The Indian Institute of Technology Madras is one among the foremost institutes of national importance in higher technological education, basic and applied research. In 1956, the German Government offered technical assistance for establishing an institute of higher education in engineering in India. The first Indo-German agreement in Bonn, West Germany for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras was signed in 1959.
The Institute was formally inaugurated in 1959 by Prof. Humayun Kabir, Union Minister for Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs. The IIT system has sixteen Institutes of Technology. The first of these to be instituted are at Kharagpur (estb. 1951), Mumbai (estb. 1958), Chennai (estb. 1959), Kanpur (estb. 1959), Delhi (estb. 1961), Guwahati (estb. 1994) and Roorkee (estb. 1847, joined IITs in 2001).
Today, IIT Madras is a residential institute with nearly 550 faculty, 8000 students and 1250 administrative & supporting staff. It has sixteen academic departments and a few advanced research centres in various disciplines of engineering and pure sciences, with nearly 100 laboratories organised in a unique pattern of functioning. Its campus is located in the city of Chennai, previously known as Madras. Chennai is the state capital of Tamilnadu, a southern state in India.