14 scientists bag Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) announced the names of 14 scientists who have been chosen as this year’s recipients of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize, one of the most coveted awards for multidisciplinary research in the country.
The prize is given to scientists below the age of 45 years for outstanding research in seven fields – biology, chemistry, environment science, engineering, mathematics, medicine and physics. In a small ceremony to mark the 79th foundation day of CSIR on Saturday, health minister Harsh Vardhan felicitated the winners as well as those of six other awards.
The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize includes a Rs 5 lakh award and a citation that was given to two researchers from each of the seven fields
“The present time is a difficult time. It has been nine months that we have been continuously engaged with the fight against Covid-19. Apart from the health ministry, the whole scientific community of India has been serving the cause of mitigation of Covid-19. Now, the Feluda paper diagnostic kit in the offing, and I am very eagerly waiting for it as it will revolutionise the testing capability and capacity,” said Harsh Vardhan, the union science minister, at the event.
The minister’s reference was to an on-spot Covid-19 test, which has been shown to have high rates of accuracy. One of the researchers, Debjyoti Chakraborty, who worked on developing the Feluda test was felicitated on Saturday as among the winners of the Yong Scientists Award for 2020, the names for which were announced in July.
Chakraborty is part of CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. The test has been created by using a gene-editing platform called CRISPR, which allows for the Sars-Cov-2 be detected on a portable test kit that resembles the commonly available pregnancy test strips and can be done easily at home.