Hyderabad: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday called for expanding the human resource pool in science and technology and creating a stimulating institutional environment `through innovation and pursuit of excellence`.
Singh laid the foundation stone for the Hyderabad campus of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) at the centrally-run University of Hyderabad.
`We need to expand human resource pool in the area of science and technology to maintain our competitive advantage in the knowledge economy that is now on the horizon in the world,` Singh said.
`Secondly, we need to create a stimulating institutional environment that can engender a full flowering of our vast, latent capacities through innovation and pursuit of excellence.`
`The scientific and technological prowess of a nation is a major determinant of its state of development. Innovation and knowledge will be the key factors in our nation`s progress in the 21st century. We must, therefore, foster an environment that promotes and nurtures scientific achievement and makes us a world leader in creating intellectual property,` he said.
He stressed the need to strengthen scientific infrastructure, draw the brightest minds to scientific research, and create institutions of the highest standards of excellence.
`Scientific development is an integral part of the journey of our country towards inclusive, balanced and sustainable growth,` he said.
The ceremony passed off without any untoward incident as tight security arrangements were made in view of protests by a section of students and faculty of the university over allotment of university land to TIFR.
The institute is coming up on 209 acres allotted by the state government. TIFR plans to set up various research and academic facilities at the Hyderabad campus with an investment of about Rs.2,500 crore over a decade.
Recalling that India`s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation stone for TFIR at Mumbai 56 years ago, Singh noted that from modest beginnings TIFR has emerged as a great centre of research and learning of international repute.
He said the institute was closely associated with many of the advances the country has made in the frontier fields of scientific research.
`From its origin in nuclear science and mathematics, TIFR`s activities now encompass all branches of natural sciences, mathematics, computer cience and science education,` he said.
Paying rich tributes to TIFR`s founder and a greatest scientist Homi Bhabha, Singh said the nation owes Bhabha a deep debt of gratitude for his pioneering efforts in putting India on the scientific map of the world.
Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee described TIFR as a cradle of atomic energy activities in the country.
He said the need for the new campus was felt as the Mumbai campus had come to a state of saturation and it couldn`t grow any farther.
`TIFR has chosen a path in which it will try to converge various traditional disciplines into some common theme. They have named it as research in light, matter and life,` he said.
TIFR plans to have 1,000 to 1,400 students in Phd programmes and about 400 post doctoral associates in new campus. It will also have 250 faculty members.
Mustansir Barma, director of TIFR, said TIFR was an autonomous institute supported by the department of atomic energy with a mission to conduct world class research in various sciences and train young researchers.
He said the new campus would have TIFR centre for interdisciplinary science, which is expected to be functional by 2013.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L Narasimhan and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah were also present on the occasion.