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Nallathamby Kalaiselvi becomes first female director general of CSIR

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Aug 08, 2022 6:00 PM

Read Time: 2 minute

Nallathamby Kalaiselvi, a senior electrochemical scientist, has been appointed the first female director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, a grouping of 38 national state-run research institutions.

According to August 6 order from the personnel ministry, her appointment is for a period of two years beginning on the day she assumes responsibility for the position and lasting until future orders, whichever comes first.

Shekhar Mande's replacement, Kalaiselvi, took over when he retired in April. Following Mande's retirement, Rajesh Gokhale, secretary for the Department of Biotechnology, was given additional responsibility for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Well-known expert in lithium ion batteries

Kalaiselvi is a well-known expert in lithium ion batteries and currently serves as director of the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute in Tamil Nadu's Karaikudi. She will also serve as the department of scientific and industrial research's secretary.

In February 2019, Kalaiselvi, who has advanced through the CSIR ranks, became the first female scientist to lead the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI), shattering the proverbial glass ceiling.

Many members of the scientific community and science administration expressed their congratulations on her nomination to the important position.

“Heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Dr N Kalaiselvi,” Ajay Sood, principal scientific adviser to the government said.

Kalaiselvi was also greeted by Sood's predecessor, K VijayRaghavan, former Department of Biotechnology secretary Renu Swarup, former Earth Sciences secretary Madhavan Rajeevan, and other scientists.

First female director general of CSIR

Former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss expressed pride in Kalaiselvi's Tamil Nadu origins. Ramadoss expressed confidence that Kalaiselvi, as the first female director general of the CSIR, will lead India to new heights in scientific innovation. Kalaiselvi began her research career as an entry-level scientist at CSIR-CECRI.

Kalaiselvi grew up in Ambasamudhram, a small town in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli district, and attended school in Tamil medium, which she says helped her understand science concepts in college.

Kalaiselvi's research primarily focus

Over the last 25 years, Kalaiselvi's research has primarily focused on electrochemical power systems, specifically the development of electrode materials and the electrochemical evaluation of in-house prepared electrode materials for their suitability in energy storage device assembly.

Lithium and beyond lithium batteries, supercapacitors, and waste-to-wealth driven electrodes and electrolytes for energy storage and electrocatalytic applications are among her research interests.

She is currently working on the development of Sodium-ion/Lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors. Kalaiselvi also contributed significantly to the National Mission for Electric Mobility. She is the author of over 125 research papers and six patents.

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