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Indian Institute of Science (IISc) or ‘Tata Institute’, as Bangaloreans lovingly call it, has done it again. The institute won the top spot in the Research Universities category in the recently released NIRF Rankings 2022. In the Universities category too, it bagged the 1st position for the 7th year in a row.
In the overall category, it stands at the 2nd position, next only to IIT Madras. The NIRF ranking framework evaluates institutions on five broad parameters – Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR), Research and Professional Practice (RP), Graduation Outcome (GO), Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) and Perception (PR).
IISc was selected as the world’s top research university in the QS World University Rankings 2022, leaving behind some of the top Ivy League colleges. With two Bharat Ratnas (Nobel Laureate C V Raman and celebrated Professor C.N.R Rao), 36 Padma Awards, 7 Infosys Prizes, 97 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prizes and unaccountable accolades, IISc is indeed the pride of the nation.
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Image: NIRF rankings 2022 (University Rank 1)
Image: NIRF Rankings 2022-Overall Rank 2
Image: NIRF Rankings 2022-Research Rank 1
Jamshedji Tata set up IISc in 1909 with the vision to improve the scientific capabilities of the country. Starting with just two departments – General and Applied Chemistry, and Electrical Technology – the institute has grown manifolds to 537 faculty members. Its popularity has grown by leaps and bounds globally.
Tenure system for faculty
The faculty in IISc is top-notch. Just like most universities in the US, IISc has a ‘tenure’ system. The faculty-selection process is a rigorous one. A faculty search committee deeply scrutinizes each application based on the academic credentials of the person. If the response is positive, the applicant gets invited for an interactive session with the faculty members. They are then required to deliver a ‘test’ lecture. After this, the department shortlists candidates. The director appoints a selection committee with both internal and external experts. Based on recommendations of the selection committee and approval of the council, the candidate is appointed as an assistant professor at IISc.
They are hired on an initial contract period of 5 years. A one-year probation period runs concurrently, IISc informs. If an assistant professor does not get tenure by the end of the 5-year contract period, the institute can extend the contract by another five years, during which the faculty member must secure tenure. If not, they have to leave.
Such rigour ensures great results.
In the QS University Rankings 2022, one of the parameters for ranking universities was citations per faculty (CPF) – an indicator when universities are adjusted for faculty size. IISc achieved a perfect score of 100/100.
Stringent admission procedure
As one of the country’s most-coveted institutes, the entry barrier for IISc is very high. To maintain the reputation it has built over the years, it becomes imperative for IISc to only accept students who are deeply passionate and dedicated to their field of research and want to make an impact on the world through science.
Most of the bachelor’s courses at IISc need the aspirants to appear for the JEE examination. However, bachelor’s courses, which can lead to an integrated PhD, can be pursued after clearing the JAM examination. For the highly sought-after master’s courses, students must qualify the GATE examination. For some courses, interviews are a part of the selection process. Needless to say, one has to excel in GATE to enter the holy grail of IISc.
At the forefront of cutting-edge research
As highlighted by the institute’s mission statement, IISc’s main area of focus is research – be it in any department. Its goal has been to “conduct high-impact research, generate new knowledge, and disseminate this knowledge through publications in top journals and conferences”.
Over the years, researchers from various departments of the institute have conducted cutting-edge research that has massively accelerated the pace of innovation in those domains. When the world was battling the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, IISc was at the forefront leading innovations to tackle the severe impact of the pandemic through projects on diagnostics and surveillance, modelling and simulation, hospital assistance devices and vaccine development.
The government too depends on leading faculty from IISc in its scientific decision-making. Recently, it appointed eminent physicist Dr Ajay Kumar Sood as the principal scientific advisor (PSA) to the Indian government.