The Institute Faculty and Research are represented by the Schools they belong to such as School of Humanities, School of Social Sciences and School of Natural Sciences and Engineering.
The School of Humanities is engaged in research in the broad areas of philosophy, psychology, literature, fine arts, and culture. Research in the School currently focuses on philosophical foundations of sciences; scientific and philosophical studies of consciousness; Indian psychology and philosophy; history and philosophy of biology; archaeometalurgy and analysis of ancient metals; and translations of literary classics in Kannada into English.
The School of Natural Sciences and Engineering covers research in the fields of engineering, mathematics, agriculture, ecology and conservation biology. Current research interests of the faculty members include various aspects of signal processing; number theory; artificial intelligence; soft computing; language engineering; mathematical modelling of complex chaotic systems; studies on agro-ecology; natural resource conservation, particularly soil and water conservation; pesticide stewardship; conservation of wildlife; primate behaviour and cognition.
The School of Social Sciences is engaged in activities that include research, teaching, outreach, advocacy and consultancy. The faculty are drawn from sociology and social anthropology, gender studies, educational studies, economics, and energy studies, and have conducted several research-cum-outreach projects in the fields of education, gender, governance and development. Current areas of interest are in forging inter-disciplinary work to understand and address issues in the areas of water, energy, and education. The school also seeks to contribute to work on globalisation, organisations, development and economic sociology.
The International Strategic and Security Studies Programme promotes and conducts research that addresses the strategic and security concerns relevant to India. It has over the years carried out a number of studies in technology dominated areas of international security, with a special emphasis on nuclear weapons and missiles. NIAS has also facilitated exchange of knowledge and views between interested groups working around the globe on issues related to international security through meetings, conferences and invited talks. The continuing and ongoing dialogue with the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) of the US National Academy of Sciences reflects the Programme's commitment to using knowledge to help improve understanding between countries. The major areas of interest include China, Pakistan, space weaponisation, techno-economics of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. The programme has also started work on terrorism.