From a humble beginning, Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan in Bhubaneswar today stands as a shining academic edifice where quality education and innovative research are the buzzwords. The university, widely known by its acronym SOA, has been churning out professionals in varied fields ready for the needs and new age challenges of different sectors.
The core belief at SOA is that a centre of higher learning must ignite the desire in the student to learn not to get a job, but illuminate the society with his or her learning.
SOA came into existence on July 17, 2007 when the Education Ministry conferred on it the status of a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. It has emerged today as a centre of superlative professional education with its focus on research and a strong academic foundation.
The multi-campus infrastructure of SOA is home to more than 15,000 students, including from other countries, who have chosen the Deemed to be University to chart out a future for themselves.
Though just 15-years-old, SOA has been listed among the top 25 universities in the country by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for seven consecutive years now. Ranked 15h in the country by NIRF in 2023 SOA was re-accredited by NAAC with the highest A++ Grade.
Three programs of the university’s faculty of engineering and technology have been accredited by the prestigious Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), an internationally reputed US-based accreditation agency.
SOA has been globally ranked among the top 50 universities in India by QS India Ranking. The Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, SOA’s faculty of medical sciences, ranked 16th in the country in medical category by NIRF in 2023 while its faculty of engineering, institute of technical education and research (ITER) ranked 27th in engineering category, its faculty of Dental ranked 9th and faculty of law ranked 8th where as for the first time faculty of Management ranked 57th in the country in NIRF rankings. In the overall category SOA ranked 26th in the country in Nirf rankings.
The university’s focus being on research, it has set up 16 research centres which have been working in 26 identified thrust areas. Some of the ongoing research work is supported by grants sanctioned by several external agencies including the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology and Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Research work of the faculty members and research scholars regularly get published in reputed peer reviewed national and international journals. The university has more than 10,000Scopus indexed publications to its credit so far with h-Index of 96. Researchers at SOA have so far applied for 402 patents of which 289 have been published and patents granted in 31 cases.
SOA’s faculty of medical sciences runs the 1600-bed IMS and SUM Hospital which has become one of the most sought after healthcare centres in Odisha and neighbouring states. The USP of the teaching hospital, which deploys excellent modern and advanced diagnostic, surgical and life saving equipment, is that it extends quality medical service at affordable cost.
Prof. (Dr.) Manojranjan Nayak, Founder of SOA, had established the Institute of Technical Education and Research (ITER) in Bhubaneswar in 1996 with the objective that it would become a centre of excellence so that students of Odisha would not require to go elsewhere seeking quality education. ITER has come to be known as one of the best institutes of engineering and technology in the east.
New institutions were added to the list subsequently which comprised disciplines of medical sciences, dental sciences, management, pharmaceutical sciences, bio-technology, nursing, hospitality and tourism management, legal studies, agricultural sciences and veterinary sciences.
A brilliant student himself, Prof. (Dr.) Nayak had graduated in Electrical Engineering from the Regional Engineering College (presently NIT), Rourkela and did his M. Tech in Computer Science from IIT, Kharagpur. He did his doctorate from Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar.
A man, who prefers to maintain a low profile, Prof. (Dr.) Nayak constantly encourages faculty members, researchers and administrators to put their best foot forward. Not one to rest on his laurels, he also set up the SUM Ultimate Medicare, a stand-alone one-stop, next-generation multi-super specialty quaternary care hospital in the Odisha capital. He also runs a media house which publishes an Odia daily, The Prameya, which has the largest circulation in the state and runs News7, an Odia television news channel.