1) ICRISAT scientist conferred with the prestigious Indian National Science Academy fellowship

Hyderabad, India (10 January 2014) –  The Indian National Science Academy (INSA) conferred its elected fellowship on Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director – Grain Legumes, and Director – Centre of Excellence in Genomics, at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for his outstanding work in the area of legume genomics. The award was presented at the INSA’s 69th anniversary meet in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India held recently.

Accepting the fellowship from INSA President Dr Krishan Lal, Dr Varshney said, “This prestigious fellowship as well as the other awards I have received so far have been possible because of the excellent work we have been doing at ICRISAT in collaboration with partner organizations across the world. I am privileged to be working with ICRISAT and to have the strong support of my colleagues and partners.” Dr Varshney’s aim is to see the science of genomics being used to develop superior varieties of legumes like chickpea, pigeonpea and groundnut.

Congratulating Dr Varshney, ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar said, “Such awards to our scientists at national and international levels reflect the high quality of science ICRISAT is doing together with its partners. This will enable superior crop varieties to be developed for smallholder farmers in the dryland tropics of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. They in turn can have access to markets and generate more income following the framework of Inclusive Market-Oriented Development or IMOD.”

“This award is a great honor not only to Dr Rajeev Varshney, but also to ICRISAT,” he added.

IMOD is a strategy that ICRISAT uses for harnessing markets, while focusing on ensuring welfare to smallholder farmers.

At ICRISAT, Dr Varshney has led the genome sequencing of pigeonpea and chickpea, developed large-scale genomic tools and is currently working on the deployment of molecular breeding to develop superior varieties with enhanced resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses that will have higher yield. Dr Varshney has the credit of publishing four research papers in Nature journal in just two years.  

In addition to the INSA Fellowship, Dr Varshney received two prestigious awards in 2013 – The Greater Good Initiative Award from Illumina Inc., and the 2013 Young Crop Scientist Award conferred by  the Crop Science Society of America. He is also an elected fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India.

INSA was established in 1935 with the objective of promoting science in India and harnessing scientific knowledge for the cause of humanity and national welfare.

 

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