A technological innovator in many ways, Dr. N Kalaiselvi has created history by becoming the first woman director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Dr. N Kalaiselvi has become the first woman to be appointed Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, an 80-year-old research organisation which is a consortium of 38 research institutes. She is the successor of Shekhar Mande and has been appointed for two years.

She is an inspiration on many grounds. She hails from a small town but her research is cutting edge and of global standards. The Principal Scientific Advisor regards that her role would be critical in the National Hydrogen Mission.

She will also be the Secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to become only the fourth woman scientist to occupy the position of Secretary of a scientific department under the Central Government. Other woman scientists who have held an eminent position in scientific departments are Manju Sharma and Renu Swarup in the Department of Biotechnology and Soumya Swaminathan who was the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research and Secretary, Department of Health Research before moving to the World Health Organisation.

Read on, to know about some facts associated with her personality. Her appointment is a big win for women in science.

  • Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Kalaiselvi was also the first woman to head the CSIR- CECRI ( Central Electro Chemical Research Institute ). She started her career as an entry-level scientist at CECRI.
  • She did all her education primarily in the Tamil language which, she said, helped her grasp the concepts of sciences in college. She again proves that a Tamil medium education is not an obstacle to success.
  • Her research specifications especially focus on electrochemical power systems, development of electrode materials, custom-designed synthesis methods, optimisation of reaction parameters, and electrochemical evaluation of in-house prepared electrode materials, according to the CECRI website.
  • She is also involved in projects to increase electric mobility in India and has been part of national missions.
  • She is also working on the development of practically viable Sodium ion/Lithium-Sulphur batteries and supercapacitors. She has more than 125 research papers and 6 patents.
  • Awardee of Brain Pool Fellowship of Korea in 2003, International Scientist of the year 2007, Materials Research Society Medal in 2015, and the CV Raman Mahila Vigyaan Puruskar in 2019.

The rise of Dr. N Kalaiselvi to the zenith of the research institute in India is a testimony to the fact that women can always break the glass ceilings and tread the strenuous path to success all by themselves. She indeed creates history and sets inspiration for the coming generations. As it is not always the beauty but the character, intelligence, strength, and style that makes a woman beautiful.

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