The Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) is an autonomous research centre to promote and establish scientific and technological research and development studies in the earth sciences. CESS pursues multidisciplinary approach in problems related to land, sea and atmosphere. It was instituted by the government of Kerala, in 1978, in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. CESS was the earliest institute in the country to embrace the concept of Earth System Science (ESS) and carry out extensive R & D work in major components of ESS namely geosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. CESS contributions over the years has helped a great deal in addressing and enhancing our knowledge on the geological evolution of south India, complexities of the coastal processes and natural hazards as well as in proposing mitigatory measures to deal with natural hazards. Recognizing the growth potential of CESS, resource constraints of the State Government and the important role CESS can play in national development with enhanced support, the Government of Kerala proposed for taking over of the Institute by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India.The Ministry constituted an Expert Committee with Dr. P. S. Goel, Prof. M.G.K. Menon DRDO Chair and Former Secretary in the Ministry as its chairman, to examine the request of Govt. of Kerala in all its aspects. The Expert Committee made a comprehensive assessment of the key scientific programs pursued by the institute and deliberated on a long term vision for the institute as a national centre. The committee recommended the taking over of CESS by the MoES and according it the status of an autonomous institute under the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) of MoES. The taking over of CESS will considerably enhance the research programmes currently being pursued in the field of earth system science with additional manpower and augmented state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities. This takeover will significantly strengthen CESS capability to undertake research in frontier areas of earth sciences, and provide a solid basis for future investment in its research programmes and infrastructure. Further, this will help for more collaborative research programmes with national and international institutes. The proposed thrust areas of research will be crustal evolution and geodynamics, sedimentology and depositional processes, coastal dynamics and cloud microphysics. Multidisciplinary research programmes envisaged for CESS in frontier areas of solid earth science will provide nationwide services and promote for sustainable development of natural resources and management of natural hazards. The taking over of CESS will further help in better utilisation and sharing of resources and tools available within the various R & D centres of the MoES and other Ministries. The research and development activities of CESS covering the whole country will benefit millions of people across the country and provide access to increased knowledge of earths processes, better predictive systems for natural hazards, development of natural resources management plans, increased access to thematic maps, etc. The total estimated budget requirements of CESS will be Rs.128.67 crore for the balance period of the 12th FYP.
The Centre for Earth Science Studies is housed in a spacious 50,000 sq. ft building constructed in a campus of 18.6 acres. Development of CESS campus in 1986 was an unparalleled landmark achievement as it was a transformation of an abandoned clay mining site to a beautiful green campus within a short span of one year. This sprawling campus with all amenities, free from the noise and hustle of the city, in a nature friendly surroundings, was a vision of our founder Director Prof. C. Karunakaran, realised through the leadership of Dr. H. K. Gupta, the then director and Sri M. Sethumadhavan, the then registrar. The present beautiful green campus owes much to them and equally to the imagination and hard work of Dr S. Satheeschandran Nair in revitalising the land to a green campus and home for over 200 rare species of flora. CESS building is constructed on natural gradients, slopes and excavated mining areas in a nature friendly architectural design. Buildings are spread as different blocks. Main building houses Administration, Library, Conference Hall and an auditorium. Four interconnected blocks provide seating spaces for scientists. Laboratory block houses main laboratories of all divisions with a centralised access to scientists of all disciplines. A separate building for canteen and guest house is built away from the main buzz of activity. Canteen functions from 9 am to 4:30 pm providing Kerala style breakfast and lunch with various types of snacks with tea and coffee. In 2004 a laboratory block was added over the existing block to house new sophisticated facilities and provide two smaller meeting and discussion halls. CESS is expanding in tune with needs and necessities, without affecting greenery and serenity of the campus.
CESS carries out studies in river basin evaluation, ground water management, coastal erosion, and other special problems. CESS does research in earth system, micro-level watershed planning, natural hazards management, chemical analysis, CRZ mapping, and studies of air, water, land, noise pollution, etc. CESS also does environmental impact assessment, coastal and estuarine management, terrain analysis, natural resources management, laser applications, river sand mining, and microlevel planning. CESS organise and conduct research courses leading to doctoral degree.