Senior scientist Nallathamby Kalaiselvi was on Saturday appointed as director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the first woman to lead the consortium of 38 research institutes across the country.
Known for her work in the field of lithium-ion batteries, Dr Kalaiselvi is at present the director of the CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute at Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu.
She succeeds Shekhar Mande, who superannuated in April. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, of the Department of Biotechnology, was given the additional charge of CSIR upon Mande’s retirement.
Apart from the galaxy of projects falling under extramural research, collaborative and sponsored categories funded by DST, MNRE and CSIR, Dr Kalaiselvi has served as a Nodal Scientist for MULTI FUN (Multifunctional Electrodes and Electrolytes for Futuristic Technologies') with CSIR-CECRI as the Nodal lab and 6 CSIR Institutes as participating labs during 2012-2017.
Dr Kalaiselvi's research work of more than 25 years is primarily focused on electrochemical power systems and in particular, the development of electrode materials, custom-designed synthesis methods, optimization of reaction parameters and electrochemical evaluation of in-house prepared electrode materials for their suitability in energy storage device assembly.
Hailing from Ambasamudhram, a small town in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, Ms Kalaiselvi went to a Tamil medium school which, she said, helped her grasp the concepts of sciences in college.
Ms Kalaiselvi also made key contributions to the National Mission for Electric Mobility. She has more than 125 research papers and six patents to her credit.
Kalaiselvi broke the glass ceiling by a becoming scientist to head the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI) in February 2019.
(with agency inputs)