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Research activities at NCAAE move at a slow pace

Image result for Alternatives to Animal ExperimentsResearch activities at the National Centre for Alternatives to Animal Experiments (NCAAE) established last year at the Bharathidasan University with a UGC grant of Rs. 5 crore under the Centre with Potential for Excellence in Particular Areas (CPEPA) scheme has understandably slowed down due to lack of direction, sources said.

The first-of-its-kind centre in the country was mandated with the task of taking forward the progress made by the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center (MGDC) for Alternatives to the Use of Animals in Life Science Education, established in 2009 as a five-year project in the university.

The MGDC also liaised with UGC, Medical Council of India, and Pharmacy Council of India for curricular development to promote the knowledge and use of alternatives. To sustain the activities, the incumbent Chair M.A. Akbarsha succeeded in securing the Rs. 5 crore financial support of UGC, for a five-year duration until 2021.

But, he was eased out of the NCAAE by the university soon after the first instalment of Rs. 2.04 crore was received from the UGC.

Senior professors in the university have reportedly brought to the attention of the State Government the attempts being made by the NCAAE to dovetail the research paraphernalia of MGDC established with the generous financial support of the Doerenkamp-Zbinden Foundation, Switzerland, into the project cost of the NCAAE.

According to university sources, resuming the research in a fast-forward' mode was of utmost importance at this critical juncture since dissection of frogs, rats or other animals in large numbers for the purpose of laboratory dissection and experimentation would cause colossal destruction to the ecological diversity and trigger epidemics such as dengue due to large-scale breeding of the disease-causative mosquitoes due to thin presence of the animals in the food chain. A member of the NCAAE project execution committee, who did not want to be identified, admitted that research activities has indeed slowed down and hoped there would be progress after a new Vice-Chancellor is appointed.


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