The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, India’s premier institute for advanced research and education, today entered into a MoU with Mr Ajit Isaac, Founder and Chairman of Quess Corp, and Mrs Sarah Isaac, for establishing a Centre for Public Health at the IISc campus.
Mr and Mrs Isaac have committed a sum of INR 105 crore towards setting up this Centre, which will be called the Isaac Centre for Public Health (ICPH), and will be a part of the postgraduate Medical School, soon to be established on campus. The Centre will be operational by 2024 and is expected to encourage aspirants to pursue careers in clinical research to develop new treatments and healthcare solutions driven by a bench-to-bedside philosophy.
The Centre is poised to create world-class post-graduate education and research programmes in public health to redefine healthcare models for India and for the rest of the world. It will offer dual degree programmes such as Master of Public Health (MPH)-PhD (5-6 years) and Master of Public Health (MPH)-MTech Research (3 years). The total annual student intake will be about 10 per year with a steady-state student population of about 40 over time. The Centre will also host state-of-the-art biomedical research computing infrastructure to host the data, develop and test big data analysis methods tailored for public health.
Commenting on the occasion, Prof Govindan Rangarajan, Director, Indian Institute of Science, 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 IISc in the context of public health research. In particular, the Center 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 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.”
Speaking on the collaboration, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Mr Ajit Isaac said, “The humanitarian crises created by the pandemic will take several years for nations to recover. At the same time, it has also exposed the lacuna in the public health systems, which need to be addressed systematically and consistently to be prepared for the future. A strong nation is not only built on education and employment but good, sound public health. And the onus of building a healthier future cannot lie on the Government alone, and I am glad to have the opportunity to work alongside an internationally-acclaimed institution like IISc, which provides the right ecosystem for creating word class physician-scientists, the medical talent of future.”
The proposed Isaac Centre for Public Health will be located in the IISc Medical School’s Academic and Research block and span one floor spread over 27,000 sq ft. The Centre will be equipped with research labs and computational facilities to cater to the academic and research programmes. In addition to providing courses in statistics, epidemiology, and data science, the students will also get exposed to impactful research leading to a PhD degree or MTech (Research) degree. In particular, the MTech (Research) programme will be tailored towards deep domain expertise in data science, public health data analytics, and AI/ML techniques.
The funding also supports international fellowships for students, scholarships, Visiting Chair Professorships and endowed Chair Professorships. In addition, the Centre will provide funding for carrying out impactful research projects in public health, including bio-surveillance, digital health, as well as mobile-based diagnostics.
Earlier this year, IISc announced the establishment of a post-graduate Medical School and Bagchi-Parthasarathy hospital in its Bengaluru campus in line with global examples of integrating science, engineering, and medicine under a single institution. The Centre for Public Health is an extension of this commitment towards collaborating with like-minded institutions and visionaries who seek to shape the future of healthcare in the country.