The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) on Thursday entered into a memorandum of understanding with philanthropist and entrepreneur Ajit Isaac and his wife, Sarah Isaac, who have donated Rs 105 crore for establishing a centre for studying public health. It will be named Isaac Centre for Public Health.
The centre will offer dual-degree programmes Master of Public Health-PhD (5-6 years) and Master of Public Health-MTech (3 years) to nurture education and research in the area of public health. It will be operational by 2024 and will encourage students to pursue careers in clinical research to develop new treatments and healthcare solutions driven by a bench-to-bedside philosophy, according to a statement from the institute.
The student intake will be about 10 per year with a steady-state student population of about 40 over time. According to the IISc, the centre will have state-of-the-art biomedical research computing infrastructure to host data as well as develop and test big data analysis methods tailored for public health.
Govindan Rangarajan, director of the IISc, said, “There is an acute need for India to have a world-class centre for clinical and academic research in public health to be able to make quicker and more impactful strides in realising the goal of quality healthcare for all. The proposed centre will interface between all the departments of the IISc Medical School, and also other science and engineering departments of the IISc in the context of public health research. In particular, the centre will create a niche for health data science and analytics through close collaboration with the existing world-class computer science and data science departments at the IISc, putting it on par with international counterparts like the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We are grateful for such contributions from philanthropic leaders like Mr and Mrs Isaac who make it possible for us to move from aspirations to actually realising our goals.”
The funding also supports international fellowships for students, scholarships, visiting chair professorships and endowed chair professorships. The centre will also provide funding for research projects such as in bio-surveillance, digital health and mobile-based diagnostics.