» General Info - About IISc

Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata (1839-1904) was one of the extraordinary men who even towards the end of the nineteenth century was convinced that the future progress of the country depended crucially on research in Science and Engineering. He envisaged this Institute as destined to promote original investigations in all branches of learning and to utilise them for the benefit of India.

After consulting several authorities in the country, he constituted a Provisional Committee to prepare the required scheme for the setting up of the Institute. On 31st December 1898, a draft prepared by the Committee was presented to Lord Curzon, the Viceroy-designate. Subsequently, upon the request of the Secretary of State for India, the Royal Society of London asked for the help of Sir William Ramsay, Nobel Laureate. Ramsay made a quick tour of the country and reported Bangalore to be the suitable place for such an Institution.

On the Initiative of the Dewan, Sir K Sheshadri Iyer, the Government of Shri Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, the Maharaja of Mysore came forward with an offer of 372 acres of land, free of cost and promised other necessary facilities. Thus the original scheme of Jamsetji Tata became a tripartite venture with the association of the Government of India and the Government of Maharaja of Mysore. (Subsequently, the Government of Karnataka had gifted lands during the Golden Jubilee and Platinum Jubilee of the Institute making the current land holding of the Institute up to 443 acres.)

The constitution of the Institute was approved by the Viceroy Lord Minto, and the necessary Vesting Order was signed on 27th May 1909. Early in 1911, the Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the Institute and on 24th July the first batch of students were admitted in the Departments of General and Applied Chemistry and Electrotechnology.

With the establishment of the University Grants Commission in 1956, the Institute came under its purview as a deemed university.

The Institute has been able to make many significant contributions primarily because of a certain uniqueness in its character. It is neither a National Laboratory which concentrates solely on research and applied work, nor a conventional University which concerns itself mainly with teaching. But the Institute is concerned with research in frontier areas and education in current technologically important areas. This is also the first Institute in the country to introduce innovative Integrated Ph D Programmes in Biological, Chemical and Physical Sciences for science graduates.

During the past eight decades many are the alumni and faculty who have gone out from this Institute to direct science and technology in the country, to create and nurture other laboratories and scientific institutions and to establish key industries. C V Raman, H J Bhabha, Vikram S Sarabhai, J C Ghosh, M S Thacker, S Bhagavantam, S Dhawan, C N R Rao and scores of others who have played a key role in the scientific and technological progress of our country have been closely associated with the Institute. The Council of the Institute confers Honorary Fellowship on eminent scholars and scientists and on those who have made noteworthy and lasting contributions to the cause of science and industry in India. Among the 24 recipients of this distinction are Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, M Vishveswaraya, C V Raman, J R D Tata, Vikram S Sarabhai and C N R Rao.

Besides formal education and research, the Institute has been playing an active part in offering short-term courses to scientists and technologists in service. The Continuing Education Programme covers a wide range of topics and over 1500 working scientists and engineers go through such courses every year.

In keeping with its aims and objects, the Institute has organised a Centre for Scientific and Industrial Consultancy through which the knowhow generated in the Institute percolates to industries via industry-sponsored projects.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research with organic links with the Institute has been functioning on Campus and also on Jakkur.

In all these endeavours, the Institute strives to contribute to the scientific, academic and technological goals of our country, with a keen awareness of its noble tradition and the need for maintaining a high quality in all its activities.