The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was established in 1954 and its mandate includes
i. Research, including fundamental research in matters connected with atomic energy and the development of its uses in agriculture, biology, industry and medicine; and
ii. Advancement of higher mathematics. In pursuit of its mandate, the DAE has established research and development centres as well as grant-in-aid institutions, and has taken in its fold several existing institutions as its grant-in-aid institutions. Together all institutions under the umbrella of the DAE present a formidable group in terms of expertise in science and engineering and research infrastructure.
For developing a well trained manpower to fulfill its mandate, DAE has been running a “Training School” since1957. The Training School meets the requirement both for broad-based training in the field of nuclear science and engineering, required for the employees, as well as the coursework required for M.Tech/Ph.D programs.Given the depth and range of its operation of its programmes, the Training School in fact, functions as a Graduate School.
Considering continued expansion of the atomic energy programme and considering the fact that the DAE institutions are engaged in human resource development, the DAE decided to establish the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) having the status of a deemed university after accreditation from appropriate authorities. A Steering Committee with Prof. Rama Rao, former VC, Hyderabad as the Chairman, was set up by DAE, which drafted a proposal for submission to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) in consultation with all possible constituent institutions. At this point of time, TIFR had already become a deemed university. An Expert Committee chaired by Prof. S.K. Joshi, appointed by the UGC visited Trombayin March 2005 and based on the report of the Expert Committee and its acceptance by the MHRD, the HBNI was notified as a deemed to be university on June 3, 2005 and started its academic programmes in 2006.
Setting up of the HBNI has ensured that the DAE scientists and scientific establishments remain at the forefront of the pursuit of excellence in research in science and engineering, comparable with the best global standards. The HBNI brings together the following eleven premier institutions of the DAE, under the single research-driven framework of HBNI.
1. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai
2. Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam
3. Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore
4. Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Kolkata.
5. Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), Kolkata
6. Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar
7. Institute of Physics (IoP), Bhubaneswar
8. Harish-Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad set up in 1966;
9. Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai set up in 1941;
10. Institute of Mathematical Science (IMSc.), Chennai set up in 1962 and
11. National Institute for Science Education and Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, set up in 2007.
While the first ten institutions are Constituent Institutions (CI) of HBNI, NISER is an Off-campus Centre (OCC) of HBNI. The Institute has a distributed structure and is a unitary deemed to be university. Its CIshave already been carrying out advanced research and development for several decades. These have made India self-reliant in this sensitive and advanced field of national importance.