Prof. Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar
Chairman- Advisory Board
Eminent Scientist Padma Vibhushan Dr. Raghunath Anant Mashelkar is one of India’s one of most renowned scientists known for his contributions in non-Newtonian fluid mechanics, gel science and polymer reaction engineering. Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar is a scientist, administrator, technocrat, activist and visionary all rolled into one.Born into an extremely poor family, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar’s story is one of determination and fortitude.
He was born on 1st January 1943 in Mashel, Goa. His mother’s determination and foresight pushed them to move to Mumbai in search of a better livelihood and education after the demise of his father.In Mumbai, they lived in a chawl and often struggled to make ends meet. He went barefoot to a municipal school and would sometimes be unable to afford a notebooks. He was the brightest student in the school and continuously excelled in his academics. He cleared his board examinations with flying colours by ranking 11th in Maharashtra – despite having studied by the light of a street lamp and on railway stations! After his board exam, he contemplated giving up on further education due to financial constraints. However, the encouragement by his mother and financial support from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust helped him secure a seat in the prestigious Jai Hind College. As always, he worked hard and stood 2nd in the inter-state examinations and there was no looking back from there.
He joined The Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai to pursue his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He went on to complete his PhD under the guidance of Prof. M. M. Sharma, finishing his thesis in just three years. His outstanding work earned him a fellowship at Sal ford University.
Despite numerous offers from foreign institutions, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar was aware about India’s untapped potential for excellence in science and technology, and the scarcity of talent in this area. India was considered a ‘dead end’ back in those days by most – and yet by putting aside his personal gains, here turned to serve his homeland.
After establishing himself at the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, he became its director in 1989. He also played a pivotal role in transforming Council of Scientific and Industrial Research after he became its Director General in 1995. He has single-handedly turned around the fortunes of CSIR and transformed it into the premier research institute that it is today.
His research in transport phenomena, thermodynamics of swelling, super swelling and shrinking polymers, modelling of polymerisation reactors, and engineering analysis of non-Newtonian flows is regarded as the benchmark for polymer scientists globally.
Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar is probably best known to the common man through his crusade against the US patents on turmeric, neem and basmati rice. He has been rooting for a strong Intellectual Property Rights regime in India for decades.
Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar has played a critical role in shaping India’s science and technology policies. 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 and the agriculture research system. Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar was instrumental in setting up the National Innovation Foundation in 2000, an organisation to facilitate and appreciate grass root innovators.He is currently the Chairman of Reliance Innovation Council and also the President of Global Research Alliance.
The President of India has honoured Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar with Padma Vibhushan in 2014, Padmabhushan in 2000 and Padmashri in 1991 in recognition of his contribution to nation building.
Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar is only the third Indian engineer to have been elected as Fellow of Royal Society, UK in the twentieth century. He is the first Indian to be elected as a fellow of National Academy of Inventors, US and was elected as the foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2005, only the 8th Indian since 1863 to be selected.
Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar has won prestigious awards like the S.S. Bhatnagar Prize, JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award andthe ‘Stars of Asia’ Award at the hands of George Bush Senior, the former President of USA becoming the first Asian Scientist to receive it.
He believes that his life’s purpose is to make innovation a way of life in Indian industry and that the grand challenges of the future are not going to be solved by individuals, institutions or independent nations, but by a global network. He firmly believes that “The ‘I’ in every Indian must stand for innovation”.
The team at MAEER’s MIT Pune and MIT-World Peace University is blessed to have his valuable guidance throughout our journey in our pursuit of technological excellence & research.