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.
Carrying the mantle forward, the next Chairman, ISRO and Chairman, Board of Management, IIST, Dr. K Radhakrishnan and the second Director of IIST, Dr. K.S Dasgupta have been guiding 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. Shri A.S. Kiran Kumar who assumed charge as Secretary, DoS in January 2015 and the present Director Dr. V.K. Dadhwal who assumed charge in June 2016 have through their joint efforts taken the institute to the next higher level of excellence
IIST offers various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in areas that are relevant to space studies. The institute currently offers B.Tech in three branches – Aerospace Engineering, Avionics and Engineering Physics, the last leading to a dual degree programme in any one of the following four postgraduate streams: Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Master of Science in Solid State Physics, Master of Technology in Optical Engineering and Master of Technology in Earth System Sciences. 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 complete absence of any form of fees payable to the institute, 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 human resource requirements of ISRO/DOS.
Apart from this, IIST offers stand-alone postgraduate programmes in fifteen areas of space science and engineering and other relevant areas. These Master of Technology and Master of Science programmes are open to scientists/engineers of DOS / ISRO as well as public. 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 of interest. Also, the programmes so envisaged ensures adequate exposure in the emerging fields which will lead to experience knowledge synthesis.
The institute recognizes the relevance of research. IIST encourages all its faculty members to guide and supervise young scholars for the Ph.D. programme as well as for Post-Doctoral programmes. The Ph.D. programme is offered in all seven departments of the institute to scientists/engineers from ISRO/DoS as well as for the public. The institute 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.The institute also encourages its faculty members to closely collaborate with scientists/engineers from ISRO/DoS on any research area that is of importance to ISRO/DoS through joint ISRO-IIST research projects.
Currently, the institute has 99 faculty members from 11 different states of the country, ably aided by a large number of non-teaching staff. Lady faculty members account for about 20 % of the total faculty strength of the institute while 22 % of the total student community in the campus are girl students. There are around 570 BTech students, 170 Postgraduate students, and 140 Ph.D. scholars. 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
The Placement Cell of IIST continually liaisons with industry, R&D organizations, and management organizations, with the foresight of Training, Career-Guidance, Internship/Project, and Campus Placements. The Placement Cell works closely in line with the policies of the Institute and tries to coherently match the interests of students with an appropriate job profile.
The Placement Cell channelizes feedback from Industry, R&D Organizations and Management Organizations regarding academic programmes, to the Institute. The Placement Cell continually functions to safeguard the interest of the students and also endeavors to be a part of their safe and secure future.
At IIST, the internship period for both B.Tech. and M.Tech. programmes usually last for two months, tentatively from May to July, every year. However, internships which require more than two months, for select M.Tech Programmes, can be worked out in line with the Institute policies and guidelines.
Companies, R & D Organizations have to register with the Placement Cell for the purpose of placement and internships. The Placement Cell will appropriately co-ordinate to take the process further.