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Indian origin scientist gets Canada's highest civilian award

india Updated: Jan 01, 2010 11:28 IST

An Allahabad-born scientist of Indian origin has been given Canada's highest civilian award - the Order of Canada.

Shrawan Kumar was honoured on Thursday for his three decades of pioneering research on workplace injury and the spine at the University of Alberta.

Born in Allahabad, Kumar is an alumnus of Allahabad University where he did his masters in zoology. After his higher studies in Britain, he worked from 1971 to 1973 at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences where he set up the first biomechanics laboratory.

Before landing in Canada in 1974, he was an assistant director at the Central Labour Institute in Mumbai.

Kumar is among 57 prominent Canadians who have been given the nation's highest civilian award for their excellence in various fields.

Bestowing the highest Canadian award on Kumar, Governor General Michaelle Jean said he has been honoured for "his contributions to the field of rehabilitation ergonomics, in Canada and abroad, notably in his research and teachings on the causation, prevention and treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries".

Kumar, who joined the faculty at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1977, has done path-breaking research, published and taught on ergonomics, occupational health and lower back pain for three decades. He retired from the Canadian university two years ago and moved to Fort Worth in Texas to join the faculty at the University of North Texas.

"I feel honoured as well as humbled by the award. It is Canada's highest honour...the feeling has not yet sunk in," Kumar said on phone from Texas.

"I am an inter-disciplinary scientist and my research covers various disciplines from engineering to medicine to biology. My work involves orthopaedic research, occupational health, rehabilitation health etc," he said.

Kumar said he was looking forward to his February visit to India where he is to deliver talks at the Lucknow Medical College and the Defence Institute of Physiology and Applied Sciences in Delhi.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to mark the centenary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation.

Over the last 40 years, more than 5,000 people, including many Indian-Canadians, have been given this honour.

Recipients will be formally given the honour at a special ceremony in Ottawa later.