Fellows form the core academic community of the Institute. The Institute hosts three categories of Fellows—National Fellows, Fellows and Tagore Fellows. The term of fellowship for all three categories is for 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years. There is, however, a multiplicity of approaches in the selection of Fellows, and this is not necessarily confined to those who respond to advertisements. It is open to the Institute to consider the names of eminent scholars suggested by the Director, Members of the Governing Body and the Society. Talent is also identified through efforts on a regional and sub-regional basis. In no case shall the fellowship be extended beyond 2 years.
- National Fellows are scholars of eminence who are invited by the Governing Body of the Institute.
- Fellows are selected on the basis of the research project submitted by them. The Fellowship is awarded by the Governing Body on the recommendation of the Fellowship Award Committee (FAC) which comprises experts from various disciplines. There is a two-tier selection process in place—all applications are placed before a Screening Committee which shortlists scholars for presentation before the FAC where the scholars are asked to elaborate on their research project. Scholars of eminence may be exempted from personal appearance before the FAC.
- The Institute also runs a Tagore Centre for the Study of Culture and Civilization (TCSCC) at the Institute. The objectives of the TCSCC are:
- encourage the study of Tagore’s work
- support translations of Tagore’s work into other Indian languages
- promote comparative study of his work with poets, artists and writers in other parts of India and the world
- advance the study of his Humanist philosophy and his cosmopolitanism
- explore his concerns regarding the relationship between science and society.
Under this Centre the IIAS offers Fellowships to scholars working on the ideas and philosophy of Tagore out of which one would be an Indian artist/scholar and another a foreign scholar/artist.
- While Fellows of the Institute are primarily engaged in their own research on themes approved by the Institute, to further interdisciplinary dialogue, there is also considerable formal and informal interaction among them. The Fellows' Weekly Seminar which is held every Thursday is the primary forum for formal interaction. During their term, Fellows remain in residence from 1st March to 15th December. From 16th December to 28th February, they have the option to carry out fieldwork and library and archival consultations outside Shimla. Limited financial assistance is provided by the Institute for this purpose during this period.
- Apart from the Fellows, the Institute has the following categories of occasional visitors:
- Visiting Professors
- Visiting Scholars
- Guest Scholars.
- Visiting Professors are eminent scholars invited by the Governing Body of the Institute to give lectures and seminars at the Institute. During their stay of up to four weeks in residence, they also have an opportunity to interact informally with the Fellows of the Institute.
- Distinguished scholars are also invited for a shorter duration (about a week or so) as Visiting Scholars. Such scholars (Visiting professors/Visiting Scholars) give a lecture or two at the Institute, and are extended all the facilities of the Institute during their stay as well as a modest honorarium for the lectures delivered.
- Depending on the availability of accommodation, the Institute also allows Guest Scholars to visit the Institute and make use of its facilities on payment of rent.