National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) was conceived and founded in 1988 by the late Mr. J. R. D. Tata, who sought to create an institution to conduct advanced multidisciplinary research. NIAS brings together individuals from diverse intellectual backgrounds like the administrators and managers from industry and government, leaders in public affairs, eminent individuals in different walks of life, and the academicians in the natural and life sciences, humanities, and social sciences.
NIAS leads the National Programme on Identification and Mentoring of gifted and talented children (0-18 years), popularly known as the NIAS - Education for the Gifted and Talented (NIAS - EGT). This programme was initiated by Prof. R. Chidambaram, the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India in the year 2011. This is the first collaborative attempt in India to develop a research based National Programme on Education of the Gifted and Talented to address the issue of equitable educational opportunities for gifted children and develop talent through a systematic and sustainable mentoring programme. The programme is steered by the programme advisory group consisting of Prof. Shailesh Nayak,Former Director of NIAS, Prof. V.S. Ramamurthy, Formerly Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Prof. S. Mohan, Emeritus Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. The previous Director NIAS, Lt. Prof. Baldev Raj had played a crucial role in providing direction for the expansion of the programme.
The NIAS-EGT team has developed Indian based protocols through evidence based research to identify gifted children in Mathematics, Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts and Sports for urban, rural and tribal children. Further, the team has also developed a multi-stage, multi- level model of mentoring that will cater to gifted children from diverse populations. The identification protocols are being standardized and mechanism to upscale the programme is being considered. Developing partnership with state, national government, NGOs, Private foundations and interested individuals are in process. Teacher training and networking with premier educational institutions for mentoring is an integral part of this programme. NIAS-EGT has played a critical role in including education of gifted and talented in the current curriculum of the teacher training programme of Karnataka under Inclusive Education as well as in the national 4-year integrated pre-service teacher training programme for India.
NIAS-EGT is the only non-IIT participating institution which is a part of the Ishaan Vikas Udhaan programme launched by the Prime Minister to provide exposure to academically bright children from the North eastern states of India.