Five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) were created by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, to promote quality education and research in basic science. The first two institutes established under this initiative are IISER Kolkata and IISER Pune in 2006, followed by IISER Mohali in 2007, and IISER Bhopal and IISER Trivandrum in 2008. These are autonomous institutes for higher education and research in science. IISERs are devoted to both teaching and research in an integrated manner – thus nurturing both curiosity and creativity. The mandates have been to teach, motivate, and train students for research in basic science.
The strength of IISER Kolkata (IISER-K) is derived from its talented students, faculty of excellent academic repute, state-of-the-art research facilities, and flexibility of academic program. An important aspect of IISER-K is its interdisciplinary character, as modern science education and research focus on broader perspectives. Keeping this in mind, IISER-K offers BS-MS (5-yr. Integrated Masters) program, involving two years of compulsory exposure to all the science disciplines to study Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, and Earth and Planetary Sciences along with introduction to Computer Programming and Electronics, followed by two years of study in a 'major' discipline, and finally one year devoted to research leading to a Masters' thesis. In addition to BS-MS program, IISER-K also has post-BSc Integrated PhD program, 2-yr. MS (by thesis) program for BTech students, as well as post-MSc PhD program. PhD programs are specifically focused on cutting-edge research. Notably, all pre-doctoral students receive stipends to meet their academic expenses. We are very happy that first-batch BS-MS pass outs of IISER-K have booked their places in some of world's best research institutes for advanced studies. We are sure a similar trend will continue.
With 91 regular faculty, 426 pre-doctoral, 130 doctoral, and 05 post-doctoral students IISER-K is vibrant with academic activities. It is a matter of great satisfaction that faculty members have started publishing their research papers in journals of international repute, based on work done at IISER-K. Some of our young faculty members have excelled in research and have been recognized with national and international fellowships/awards. Apart from engaging in scientific activities, students and faculty of IISER-K are also involved in various social and outreach activities. The academic activities of IISER-K are supported by sincere staff members. We all – the members of IISER-K family - feel proud of being a part of this budding institution.
To conclude, for inquisitive young minds looking for a platform for experiencing a fine blend of quality teaching with world-class research in basic science, IISER-K is one of the best institutions to reckon with. Personally, I am humbled and grateful to be a part of this challenging environment of IISER Kolkata.
Prof. R N Mukherjee