CHENNAI. JANUARY 31, 2023
Former Chief Scientist of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Soumya Swaminathan, takes charge as Chairperson of M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) effective February 1, 2023. Dr Madhura Swaminathan, economist and Professor at the Indian Statistical Institute Bengaluru, who chaired the organisation for little over a decade (August 2012 to January 2023) after the Founder – Professor M S Swaminathan, steps down today.
“The pandemic has taught us that science and technology can help solve humankind’s problems, but need to be used with ethics and equity as the foundation. I look forward to working with the staff of MSSRF, as well as rural, tribal and coastal communities to use science for sustainable development.” – Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chairperson – M S Swaminathan Research Foundation.
About Dr Soumya Swaminathan
Dr Soumya Swaminathan was most recently WHO’s Chief Scientist and before that, Deputy Director-General for Programmes. As WHO’s inaugural Chief Scientist, Dr Swaminathan built the Science division with a focus on research, quality assurance of norms and standards and digital health. She played a key role during the pandemic in coordinating scientific efforts at the WHO, as well as in setting up Covax, with a focus on equitable vaccine distribution to LMICs.
A pediatrician from India and a globally recognised researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research, and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes. Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017, where she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy-making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools, and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/ UNDP/ World Bank/ WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, Geneva.
She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and has published more than 450 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the US National Academy of Medicine, the Academy of Medical Sciences of the UK, and a Fellow of all the science academies in India. She has received several honorary doctorates, including from EPFL, Lausanne and the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. She serves on several national and global advisory bodies and committees, and is an adjunct Professor at Karolinska University in Sweden and Tufts University in Boston, USA.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation was established as a not-for-profit trust in 1988. Envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan with proceeds from the First World Food Prize received in 1987, MSSRF aims to accelerate the use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development, thus improving lives and livelihoods of marginalised communities. From a small beginning, MSSRF has made an impact across various dimensions, changing rural lives for the better. Over 550000 farm families and 250000 fisherfolk across 4000 villages covering 14 Indian states benefit every day.
For more information, visit our website www.mssrf.org
For details, contact:
Director – Communications
3rd Cross Street, Institutional Area, Taramani,
Chennai 600 113, India
Mobile: +91 9841051489