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Honouring Excellence: Dr. Shailesh Nayak Receives 'Padma Shri'

A distinguished scientist, academician and administrator, Dr. Shailesh Nayak possess a multifaceted and accomplished career in the field of Earth sciences and remote sensing. Dr. Nayak began his professional career at the Space Applications Centre, in 1978. Over the years, he ascended to the position of Group Director of Marine and Water Resources, where he conceptualized and executed numerous national-level projects involving satellite data for applications such as ocean colour, integrated coastal zone management, snow and glacier studies, and water resources. Subsequently Dr. Nayak played a crucial role as the Chair of the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO) and Secretary to the Government of India for the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). His contributions extended to the restructuring of Coastal Regulation Zone Notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, influencing the policy for coastal zone regulation. Later, as the Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad, he established an advanced Early Warning System for Tsunami and Storm Surges in the Indian Ocean and pioneered the development of Marine GIS.

Dr. Nayak presently serves as the Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bengaluru. Additionally, he holds esteemed roles such as the Chancellor of the TERI School of Advanced Studies in Delhi and serves as a Life Trustee of the India International Centre in New Delhi. He is also the President of the Indian Geophysical Union in Hyderabad and the Indian Mangrove Society, playing an active role in advancing scientific research and promoting sustainable development. Apart from his leadership roles, Dr. Nayak is actively involved in various governing boards and committees related to space, ecology, and coastal zone management. He holds memberships in esteemed organizations like the Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), the Foundation for Ecological Security, and the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management, among others.

Recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions, Dr. Nayak is a fellow of prestigious scientific academies and organizations. He has authored more than 190 papers in international and national journals and has delivered around 200 invited talks in national and international forums. His impact on society has been acknowledged through numerous awards, including the IGU – Hari Narain Lifetime Achievement Award in Geosciences-2013, the ISCA Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award 2012, and the Bhaskara Award for 2009 by the Indian Society of Remote Sensing.

As one of the foundation members (ISG-L-19) of the Indian Society of Geomatics (ISG) Dr. Nayak has made significant contributions to the growth of ISG. He as President, ISG during 2011-2014 and elected as Fellow of ISG in 2015.

In recognition of Dr. Nayak’s outstanding contributions to the field of science and engineering, the Government of India honoured him with the civilian honour ‘Padma Shri’ in 2024. On this proud moment, the ISG fraternity comes together to express our sincere congratulations to Dr. Nayak for receiving this well-deserved honour, the esteemed Padma Shri Award. While we wish him continued success in his future endeavours, may this prestigious honour inspire the present and future generations of researchers.