An Indo-Canadian scientist from Orissa has been appointed to a coveted post in Canada's premier aerospace research institute - the first Indian origin person to bag such a job.
Prakash Patnaik, who hails from Berhampur in Ganjam district, has been appointed director Structures and Materials Performance Laboratory, at The National Research Council of Canada Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC), a premier science and technology research organisation in Canada.
NRC Aerospace, located in Ottawa and Montreal, conducts research and development in the design, manufacture, performance, use, and safety of air and space vehicles.
Patnaik, who was appointed last month, studied metallurgical engineering at the Regional Engineering College, Rourkela (Orissa). He went to Canada in the 1970s for higher studies and obtained his Masters & PhD degrees in materials science and engineering from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
Between 1983 and 1985, he was visiting fellow at the Institute for Aerospace Research (IAR) and at another institute. He spent the next 17 years at Orenda Aerospace Corporation, a Magellan Aerospace Company.
In January 2002, he joined IAR as group leader, materials, in the Structures, Materials and Propulsion Laboratory.
Jerzy Komorowski, director general, NRC Aerospace, said: "Dr Patnaik brings a formidable mix of technical and business acumen to the Laboratory and the institute.
"His deep knowledge of the industry and commercial business practices combined with an extensive network of global associates will enable the Structures and Materials Performance Laboratory to continue to grow and thrive."
Prakash Patnaik also holds an official membership in the NATO R&D Organisation and TTCP Defence Collaboration Programme.
"In both these committees I have been appointed to represent the Department of National Defence Canada (particularly the air force). I am the first Indo-Canadian to hold these positions," Patnaik said.
Patnaik lives in Ottawa with his wife, Pushpa, and three daughters. He is a prominent member of Ottawa's Indian community.