

DAE fellowships/scholarships are offered for most of the programmes. University also offers Foreign Travel Assistance to its doctoral students for participation in one International Conference, Symposiaor Scientific meetings.

Since inception, HBNI has awarded 1363 Ph.D., 1236 M.Tech, 332 MD and 228 super speciality medical degrees till 31st March 2019.