Autonomous S&T Institutions

The Autonomous Institutes (AI) Division under the Department of Science and Technology has been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the administration of the 26 Autonomous Institutes (16 R&D Institutes, 05 Service Organizations and 05 Professional Bodies/Science Academies) under the Department.

The Autonomous Institutes (AIs) administered by DST were established under the Societies Registration Act, Indian Trust Act or by enactment of Act by Parliament. These institutions, with long and cherished history and their varied activities, occupy an important place in the S&T eco-system of the country. Most of them were established prior to coming to existence of DST. A number of them even date back prior to Independence. Some of the Autonomous Bodies were set up whenever it was felt that specific functions need to be discharged outside the governmental set up with some amount of independence and flexibility without day-to-day interference of the Governmental machinery. Some of them were taken over from State Governments.

These Autonomous Institutes are largely dependent on Grants-in-Aid from Government of India.   They are a major stakeholder in the DST’s functioning as they are engaged in diverse activities, ranging from formulating frameworks for policies, conducting research in scientific streams and technologies.

A brief background about the 26 Autonomous Institutes are appended below.

  • The 16 research institutions in the DST family form a very special group from several points of view. Some of these are among the oldest research institutions in the country started by eminent scientists and individuals like Mahendra Lal Sircar, CV Raman, JC Bose, Birbal Sahni and DN Wadia etc. Some of these Institutions are repositories of very old and valuable scientific data and lead the nation in niche areas like astronomy and astrophysics, geomagnetism, advanced materials and nano science and technology – and so on. The institutions are basic research institutions with the exception of SCTIMST-Trivandrum and ARCI-Hyderabad. SCTIMST-Trivandrum is the national torchbearer in the field of indigenous biomedical device development which has helped to lower the cost of healthcare in the country. In the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, SCTIMST has evolved a fast track method to come out with many products, some of which have already been commercialized and started getting used for the management of Covid-19 pandemic. ARCI-Hyderabad has carved a very special place for itself as a premier technology development and transfer organization in the area of advanced materials. These Research Institutions have an impressive portfolio of research publications and awards and honours earned by their scientists and their produce.
  • The 4 specialized knowledge institutions and S&T service organizations – TIFAC, NECTAR, VP and NIF – are unique in their own ways. TIFAC approaches technology forecasting in different sectors in a very structured fashion involving all stakeholders and has also promoted new instruments of technology development and diffusion across the country. The Technology Vision document of 2035 by TIFAC is one of its significant achievements. NECTAR is unique in sourcing technologies for finding solutions to problems specific to the North Eastern States and Vigyan Prasar innovates on instruments of science communication and popularization. The India Science Channel of Vigyan Prasar is famous for its regular telecasting of scientific stories and episodes. NIF is a unique body which scouts for grassroots innovations and helps develop them further into viable, technology-backed products or processes. As on date NIF has acquired rights of seventy eight technologies of fifty eight innovators from fourteen states.
  • All the 5 premier science and engineering professional bodies of the country, viz. INSA-Delhi, IAS-Bangalore, NASI-Allahabad, INAE-Delhi and ISCA-Kolkata belong to the DST family. Most of these are again very old organizations established by eminent scientists and individuals, including the Indian Science Congress Association which is more than a century old. These professional bodies, through their multifarious activities, deliberate on policy issues of national importance related to S&T and help in dissemination of scientific knowledge through journals, meetings, conferences, national and international scientist-exchange programmes. In recent times, they have become important vehicles for special human resource development programmes focused on young students and science teachers in the country.


The list of Institutions along with their activities is given below:


Sl. No.

Name of the Autonomous Body


  1. 1

MACS-Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune

Basic and applied research in the areas of Biodiversity, Bioenergy, Bioprospecting, Developmental Biology, Genetics and Plant Breeding and Nano-bioscience.

  1. 2

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital

Basic research in Astronomy & Astrophysics, Solar Physics and Atmospheric Sciences. Operating the largest optical telescope (3.6m) in the country and other smaller optical telescopes and associated instrumentation for Astronomy & Astrophysics research by the national as well as international scientific community at large.

  1. 3

Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (BSIP), Lucknow

Multi-disciplinary basic research on fundamental and applied aspects of Palaeosciences and allied Earth System Sciences.

  1. 4

Bose Institute (BI), Kolkata

Basic research in emerging areas of Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Also, has a Rural Biotechnology Programme of direct societal benefit.

  1. 5

Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), Bengaluru

Basic and applied research in nano materials, liquid crystals, gels, membranes and hybrid materials. 

  1. 6

Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata

(A Deemed-to-be-University)

Basic research in front-ranking problems of Physics, Chemistry and Biology and other emerging interdisciplinary areas.

  1. 7

Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali

Basic and applied research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

  1. 8

Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati

Basic and applied research in Physical and Life Sciences including scientific investigations on specific topics of relevance to the North-Eastern Region.

  1. 9

Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru

Basic research in all branches of Astrophysics and allied topics. Maintaining advanced observing facilities for research in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

  1. 10

Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG), Mumbai

Basic and applied research in Geomagnetism and allied fields. Maintaining permanent observatories related to Geomagnetism and allied fields.

  1. 11

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), Hyderabad

Applied R&D on new materials and processes; demonstration of materials technologies at prototype and pilot scale and its transfer to industry. 

  1. 12

Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore

(A Deemed-to-be-University)

Basic research and teaching in a number of areas of science and engineering, such as, chemistry, physics, materials science, nanoscience, molecular biology, chronobiology, ecology, neuroscience, engineering mechanics and geodynamics.

  1. 13

Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru

Basic research in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics, light and matter physics, soft condensed matter and theoretical physics.

  1. 14

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCIMST), Tiruvananthapuram

(An Institute of National Importance under an Act of Parliament)

R&D for indigenous and affordable bio-medical technology and its transfer to industry, high-quality patient care in cardiovascular and neurological diseases, teaching for advanced medical degrees and research in medical sciences and public health.

  1. 15

S. N. Bose National Centre For Basic Sciences (SNB), Kolkata

Basic research in a number of areas of physics, chemistry and astronomy and astrophysics.

  1. 16

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun

Basic and applied research on the geology of Himalayas.

  1. 17

Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Delhi

National collegium of some of the most accomplished scientists and technologists of India by way of Fellowships. History of Science Research, Science Policies, Outreach and Training.

  1. 18

The National Academy of Sciences (NASI), Allahabad

Grant of Fellowships to recognize the scientific contributions of scientists. Science Policies, Outreach and Training. Strengthening the Science-Society Link by making scientific interventions to solve important societal problems.

  1. 19

Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), Delhi

Grant of Fellowships to recognize the contributions of engineers. Policy papers and organization of conferences and discussions on important national issues and suggestions for S&T interventions needed for the country, engineering training and education, etc.

  1. 20

The Indian Science congress Association (ISCA), Kolkata

Science communication and outreach activities to advance and promote the cause of science in the country and create scientific temper among the people of India.

  1. 21

Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), Bangalore

National collegium of accomplished scientists and technologists of India by way of Fellowships. Publication of advanced science and engineering journals. Science Policies and Outreach. Training of School and College students and teachers.

  1. 22

North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), Shillong, Meghalaya

Identifying techno-economic gaps and viable technologies for induction in the North-East to give a fillip to economic activities in the region and to improve the employment potential.

  1. 23

National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF), Ahmedabad

Spotting grassroots innovations, spawning and sustaining these in a selective, time-bound and mission-oriented manner so as to meet the socio-economic and environmental needs of our society.

  1. 24

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), Delhi         

Technology Forecasting, Technology Assessment, and preparation of Technology Market Survey Reports. Promotion of key technologies of relevance to India.

  1. 25

Vigyan Prasar (VP), Delhi

Communication of science and technology to promote and propagate scientific and rational outlook in the society, nurture interest in science, encourage creativity and develop capacity for informed decision-making.

Films on Different Autonomous Institutions of DST