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Raghunath Mashelkar

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Raghunath Mashelkar

Raghunath Anant Mashelkar
Born (1943-01-01) 1 January 1943 (age 71)
Mashel, Goa
Residence Thane
Nationality Indian
Fields Chemical Engineering
Institutions CSIR India; Global Research Alliance
Known for Intellectual Property Rights; R&D; Innovation
Notable awards Padma Bhushan
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar
G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research

Raghunath Anant Mashelkar (Marathi: रघुनाथ अनंत माशेलकर, born 1 January 1943 in Mashel, Goa) is also known as Ramesh Mashelkar.[1] He is the former Director General of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR),[2] a chain of 38 publicly funded industrial research and development institutions in India.

Life and work

Mashelkar studied at the University of Bombay's Department of Chemical Technology (now the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai) where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Chemical engineering in 1966, later on a PhD degree in 1969.[3]

Mashelkar is presently the President of Global Research Alliance,[4] a network of publicly funded research and development institutes from Asia-Pacific, South Africa, Europe and USA with over 60,000 scientists. He is also the Chairperson of India's National Innovation Foundation.[5] He is also appointed as the first Chairperson of Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR).[6]

Mashelkar is the former President of the Indian National Science Academy and the UK Institution of Chemical Engineers (2007–08).[3] He served for over eleven years as the director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,world's largest chain of publicly funded industrial R&D institutions, with thirty-eight laboratories and about 20,000 employees.[7] He is the third Indian engineer to have been elected as fellow of Royal Society (FRS), London in the twentieth century. He was elected foreign associate of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2005, only the 8th Indian since 1863 to be selected. On 28 April 2008, he was elected as the foreign associate of Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.[8] He is the first Indian to have received this honour. He was elected foreign fellow of US National Academy of Engineering (2003), Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, UK (1996), and Fellow of World Academy of Art & Science, USA (2000). Twenty-six universities have honoured him with honorary doctorates, which include University of London, University of Salford, University of Pretoria, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Delhi University.

National contributions

In the post-liberalized India, Mashelkar has played an important role in shaping India's science and technology policies. He was a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and also of the

Original contributions to scientific and industrial research

Overall Contributions

Mashelkar has made some path-breaking contributions in transport phenomena in and thermodynamics of swelling, superswelling and shrinking polymers, modelling of polymerisation reactors, and engineering analysis of Non-Newtonian flows.

Swelling, superswelling and shrinking polymers: transport & thermodynamics

Mashelkar made the first molecular level interpretation of volume phase transitions in stimuli responsive gels through his Lattice Fluid Hydrogels Bonding models. These studies led to an understanding of the role of the subtle hydrophilic-hydrophobic balance in determining these transitions and also in molecular tailoring of these intelligent gels. Mashelkar’s original contributions, the first time ever, include biomimetic switching hydrogels (gelzymes), the discovery of molecular recognition induced macroscopic reversible morphological transitions and the discovery of self-healing phenomena in gels.

Sensitivity, selectivity, mobility, memory, self-organization, self-healing and enzyme like activity are some of the attributes of living materials. Synthetic hydrogels have been considered as potential candidates for mimicking life. Among these, it was Mashelkar, who demonstrated self-organization, self-healing & enzyme like activity for the first time.

Mashelkar's studies on lifetime of a dissolving polymeric particle are pioneering. The phenomenon of particle size independent dissolution in polymeric systems and the crucial role of reptation dynamics was demonstrated for the first time. His contribution to the interpretation of the phenomenon of unusual retardation and enhancement in polymer dissolution is pathbreaking, since he was the first to show the crucial role of disengagement dynamics in dissolution, for which he provided a direct evidence through some probing in-situ NMR experiments. Later, he showed the critical role of disengagement dynamics in other macromolecular transport processes.

Engineering analysis of non-Newtonian flows

Mashelkar has contributed to the understanding of diverse phenomena of interest to engineers in rheologically complex fluids. These cover laminar secondary flows, turbulent flows, free convection and particle motion and deformation.

He investigated the motion and deformation of bubbles, drops and solid spheres in rheologically complex fluids. His original contributions include the discovery of the phenomenon of delayed separation in Non-Newtonian fluids, an original experimental discovery of the presence of dual wakes behind spheres moving in elastic liquids, anomalous wake formation in liquid drops and a new concept of "elastic boundary layer" to explain some anomalous visco-elastic flows.

Role of energetic networks in non-Newtonian flows

Mashelkar developed the Energetically Crosslinked Transient Network (ECTN) Model, where the role of transient network formed by hydrogen bonds and its distinct difference from the physical networks was explicitly taken into account. He provided the direct evidence of the different character of such networks by doing in situ Rheo-NMR experiments. The application of this model has resolved anomalies, which had baffled analysts for over three decades. These included double stress overshort, time dependent terminal velocities, unusually long restoration times in particle motion in viscoelastic media, etc.

The role of such energetic interactions in phase separation in flowing polymeric fluids was analysed to propose the concept of deformation induced hydrophobicity for the first time. Further, the use of such energetic interaction based networks was made to create shear stable clusters of drag reducers. iop;oiu;iou;' His unified transient network models for analysing the wall-slip problem have opened up new vistas. His pioneering work on role of convective constraint release is the first ever direct molecular level interpretation of the wall-slip phenomenon.

Modelling of industrial polymerisation reactors

Mashelkar modelled the entire process of industrial polymerisation of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Many new important insights into the complex behaviour were obtained. The process of melt polycondensation of PET is accompanied by a desorption of a number of volatile side products accompanied by a series of reversible reactions. This diffusion – reaction problem poses conceptual as well as numerical difficulties in modelling. An apparently anomalous observation of the enhancement of polycondensation rate with increased side reactions, which had remained unexplained so far, was resolved. New strategies for enhancing productivity in industrial reactors emerged as a result of this work. This work has wide ranging impact globally on both theory and practice of polycondensation reactors.

Contribution to intellectual property movement

Based on a world wide opinion poll (2003–2005), International Journal 'Managing Intellectual Property' has listed Mashelkar as being one of the 50 most influential people in intellectual property from 19 countries around the world. Mashelkar was responsible for creating practically a "national movement" on IPR through his visionary campaign with Indian academicians, researchers and corporates.

Under his leadership, CSIR occupied the first position in WIPO's top fifty PCT filers among all the developing nations in 2002. CSIR has maintained unprecedented 30% – 40% share of the US patents granted to Indians in India during the last three years.

He spearheaded the challenge of the success revocation of the US patent on wound- healing properties of turmeric (USP 5,401,5041) and chaired the Technical committee, which successfully challenge the revocation of the US patents on Basmati rice (USP 5,663,484) by Ricetec, Texas (2001). This has opened up new paradigms in the protection of traditional knowledge, not only for India but also for the entire developing world.

As the first Chairman of SCIT of WIPO (Geneva), Mashelkar strongly advocated that traditional knowledge be treated at par with industrial property systems, which led to the creation of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Fought successfully in changing the International Patent Classification System to include the Indian traditional knowledge, which is a breakthrough for the entire developing world. In June 2006, the Cabinet took the decision to entrust the responsibility of providing access to TKDL for international patent offices to CSIR. As a member of the prestigious International IPR Commission set up by UK Government (2001) played a crucial role in making World Wide Academy(WWW) of WIPO, gave a new developing-world orientation to WWW.

As a vice-president of the prestigious WHO Commission on IPR, Innovation & Public Health (2004–06) played a critical role in giving a road map for affordable drugs for the poor.


In the year 2005, the government of India set up a Prof. Asis Dutta as members.

All the five members of the committee unanimously opined in their utility, whereas the Indian patent amendments meant that only new chemical entities satisfying certain criteria could be patented.

This report led to controversy, which was voiced by the Left Parties on Amendments to the Indian Patent Act, which had urged the government to bring in these changes, which were not part of the ordinance that was passed by the government.

The controversy got highlighted in the media, since some of the text in the report was reported, without attribution to the original source, especially that of Prof. Shamnaad Basheer. There was an accusation of plagiarism. This accusation was highlighted through two editorial pieces published simultaneously in the Times of India[12] and The Hindu.[13]

According to Prof. Shamnaad Basheer, this allegation was unfounded. As cited on his blog he wrote "It is unfortunate that my blog has been selectively quoted to support allegations that the Committee 'plagiarised' from my report. This is not correct, as amply borne out by the last sentence in the blog: "To be fair to the Committee, they did include the crux of my submission in an Annex to their Report." In other words, the Committee did include the key points in my submission as an Annexure, as they did with every other submission (about 24 in all) that was made to them. Merriam Webster defines ‘plagiarising’ as "presenting as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source." Those with the patience to read the entire report including the Annexures would have gathered that some of the Committee’s observations were borrowed from my report and not 'plagiarised'.

On 19 February 2007, Mashelkar withdrew his report from the government in a letter addressed to the

CPI-M and patent law experts raised the Mashelkar controversy in the Indian Parliament, demanding that the report be "trashed" and given the industry capture evident in his report, that the issues be referred to a joint standing committee.[16][17]

However, the Government of India did not accept this position and referred the report back to the technical expert group to re-examine and correct the inaccuracies.

However, subsequently, an article published in the Times of India claimed plagiarisation in the book co-authored by Shahid Ali Khan and Mashelkar, in that certain paras from the text from British IPR expert Graham Dutfield were quoted without attribution. Subsequently, Mashelkar, while admitting this unfortunate error reported that the attribution was correctly given with the first possible opportunity that arose with the publication of the Indian edition of the book in 2006.

Awards & recognition

Mashelkar has received over fifty awards and honorary doctorates and is a member of numerous scientific bodies and committees. The President of India honoured Mashelkar with Padmabhushan (2000), which are two of the highest civilian honours in recognition of his contribution to nation building.


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