Kolkata: The IIT-Kharagpur and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) will jointly offer an integrated MSc-PhD programme in chemical and molecular biology, officials said on Monday. The course will bring together the two premier institutes on a common academic platform. The Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-Kharagpur) and Kolkata-based IACS recently signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop and offer the integrated course. The degree will be awarded by IIT-Kharagpur. The two institutes have jointly done a detailed exercise to identify the course outlines and associated credits. The course is new and unique in the sense that it will open direct academic exchange between the country's two leading institutions, said Director of IIT-Kharagpur Partha Pratim Chakrabarti. The primary focus of IIT-Kharagpur is molecular and cell biology and that of IACS chemical biology. One faculty member from the IIT and one from IACS, based on their common research interest, will jointly supervise a student who will decide after two years as to whether they would like to continue their studies for earning a PhD. All students will be registered in the School of Biosciences of the IIT. The examination pattern, schedule and grading shall be governed by the rules and regulations of the institute. IACS has successfully been running for more than a decade an Integrated MSc-PhD program in chemical sciences, said Director Santanu Bhattacharya. He said IACS is poised to expand the programme to all areas including biological sciences in view of the recent policy of the central government that faculty members of scientific research institutes must compulsorily participate in teaching at various levels.