N Kalaiselvi: Breaking Glass Ceilings is a Habit for CSIR’s First Woman Director

N Kalaiselvi, CSIR's first woman director

A trailblazer in many ways, Dr N Kalaiselvi has created history by becoming the first woman director of 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 (CSIR), an 80-year-old research organisation which is a consortium of 38 research institutes. She succeeds Shekhar Mande and has been appointed for two years.

As the Director General of CSIR, she will be the Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). 

“She is inspirational on many counts. She came from a small town but her research is cutting edge and of global standards. Her role would be critical in the National Hydrogen Mission,” said K Vijayraghavan, former Principal Scientific Advisor to the government to Deccan Herald.

He added that “her expertise needs to be developed into multiple national missions as we are trying to develop new types of batteries”.

Her appointment is a big win for women in science

N Kalaiselvi, CSIR's new director
N Kalaiselvi, CSIR’s new director general. Image: Rakhee Bakshee/ Twitter

Here are eight things to know about N Kalaiselvi who has broken many glass ceilings in her illustrious 25-year-long career. 

  1. Hailing from Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu, Kalaiselvi was also the first woman to head the CSIR-CECRI (Central Electro Chemical Research Institute) Karaikudi in 2019. She started her career as an entry-level scientist at CECRI. 
  2. According to a PTI report, she did her schooling in Tamil medium, which, she said, helped her grasp the concepts of sciences in college. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin congratulated her and said that her achievements prove that a Tamil medium education is not an obstacle to success. 
  3. Dr Kalaiselvi’s research primarily focuses 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.
  4. She has been involved in projects to increase electric mobility in India and has been part of national missions.
  5. “Her interests now also include lithium and beyond lithium batteries, supercapacitors, and waste-to-wealth driven electrodes and electrolytes for energy storage and electrocatalytic applications,” adds the website.
  6. She is now working on the development of practically viable Sodium-ion/Lithium-sulfur batteries and Supercapacitors.  
  7. She has more than 125 research papers and 6 patents. 
  8. She received several awards, including the Brain Pool Fellowship of Korea in 2003,  International Scientist of the year 2007, Materials Research Society Medal in 2015, and the CV Raman Mahila Vijnana Puraskara in 2019.
Sources

‘N Kalaiselvi becomes the first women chief of CSIR in 80 years’ by Kalyan Ray for Deccan Herald, Published on 07 August, 2022

‘CSIR gets first woman director general in N Kalaiselvi’ Published on 07 August, 2022 Courtesy The Print

CECRI

Edited by Yoshita Rao; Image: CSIR-CECRI

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