For the first time, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) will have a caretaker director next month. Sources at the scientific research institute said Professor Sandip Trivedi, 52, has communicated to the TIFR council of management his decision to step down as the director this month end.
Trivedi’s decision comes after the Prime Minister’s Office’s rejection of his appointment as the new director, after professor Mustansir Barma completed his tenure in December. On Thursday, HT reported the PMO had rejected the appointment of the new director at TIFR on technical grounds – a first in the history of the 70-year-old institute that was founded by Homi Bhabha.
The council of management, chaired by industrialist Ratan Tata, is likely to meet early next week to decide on the caretaker director. “He will continue as the director till March 31. From April 1, we will have an interim director; something that has never happened in the history of the institute,” said a senior scientist. “Sandip was a good choice for a director and is known to have been chosen for his outlook, academics and vision for the institute.”
HT sent an email, text message, and calls to his Trivedi’s office, but he could not be reached. “The council is likely to appoint an interim director on the basis of seniority,” said another scientist. “What could change now in the appointment of a new director is the council may recommend three or four shortlisted names to the PMO, from which one will be approved.”
Scientist CNR Rao, chairman of the search committee and Bharat Ratna confirmed to HT the PMO’s disapproval of professor Trivedi as TIFR’s new head, while there was no reaction despite repeated messages sent to the PMO.