National Institute of Advanced Studies
|Established||20 June 1988|
|Director||V. S. Ramamurthy|
|Location||Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) is a centre of higher learning engaged in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in natural sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. It was founded by J. R. D. Tata for providing an avenue for administrators, managers and social leaders for interaction and exchange of information with notable academics in the areas of science, arts and humanities. The institution, based in Bengaluru, in the south Indian state of Karnataka, started functioning on 20 June 1988 with Raja Ramanna as its founder director.
The National Institute of Advanced Sciences was conceived by Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata, a businessman and a pioneer of Indian aviation, who envisaged the institute to act as a meeting ground for the intellectuals of India for exchange views and ideas. The institute came into being on 20 June 1988, registered as a society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Regulation Act with Raja Ramanna, the Indian physicist, as the founder director. During a short period when he joined the central government as a Minister of State, C. N. R. Rao held the responsibilities of the director as the honourary director (pro tempore). Ramanna returned to NIAS and stayed with the institute till his superannuation in July 1997 to hand over the directorship to Roddam Narasimha who headed NIAS till March 2004. The next director, K. Kasturirangan, was with NIAS from April 2004 till August 2009 and the leadership changed hands to V. S. Ramamurthy, in September 2009. The incumbent director of the institute is Baldev Raj.
National Institute of Advanced Studies is involved in four areas of activities such as research, analysis, publications and education. It acts as a platform for advanced research in the disciplines of sciences, arts, and humanities. The research findings are compiled and disseminated through printed literature, personal interactions, lectures and conferences. The centre works as a forum for the social and political leaders and academics to interact with each other for interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and information. Besides regular courses, it also started PhD programmes in 2004.
NIAS is located within the campus of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, with an extent of five acres earmarked for the institute's activities. The campus houses lecture halls, conference facilities, theatre and an auditorium, J. R. D. Tata Auditorium, named after its founder. The institute maintains a well stocked library and has accommodation facilities for guests and visitors.
The institute is mandated with a mission to:
- Organize interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in natural sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities and technology.
- Integrate the research findings and dissemination of information for the benefit of Indian and global society.
- Create a new leadership in all sectors of the society by education and interaction.
The academic activities of the institute is segmented to fall under four schools. Each school functions as a separate division and has a host of permanent teaching faculty and a set of visiting professors.
School of Humanities is a centre for advanced research in the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, literature, fins=e arts and culture. The school offers research facilities in:
- Philosophical foundations of sciences
- Cognitive sciences
- Scientific and philosophical studies of consciousness
- Indian psychology and philosophy
- History and philosophy of biology
- Archaeometalurgy and analysis of ancient metals
It also works on translating Kannada classics into English.
School of Social Sciences is a research platform but is also engaged in teaching, outreach, advocacy and consultancy. It undertakes research cum outreach projects in the areas of education, gender, governance and development. It has interests in the topics of globalization, economic sociology and organizations and works on interdisciplinary programmes on water, energy and education.
School of Natural Sciences and Engineering is the division which focuses on engineering, mathematics, agriculture, ecology and conservation biology. Studies are conducted on agro-ecology, soil and water conservation, pesticide management, wildlife conservation and cognitive studies of primates. Researches are carried out also on signal processing, number theory, artificial intelligence, soft computing, language engineering and mathematical modelling of complex chaotic systems.
International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, started in 1996, works under the School of Natural Sciences and Engineering and is headed by Rajaram Nagappa, a rocket scientist specialized in solid propulsion. The main focus of the division is academic and policy research on national and international security issues. The school has collaborations with the King's College, London and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and organizes conferences and workshops for dissemination of knowledge. It is also associated with the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) of the US National Academy of Sciences.
The institute offers several courses through three of its schools other than the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, which is primarily an outreach programme centre.
- School of Humanities
- Course title: Relevance of Psychology
- Behavior, Cognition and Consciousness: An Introduction
- Core course in Humanities
- Effective Communication and Interpersonal Intelligence
- School of Natural and Engineering Sciences
- Energy Systems: Technology and Policy
- Introduction to Dynamical Systems Theory
- School of Social Sciences
- Anthropology of circulation and value
- Gifted Education
- Perspectives in Education Research
- Core course in Social Sciences
Several notable personalities have served as the members of faculty at NIAS, some of whom have been awarded the highest civilian awards in the country. The institute hosts four chairs of excellence namely JRD Tata Chair, Raja Ramanna Chair, Homi Bhabha Chair and T. V. Raman Pai chair.
- Raja Ramanna, Physicist and Padma Vibhushan winner
- C. N. R. Rao, Chemist and Bharat Ratna winner
- Roddam Narasimha, Aerospace scientist and Padma Vibhushan winner
- K. Kasturirangan, Space scientist and Padma Vibhushan winner
- V. S. Ramamurthy, Nuclear physicist and Padma Bhushan winner
- B. V. Sreekantan, Physicist and Padma Bhushan winner
- M. N. Srinivas, Sociologist and Padma Bhushan winner
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