N Kalaiselvi becomes first woman general director of CSIR

Electrochemical scientist N Kalaiselvi has become the first woman director general of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) — India’s premier public sector R&D organisation that controls multiple state-run institutions around the country.

Kalaiselvi at present heads CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI) at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, as its director.

She has been appointed DG, CSIR for two years with effect from the date of assumption of charge of the post, a government order read.

Hailing from Ambasamudram, a small town in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, Kalaiselvi has risen through the ranks in the CSIR and also became the first woman scientist to head the CSIR-CECRI in February 2019.

She will also hold charge as secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) of the science & technology ministry, joining a list of women scientists who have occupied key positions in other organisations including space agency Isro and the department of biotechnology (DBT).

Kalaiselvi’s research interests include lithium and beyond lithium batteries, supercapacitors and waste-to-wealth driven electrodes and electrolytes for energy storage and electrocatalytic applications.

She is at present involved in the development of practically viable Sodium-ion/Lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors. Kalaiselvi also made key contributions to the National Mission for Electric Mobility. She has more than 125 research papers and six patents to her credit.