ENS-IISER networks


In the frame of the international strategies and common actions of the Écoles normales supérieures in France, ENS de Lyon has taken the lead in the creation of a partnership with the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) in India.

Context and historical background 

The international strategy of the ENS Higher Education Institutions relies on establishing selective networks with foreign institutions of excellence by linking training programs to research activities and by seeking complementarities. Thus, India is considered as a key partner in the international strategy of the four ENS regarding its high level of scientific development. 

The IISER network in India, being highly selective institutions based on merit that promote inter and transdisciplinary learning approaches, possess similar interests and complementarities with the ENS in France.
As both ENS and IISER share common values and mindset, strong academic and scientific links were identified. As a consequence, the Indian and French institutions decided to carry missions collaboratively in order to tackle national education and research challenges.

The ENS-IISER partnership 

In 2018 the ENS-IISER network implemented a framework agreement allowing their institutions to collaborate on different levels.

An exchange program has been established for master level students in research wishing to complete an internship abroad. This program allows students to develop new skills in their field, interculturalism and to build a network. Moreover, it enables the IISER and ENS institutions to identify suitable candidates for a PhD within their network.

Since the start of the program, more than 50 IISER students have been hosted at one of the ENS in France and have successfully completed their internship. Due to the pandemic, mobility to India was severely restricted, limiting the exchange program for French students. As these restrictions are gradually being lifted, mobility to India is resuming and students from the ENS are now able to complete their mobility in the IISER.

Find students testimonies on their internship in the Internship testimonies section.


This cooperation also takes other forms such as the exchange of teaching assistants between the IISER and ENS institutions, the organization of regular office delegations visits, the completion of institutional and research missions through the exchange of professors and researchers from both sides and the organization of workshops, meetings and events such as the Knowledge summits of 2018 and 2019.

The partnership has also led to the creation of Biosantexc, a Franco-Indian campus in life and health sciences, one of the four winners of the call for projects launched by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in 2022.

More about Biosantexc


ENS and IISER: institutions of excellence in France and in India

Beyond their shared values and mindset, the ENS and IISER share characteristics that make them unique in the research and academic landscape of their respective countries.
As the ENS and IISER institutions are relatively small and research-intensive, close ties have been established not only with national but also with international renowned research laboratories.

These institutions are characterized by a high level training in research through research. This environment has proven to be highly attractive, with approximately 2,000 to 4,000 applicants being selected through a very competitive admission process.

Main characteristics shared by ENS and IISER institutions:

  • Small-size and research-intensive institutions: 2000 to 4000 students selected through a highly competitive process
  • Training of hi-level graduate students: Master and PhD
  • Training and research at the forefront of issues related to societal challenges
  • High level of complementarity and interdisciplinary approaches
  • Internationally recognized research laboratories
  • Integration within the regional clusters and ecosystems