Breaking glass ceiling, CSIR gets first woman director general in N Kalaiselvi
Aug. 9, 2022

In News:

  • N Kalaiselvi, an electrochemical scientist, has become the first woman director general of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), breaking yet another glass ceiling in the country's scientific bodies.
  • The CSIR is India's premier public sector R&D organisation, controlling a number of state-run institutions across the country. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the CSIR
  • News Summary

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR):

  • About:
    • It was set up in 1942as an autonomous body (under the Societies Registration Act, 1860).
    • CSIR is now the largest government funded multi-disciplinary industrial research and development (R&D) organisation in India.
    • It comes under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
    • The R&D activities of CSIR include aerospace engineering, structural engineering, ocean sciences, life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather and environmental science.
    • CSIR is headquartered in New Delhi.
    • CSIR@80: Vision and Strategy 2022 - New CSIR for New India: Under this, the CSIR’s vision is to pursue -
      • Science which strives for global impact,
      • The technology that enables innovation-driven industry,
      • The technology that fosters multidisciplinary leadership, catalysing inclusive economic development for the people of India.
  • Some major achievements of CSIR:
    • Designed India's first ever parallel processing computer, Flosolver.
    • Developed a versatile portable PC-based software 'Bio-Suite' for bioinformatics.
    • Design of 14-seater plane 'SARAS'.
    • Established first ever in the world 'Traditional Knowledge Digital Library' accessible in five international languages, English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.
    • In 2009, completed the sequencing of the Human Genome.
    • In 2011, successfully tested India's 1st indigenous civilian aircraft, NAL NM5 made in association with National Aerospace Laboratories and Mahindra Aerospace.
    • In 2020, initiated clinical trials to evaluate Sepsivac's efficacy to reduce mortality rate in COVID-19 patients. 

News Summary:

  • About N Kalaiselvi:
    • Hailing from a small town in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, Kalaiselvi has risen through the ranks in the CSIR and also became the first woman scientist to head the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI) in 2019.
    • She will also hold charge as Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • Kalaiselvi’s research interests include lithium and beyond lithium batteries, supercapacitors and waste-to-wealth driven electrodes and electrolytes for energy storage and electrocatalytic applications.
    • Kalaiselvi also made key contributions to the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Other notable women scientists of India:
    • Earlier, woman scientist Renu Swarup served as secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • Muthayya Vanitha and RituKaridhal headed ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 mission as its project director and mission director, respectively.
    • Another scientist,V R Lalithambika was in 2018 picked as the director of the directorate of human space programme to oversee the Gaganyaan project (India’s maiden human spaceflight mission).
    • Besides, Mangala Mani, known as the ‘polar woman of ISRO’, was the space agency’s first woman scientist to spend more than a year in Antarctica in 2016.