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  • 9:42 AM, Friday, 03 Dec 2021



Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), situated at Thiruvananthapuram is a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956. IIST functions as an autonomous body under the Department of Space, Government of India. The idea of such an institute was mooted keeping in mind the need for high quality manpower for the Indian Space Research Organization, one of world’s leading scientific organizations engaged in space research and space applications. The institute is the first of its kind in the country, to offer high quality education at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral levels on areas with special focus to space sciences, space technology and space applications. IIST was formally inaugurated on 14 September 2007 by Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, the then Chairman, ISRO and was temporarily housed in the premises of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, very close from where ISRO built and launched its first rocket. Both the founding fathers of the institute, Dr G Madhavan Nair and Dr B.N. Suresh, the latter being the first Director of IIST, played a very important role in the formation of the institute, facilitating its establishment and contributing to its vision. Dr B.N. Suresh piloted the institute from the conception of the idea to its realization in a permanent campus near Thiruvananthapuram in 2010.


The institute had the enviable reputation among all educational institutions since it had Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the renowned technocrat and former President of India as its very first Chancellor. Prof U.R.Rao, the eminent space scientist and one of the former Chairman, ISRO guided the institute as its second Chancellor with distinction for two years from 2015 to 2017. Dr B.N. Suresh, the founder Director of IIST has assumed charge as the institute’s third Chancellor since November 2017. 


Under the guidance of Dr. K Radhakrishnan and Shri A. S. Kiran Kumar (former Secretaries DoS / Chairman ISRO) as Chairman, Board of Management, IIST and Chairman, Governing Council, IIST, respectively, the previous Director, Dr. K. S. Dasgupta led the institute to achieve its mission of creating a unique learning environment enriched by the challenges of the Space exploration, by nurturing the spirit of innovation and creativity. IIST was judged as the eighth ranked University among all Deemed Universities in 2016 in the first National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) by MHRD. Dr K Sivan has assumed charge as Secretary, DoS in January 2018 and IIST is looking forward to Dr Sivan and the present Director Dr V.K. Dadhwal to take the institute to the next higher level of excellence. In the year 2017, IIST was ranked 28th among all engineering institutes, 35th among all universities and 56th overall among all institutions by MHRD in its second NIRF ranking.




IIST offers various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in areas that are relevant to space studies. The institute currently offers two B.Tech courses in Aerospace Engineering and Avionics and a Dual Degree (B. Tech + Master of Science/ M. Tech) programme with B.Tech in Engineering Physics and any of the following Postgraduate specializations - (i) Master of Science (Astronomy & Astrophysics) (ii) M.Tech (Earth System Science) (iii) Master of Science (Solid State Physics) and (iv) M.Tech (Optical Engineering).  Admissions to these branches are merit based and intake is based on the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) conducted by IITs, as per the guidelines set by IIST. The major feature of the undergraduate program is the liberal offer of assistanceship to meritorious students, rendering the education “completely free”, subject to the students securing a stipulated minimum academic requirement. As performance based financial assistance is provided by DOS to the B.Tech students of IIST, ISRO/DOS will have the first right to absorb them, subject to the vacancies notified by ISRO in that particular discipline and year for IIST graduates.


Apart from this, IIST offers postgraduate programmes in fifteen areas of space science, space engineering and related areas. These M.Tech and Master of Science programmes are open to students with requisite degrees as well as small earmarked seats for scientists / engineers of DOS / ISRO.  The academic programmes have been formulated to strengthen the fundamentals, experience the realities through practical work, and enhance the knowledge and understanding in the areas relevant and related to space. Also, the programmes so envisaged ensure adequate exposure in the emerging fields which will lead to experience knowledge synthesis.


The institute recognizes the importance of research in developing future technologies and applications of space research. IIST encourages all its faculty members to guide and supervise young scholars for the PhD programme as well as for Post-Doctoral programmes. It also supports the research needs of faculty members by funding research projects directly. The institute provides for the publication charges of peer reviewed journal papers that are published by faculty, research scholars and students of the institute. IIST also encourages its faculty to closely collaborate with scientists/engineers from ISRO/DoS through joint research projects funded by the institute. IIST also encourages its faculty to write research proposals for funding from external sources. IIST also has a number of international collaborations, both as MOU at the level of institute and faculty-to-faculty collaboration.


Currently the institute has 98 faculty members from 11 different states of the country, ably supported by a large number of non-teaching staff. Lady faculty members account for about 23 % of the total faculty strength of the institute while 22 % of the total student community in the campus are girl students. There are around 560 UG students, 160 M.Tech/Master of Science students, and over one hundred PhD scholars in the campus. The campus is fully residential for students. It has an area of about 100 acres, and is located in one of the most scenic places in Kerala, very near the majestic mountain range of Western Ghats.