Raghunath Anant Mashelkar

Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, also known as Ramesh Mashelkar. FREng, FIChemE (born on 1st January, 1943) is an Indian chemical engineer and a former Director General of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), a chain of 38 publicly funded industrial research and development institutions in India.

Credit: seshdamerla

Life and work

Mashelkar studied at the University of Bombay’s Department of Chemical Technology (now the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai) where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical engineering in 1966, later on a PhD degree in 1969. Mashelkar is presently the President of Global Research Alliance, a network of publicly funded research and development institutes from Asia-Pacific, South Africa, Europe and USA with over 60,000 scientists. He is the Chairperson of India’s National Innovation Foundation. He has been appointed as the first Chairperson of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR). He is also the chairman of the Reliance Innovation Council formed by Reliance Industries Limited, India.

Mashelkar is the former President of the Indian National Science Academy and the UK Institution of Chemical Engineers (2007–08). He served for over eleven years as the director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, world’s largest chain of publicly funded industrial R&D institutions, with thirty-eight laboratories and about 20,000 employees. He is the third Indian engineer to have been elected as fellow of Royal Society (FRS), London in the twentieth century. He was elected foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2005, only the 8th Indian since 1863 to be selected. On 28 April 2008, he was elected as the foreign associate of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He was elected foreign fellow of US National Academy of Engineering (2003), International Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, UK (1996), and Fellow of World Academy of Art & Science, USA (2000).

National contributions

He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and also of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet set up by successive governments. He chaired twelve committees established to examine a variety of issues including higher education, national fuel policy, the drug regulatory system and the agriculture research system.

Research

Mashelkar has made contributions in transport phenomena, particularly in thermodynamics of swelling, superswelling and shrinking polymers, modelling of polymerisation reactors, and engineering analysis of Non-Newtonian flows.[

Controversy

In 2005, the Indian government established a technical expert group on patent laws under the chairmanship of Mashelkar. Its purpose was to determine whether amendments made in Indian patent law were TRIPS compliant. The committee unanimously concluded that the amendments were not TRIPS compliant.

The report generated controversy when editorials published simultaneously in the Times of India and The Hindu alleged parts of the report had been plagiarised.

Mashelkar subsequently withdrew the report due to the alleged plagiarism, admitting to flaws in the report whilst stating, “This is the first time such a thing has happened.”

The controversy was raised in the Indian Parliament, with demands that the report be “trashed” and the issues be referred to a joint standing committee. However, the government instead referred the report back to the technical expert group to reexamine and correct the inaccuracies.

Awards & recognition

Mashelkar has received over fifty awards and honorary doctorates and is a member of numerous scientific bodies and committees. The President of India honoured Mashelkar with Padma Shri (1991) and with Padma Bhushan (2000), which are two of the highest civilian honours in recognition of his contribution to nation building. He was appointed an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1996. In 2013, he was awarded Gomant Vibhushan Award, the highest civilian honour of the state of Goa.

On 25 January 2014, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan, 2nd highest civilian honour of India by the President of India. (Source)

 

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