‘Where’s the research?’ Why space institute IIST’s tailor-made graduates don’t stay at ISRO

Many IIST graduates who are contractually obligated to work with ISRO end up leaving midway by paying fees out of their own pocket, and enrolling for further studies.

When the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) was founded in 2007, it was meant to launch a new generation of young space scientists into the control rooms of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  

Starting from the very first batch that joined ISRO in 2011, former IIST students have been quitting the organisation, even before their stipulated contract ends, paying lakhs out of their pocket to leave.  

Situated in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, IIST is Asia’s first university for the study of space. Together with ISRO, it comes under the aegis of the Department of Space. 

How IIST work ?

Upon graduation, the students are typically “absorbed” by ISRO, subject to available positions. They are contractually obligated to work at the agency for a minimum of three years, a necessary condition for acceptance into IIST.