The Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) is an advisory body of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to recommend financial assistance to universities, academic institutions and national laboratories. The key objective is to encourage and promote scientific research in areas of relevance to the mandate of DAE in research groups outside DAE to derive benefits from their expertise.
Primary mandate of DAE is the production of safe and economical nuclear power, using indigenous uranium and thorium resources. Towards this end, it is involved in developing, in stages, pressurized heavy water reactors, fast breeder reactors, and reactors using thorium with associated fuel cycle facilities. It builds research reactors for production of radioisotopes and carries out programmes on isotope and radiation technology applications in medicine, agriculture and industry. It develops advanced technology in areas such as accelerators, lasers, control and instrumentation, computers, biotechnology, information technology and materials technology and also encourages technology transfers to other users and industry. It supports basic research in nuclear energy and related frontier areas of science. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), was formed in August 1954.
BRNS supports high quality R & D projects in the areas of relevance to its programme as broadly mentioned above. BRNS lays emphasis on collaborative programmes between the DAE scientists and the scientific community outside the DAE family. Such a collaborative approach is expected to create and strengthen academic bond and promote closer interaction between the DAE and Universities/Research Institutions.
Besides funding research projects, BRNS provides financial assistance to organize symposia/conferences/workshops on topics of relevance to the DAE programmes. It also awards projects to young scientists to initiate them in a career of research. Dr. K.S. Krishnan Research Associateship for attracting highly talented young scientist and technologists are being awarded regularly under the aegis of BRNS. DAE-BRNS Senior Scientist Scheme (now named as Raja Ramanna Fellowship Scheme) aims to utilize the expertise of active and energetic retired scientists / engineers who were involved in high quality research in the units of DAE or any National Laboratory or Universities / Institutes and who after retirement are keen to carry out R&D in the field of their choice and of interest to the DAE. It also offers prestigious Homi Bhabha Chair to honour distinguished scientists.
1.Identify and fund R & D Projects.
2.Financial support to conduct Symposia / Conferences.
3.Recruitment under Krishnan Research Associateship (KSKRA) scheme.
4.Award research projects under DAE-OIA scheme, through DAE-SRC council.
5.Award fellowships under DGFS M.Tech scheme.
7.Award Fellowships to retired Scientists under RRF & HBC schemes, through AEC.
BRNS - Committees on DAE Programmes (CDPs)
The Board is chaired by an eminent scientist/engineer and has members who are also senior scientists/engineers from DAE and outside DAE. The Board has a fixed term and it is re-constituted every three years. Presently Board is assisted by NINE Committees on DAE Programmes (CDPs) for discharge of responsibilities as per the term of reference. The Board members meet as often as needed to frame policy guidelines for the functioning of these nine advisory committees and to finalize its recommendation to the Department on the financial support to be extended to the various R&D projects, symposia and other matters under its purview.
STANDING COMMITTEE (STC)
The mandates of STC are (a) to identify thrust areas of interest to DAE which can be promoted through collaborative research (b) to consider suggestions made by nine BRNS committees on DAE Programmes (CDPs) for facilitating implementation of BRNS projects (c) to make suggestions on the existing and any other new schemes under BRNS.
NINE COMMITTEES ON DAE PROGRAMMES (CDPs)
The function of nine advisory committees (CDPs) will be to assist the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) in the discharge of its duties. Each advisory committee is chaired by a member of the Board and is composed of very senior scientists from various DAE units and with an experienced scientist as its Member Secretary. Depending upon the nature of the project, the project proposal application (PPA) submitted by Project Investigator (PI), is forwarded to one of the nine Advisory Committees for scientific and technical review and recommendation.
Nine Committees on DAE Programmes (CDPs) with ear marked key words (priority theme areas) are as given below:
1.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 1: First Stage of Indian Nuclear Power Programme (NPP)
Mechanical and thermal engineering of present and evolving nuclear reactors, Probabilistic & Deterministic Safety Analyses, Health Physics, Development and Validation of Computer Codes, Reactor Physics & Nuclear Data, Seismic Design, Construction Technologies, Equipment Design and Prototyping, Heavy water-related technologies.
2.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 2: Uranium, Rare metals & Nuclear Structural Materials (URM)
Mineral Exploration and Processing, Mining Technologies, Beach sand minerals, Separation Science, Chemical & mechanical processing of nuclear materials, Nuclear fuel & structural materials, Radiation damage, Non-destructive testing.
3.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 3: 2nd stage of Indian Nuclear Power Programme Fast Reactor & Back End Fuel cycle (FRR)
Mechanism and equipment for FBR, FBR safety, Development of materials and associated technologies for future FBRs, Material Irradiation and In-service inspection for FBRs, Sodium Experiments, Sensors & instrumentation development, Reprocessing and Waste management technologies for thermal and fast reactor fuel cycle.
4.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 4: Health Care (HLC)
Cancer Research, Radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostics & therapy, Development of Cancer Drugs, Research on Tuberculosis, Drug-resistant tuberculosis, Drug discovery and drug delivery, Genetics, Medical Cyclotron, Radiotherapy units.
5.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 5: Food Security (FOS)
Nuclear Agriculture, Mutation breeding for seed development, Bio-pesticide, Preservation of agriculture products, seafood, meat & ready to eat/cooked food, Management of agriculture waste, Bio-composting.
6.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 6: Water and Waste Management (WWM)
Water Purification and Desalination, Membrane-based and nano-composite filters. Environmental Studies, Effluent Treatment, Isotope Hydrology, Management of municipal dry & wet waste, Integrated water & waste management.
7.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 7: Mega Science Schemes (MSS)
Nuclear Fusion, High Energy and Particle Physics, Cryogenics, Charged particle accelerators, Gravitational wave, Astronomy including gamma ray astronomy, Neutrino physics & Observatory.
8.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 8: Basic Research and Science Education (BRE)
High Energy and Nuclear Physics, Condensed Matter, Crystal Growth and Nano Materials, Characterization of Materials by Neutron and Synchrotron Radiation, Interface between Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Engineering, Radiochemistry, Radiation and Photochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Radiation Biology, Science Education.
9.BRNS Committee on DAE Programme 9: Directed Research (DIR)
Accelerators, Lasers, Electronics, Nano and microelectronic devices, VLSI, Detectors & Sensors, Scientific Instruments, Computer Science, Cyber Security, Robotics, Process and Medical Instrumentation, Energy Conversion and Storage, Cyber-physical system, Internet of Things (IOT).
To execute the overall functioning of BRNS Secretariat, well-qualified senior scientific officers from various scientific disciplines work as Scientific Programme Officers (PO) under the guidance of Scientific Secretary. They co-ordinate with Advisory Committees (CDPs) on regular basis for smooth and efficient implementation of BRNS programmes. BRNS Secretariat is located on the 3rd floor, 316, CFB, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai-400 085. The programme Officers are assisted by the administrative staff who are from BARC / DAE administrative offices. The finance and accounts related matter of the Board are handled by the Accounts Division of DAE located at Anushakti Bhavan, C.S.M.Marg, Mumbai 400001.
Scientific Secretary is responsible for overall functioning of BRNS and shall act on the advice of Chairman, BRNS and with the concurrence from the BRNS Board.
Programme Officer (PO), is the nodal person for communicating matters pertaining to all the schemes, on behalf of the Scientific Secretary.
BRNS, born in the pre-independence era as Atomic Energy Committee, was the first extra-mural funding agency of Government of India for sponsored R&D activities in the country. This Committee, was formed in the year 1945 under the aegis of Council of Scientific Research (CSIR). It was renamed as Atomic Research Committee in (ARC) in 1947, which subsequently became Board of Research in Atomic Energy (BRAE) under the Atomic Energy Commission formed during 1947-48. Following this, the BRAE was again renamed as Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS) in the year 1955. In its role of an advisory body to the DAE, one of the prime mandate of BRNS has been to build strong linkages with the national R&D labs and universities for their active participation in the departmental R&D activities in the collaborative mode and thereby generate a large pool of qualified and skilled human resources to cater to the needs of the department in the time to come.
BRNS in its earliest form i.e. Atomic Research Committee (ARC), between its formation year (1945) and the year of formation of Atomic Energy Commission (1947), had the following terms of reference:
i) To explore the availability of raw materials required for generating atomic energy,
ii) To suggest ways and means of harnessing the materials for production of atomic energy, and
iii) To keep in touch with similar organizations functioning in other countries and to make suggestions for coordinating the work of this committee on an international basis.
During this period this institution was almost playing the role of Atomic Energy Commission. It started functioning as Board of Research in Atomic Energy (BRAE) under AEC since 1947. During the period 1947 to 1954, the well-conceived three phase nuclear power programme for the country was being put on the firm footing by none other than Dr. Bhabha himself, by way of institution building and starting several core activities with the help of carefully chosen teams of experts within the department. During this period, BRAE was being looked upon as an advisory body with the responsibility to advice about the distribution of research grants to the universities and research institutions. BRAE was renamed as BRNS in the year 1955 and it continued functioning, with the help of only three advisory committees, towards the two main mandates, viz. a) enhance collaborative activities between the R&D units of DAE and the national universities, R&D institutions and national research labs and b) contribute to human resource development activities. The initially set up three committees were later increased to eight to encompass many facets of DAE’s R&D programmes in science and technology, under the purview of BRNS. Accordingly, the two major activities pursued by BRNS during this period were; a) to sponsor and provide financial grant for the R&D projects to universities and R&D labs and b) to provide support for organizing national /international conferences and seminars. The R&D projects supported by BRNS, during this phase, were generally of “coordinated”, rather than “collaborated” type of projects. The method followed those days was to send a circular from BRNS to a large number of universities, R&D institutes and research labs in the country inviting R&D proposals in the specified frontier areas of interest of DAE. In response to this, R&D projects were conceived and formulated by the prospective project investigators (PI) themselves and submitted to BRNS. Based on the peer review, the projects used to get selected for BRNS sponsorship. The progress of these projects was coordinated by the respective appointed project coordinators (PC) from within DAE.
BRNS was restructured in the year 1998, with an independent BRNS secretariat headed by Scientific Secretary, who is assisted by the Programme Officers (chosen among scientists and engineers from within BARC) and the requisite administrative staff. The large number of advisory committees were reduced to first four advisory committees initially, based on the broader aspects of DAE’s programme and appended subsequently by two more committees.