To the best information available, most of the firms working on civil engineering projects in Nepal are either consulting firms or contractors wherein the client can be an individual person, private organization, ministerial departments or the like. Their work is more based on either nonstandard thumb rules or the existing general text books and guidelines available in the market. There is as such no active research wing into them. Universities should have led the situation; however, they are generally involved in teaching with limited research activities, basically at Masters and PhD levels. As per the specific and very crucial and versatile areas of geotechnical and structural engineering, only Tribhuvan University, Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus carries out a few couple of researches in a year. However, they normally seem to be just for the sake of students’ academic degree, without much industrial value and hence generally do not entertain continuity, follow up or implementation. In addition to the above mentioned working institutes, another group of organizations virtually active in Nepal belongs to NGOs and INGOs. To this date, the latter’s contribution has generally been only for public awareness raising, disaster preparedness campaigns and trainings or similar soft activities. There are some organizations of this category or even in the form of private firms who claim themselves as the research institutes even covering Engineering but they have been doing no more than the very average or below average engineering works in reality. That is, their concern has been more on the social and environmental issues. It may be particularly because the job tends to be easier and the international fund seems to be generally plentiful, while the human resources working on the core engineering (say, based on the principles of mechanics) related issues are scarce in the country. The competent and brilliant research minded youths are all doing research in institutes and companies abroad such as in Japan, the USA, Europe, Australia and other developed Asian countries.
However, it appears as the universal truth that the spirit of development and sustainability in one of the very slowly developing countries in the world like Nepal is just possible only through hard core engineering studies followed by quality construction either for the transfer of state-of-the-art technology as suitable for Nepal or to develop of own kind. Once infrastructures could be developed to facilitate the basic daily needs of the citizens, at least to some minimum threshold level, the talking about minor and global environmental issues might sound justifiable. In fact, the data or knowledge base generated by the basic engineering researches by various prospective organizations in the form of the innovative private research institutes like the proposed GHEaSES International, the universities and hopefully the INGOs and the consulting and construction companies shall also support and ease the works on softer areas like environment. The softer issues have been unnecessarily highlighted in the country like Nepal which, on the contrary, is suffering to reach a minimum level of sustainable infrastructural development.
For example, Nepal has a tremendous amount of water resources. Hydropower tends to be a key to Nepal’s easy and rapid development. Especially for the summer, the current trend of the run-of-the-river type (generally “small hydropower”) projects should be continued to develop ‘effectively’ whereas in the winter, for the purposes of electricity as well as irrigation and water supply (including the purpose of flood control in the summer), the storage type multipurpose dam projects should be promoted. For this important task, the issues related to the dam structures should be reliably studied resulting into the design and construction suitable to the distinct specialties of Nepal, for instances the high seismicity and the local construction materials as well as methods. It is noted that the Kulekhani Hydroelectric high dam project is the only existing storage type project in Nepal and is highly depended on to balance the peaks in Nepalese electricity consumption scenarios both in summer and winter. Surprisingly, even limited portions of the total population who are fortunately enjoying the access of electricity have to suffer the daily load-shedding of more than two-third a day!
Similarly, as an another topical example, either from the point of view of tourism or easing access to the various invaluable heritages located in the different parts of the country, reliable road and building infrastructures are vital in Nepal.
Truth to be told, there has been no serious and systematic scientific and engineering research studies, for instance on the mentioned very vital issues of dam engineering in Nepal except for a one or two private and ministerial organization, having mainly worked in collaboration with or under supervision of some international experts. Such issues have been just out of the scope of almost all of the existing academic and professional institutes in Nepal. All such issues shall be the scope of GHEaSES-I. The institute hopes to study the overlooked, yet important, problems very systematically; co-working and collaborating sincerely as needed and as applicable with the relevant international and national experts, academic and professional institutes and importantly the funding agencies. The awarded research grants and consulting responsibility to GHEaSES International may be expected to bring some historic difference. The main implication shall be the improvement in the level of (civil) engineering research (including academic education) and consulting methods in the country of Nepal, as comparable as that practiced and well respected in a developed country. This shall have further positive effects as stipulated in the Vision and Mission of the institute. Overall, the proposed institute shall be the first of its kind in Nepal and well recognized and respected amongst the international researchers too. Last but not least, GHEaSES’s mission of launching an international journal from Nepal by the institute’s initiative (say, the “International Journal of Geotechnical, Hydraulic, Earthquake and Structural Engineering (IJGHEaS)”), shall also be a very highly scholastic contribution – first of its kind in Nepal.