DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARDEES OF 2020

 A) ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
Prof. Ajay K. Agrawal (1980 – B.E. – Mechanical Engineering) is Robert F. Barfield Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama (UA), USA. He is internationally recognized for his research on energy/combustion systems to reduce harmful effects of fossil and renewable fuels for sustainable energy utilization and its applications in gas turbines for power generation and aviation, industrial burners, and diesel engines. His research has received major funding from NASA, US Department of Energy, US Army, US Department of Education, National Science Foundation. In 2020, Dr. Agrawal received the 39th Burnum Distinguished Faculty award, the highest recognition at University of Alabama (UA), given to one faculty member across all disciplines to recognize excellence in research, scholarship, and teaching. In 2013, Dr. Agrawal received the 24th Blackmon-Moody outstanding professor award given once a year to a faculty member at UA to recognize singular, exceptional, or timely work in the form of research, product, program, or published material. Besides 300 technical papers and 3 patents, Dr. Agrawal is a co-author of the monogram “Gallery of Combustion and Fire.” He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Associate Editor of the ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. For more information, please click here.


Prof. Pankaj Agarwal (1982 – B.E. – Electronics & Communication Engineering) is the RJR Nabisco Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at Duke University. Prof. Agarwal has made important contributions to the field of computational geometry and shaped its agenda through his pioneering research. He is among a handful of theorists who have successfully forged bridges between theory and applications, and made contributions to a number of areas such as database systems, robotics, sensor networks, data mining, geographic information systems, computational molecular biology, and ecology. A hallmark of his theoretical research has been its connections to mathematics, in particular combinatorial geometry, proving optimal combinatorial bounds in the so-called theory of arrangements of geometric objects. These bounds are key to analyzing complex geometric algorithms because the runtimes of these algorithms depend on the size of these arrangements. This fundamental work has led to the development of many fast algorithms for applications ranging from motion planning in robotics to binary space partitions in computer graphics, and map labeling in geographic information systems. More recently, in the era of “big data”, Prof. Agarwal’s research has addressed the challenges of dealing with noisy, incomplete or imprecise data, which requires a rethinking of many of the fundamental assumptions of geometric algorithms. A Sloan Fellow, an ACM Fellow, and a National Young Investigator, Prof. Agarwal has authored four books and more than 375 research articles, and his work has been cited more than 25,000 times. He is a co-founder of the company SCALGO (https://scalgo.com/en-US/about), a software company whose mission is to bring cutting-edge big terrain data processing technology to the market. For more information, please click here.

 B) EXCELLENCE IN ENGINEERING INNOVATION
Mr. Raja Ram Singh Yadav (1975 – B.E. – Mechanical Engineering) has served the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Department of Atomic Energy, as Distinguished Scientist and Group Director. He played the leadership role in the design, development, construction, commissioning and deployment of the nuclear propulsion plant for India’s first nuclear submarine INS Arihant. Shri Yadav and the team under his leadership created national news when nuclear reactor onboard INS Arihant achieved the first criticality on August 10, 2013 and again in December 2014 when the submarine sailed on nuclear steam on its maiden voyage after extensive acceptance tests. Making of a propulsion plant for INS Arihant is a major national milestone, as it completes the third leg of the nuclear triad of the country. It makes India a member of a very small group of select countries having such a capability. Challenges in the design and construction of compact reactor systems suitable for mounting on a mobile platform having constraints of space, weight and severe duty conditions were addressed by many innovative features. Shri Yadav played a singular role in making the country self-reliant in critical material, fabrication technologies with totally indigenous resources and in Indian factories. Technologies developed were First-time-right. Some of these technologies include the design and development of Reactor Pressure Vessels, development of large size low alloy steel forging, development of fabrication technologies for special grades of steel including nickel and titanium-based alloys, design & development of compact heat exchangers and equipment, and special tooling with high end applications. Shri Yadav has also done the technical design of
an Indian Power Water Reactor (900 MWe), IPWR-900 MWe. Shri Yadav is a well known specialist on Materials, design, stress and fracture analysis, fabrication technology for high pressure, temperature equipment. Shri Yadav has contributed in regulatory reviews of Russian reactors at Kudankulam as a Member of the Advisory committee and convener of many specialist groups of AERB. He was Chairman of the National committee on safety clearances of compact reactor systems. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. For more information, please click here.

 C) MANAGERIAL EXCELLENCE
Mr. Prakash Kumar Singh (1979 – B.E. – Metallurgical Engineering) was Chairman (Dec 2015 – Jun 2018) of Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) - the largest steel making company in India and one of the seven Maharatna’s of the country’s Central Public Sector Enterprises. He joined SAIL in 1980 in Bokaro Steel plant, worked in the 4 Integrated Steel plants of SAIL (Bokaro Steel plant, Bhilai Steel Plant, Durgapur Steel plant and ISP Burnpur) in various capacities and reached to the highest level of Chairman. As Chairman SAIL, Mr. P K Singh brought about a transformation in the organisation through his leadership and an unprecedented communication exercise involving almost all of the 80,000 employees of the organisation. Under his leadership, SAIL’s net turnover grew from Rs. 38,000 Crores to Rs. 55,000 Crores from FY’16 to FY’18 registering a growth of 45% in two years, expanded market share of SAIL, from 13.5 percent to 15 percent over two years, increased operating profit margins from -6% to 10% level, and reduced manpower cost as percentage of total cost from 21% in FY’16 to 18% in FY’17 & 16% in FY’18. Mr. Singh is widely credited for turning around SAIL from a gigantic loss of Rs. 7000 crores to profits. He was also the Chairman of Steel Research Technology Mission of India (SRTMI) - a conglomerate of steel companies. He has also served as the Chairman of the International Coal Ventures Private Limited (ICVL). For more information, please click here.


Mr. R. Mukundan (1988 – B.E. – Electrical Engineering) is the CEO and Managing Director of Tata Chemicals Limited, which is known for the largest saltworks in Asia, the 3rd largest soda ash manufacturer and the 6th largest sodium bicarbonate manufacturer in the world. He joined Tata Administrative Service of Tata Group in 1990 and has worked with Indian Hotels Company, Tata Industries Limited and Tata AutoComp Systems Ltd. during his 30-years career. Since being appointed as MD & CEO of Tata Chemicals in 2008, he has led the transformation of the company from a commodity chemical company to a R&D led science-based solutions company. He has ensured that the balance sheet is strengthened while business is delivered both through growth in profitable businesses and seeding of new and restructuring of unviable businesses. As a result, Profit After Tax grew from Rs 477 Cr to Rs 1386 Cr, and Market Cap grew from Rs 4000 Cr to Rs 16000 Cr without diluting equity. The company has operations in India, USA, UK and Kenya and delivers solutions in Performance materials, Nutrition Sciences, Agri-sciences and Energy Sciences. The company has since built a world class R&D centre in Pune for Nano-technology and Biotechnology in addition to Chemistry Synthesis and Seed technology centre in Bangalore through its subsidiary Rallis India Ltd. Under the leadership of Mr. Mukundan, several verticals have launched innovative products and services. For example, (i) Performance material business has launched several nano-tech products including low cost water purifier Tata Swach, nano-Zinc
coating applications, (ii) Nutrition Science vertical has launched commercially innovative Prebiotic products aimed at Gut Health, (iii) AgriSciences vertical through Rallis serves the needs of Indian farmer with high quality crop care and seeds solutions, and (iv) Energy sciences vertical has set up a battery recycling business to recover key materials like Cobalt and Lithium even as it enters electrical energy storage solutions for both stationary and mobility applications. In addition to Tata Chemicals, he serves on the Boards of Tata companies including Rallis India Limited, Tata International Limited and Tata Medical & Diagnostics Limited. Mr. Mukundan is an ardent advocate of Sustainability and Inclusion and serves on Industry forums like CII, BCCI, EFI etc. He was the President of Employers Federation of India, Bombay Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Confederation of Indian Industry (WR). He currently Chairs Institute of Quality, National CSR Committee in CII and is a trustee with CDP Worldwide, UK and Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust. For more information, please click here.

 D) ENTREPRENEURIAL EXCELLENCE
Mr. Naveen Jain (1979 – B.E. – Industrial Engineering) is the founder and CEO of Viome inc, and previously the founder of Moon Express, World Innovation Institute, iNome, TalentWise, Intelius, and Infospace. Although his companies have enjoyed huge commercial successes, Mr. Jain remains a purpose-driven entrepreneur who believes that exponential thinking and technologies have the potential to solve many of humanity’s grand challenges. Thus, his latest venture Viome is on an audacious mission to prevent and reverse chronic diseases using precision nutrition as a medicine. Under Mr. Jain’s leadership, Viome has made pioneering advances in the fields of early stage cancer detection and helping hundreds of thousands of people with mental health, auto-immune diseases, digestive disorders and skin diseases. Mr. Jain is also the Vice Chair of the Singularity University where he is focused on educating and inspiring leaders to address humanity’s grand challenges through innovative technologies. He is the director of the X PRIZE Foundation where he recently awarded a million-dollar Women Safety XPRIZE at the United Nations. Mr. Jain is the recipient of numerous business, entrepreneurial and philanthropic awards that include “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, “Albert Einstein Technology Medal” for pioneers in technology, “Most admired Serial Entrepreneur” by Silicon India, “Humanitarian Innovation Award” at the United Nations and “Top 50 philanthropists of 2018” by Town & Country magazine. For more information, please click here.

 EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE TO THE SOCIETY
Prof. S. C. Handa (1966 - M.E. – Civil Engineering) is the founder of Roorkee School for the Deaf, now known as Anushruti Academy for the Deaf (AAD), which was established on the campus of University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee) in 1989. In addition to providing excellent quality education to deaf children, it was envisaged that existence of such a school on the campus will serve as a live workshop to motivate the students and faculty to undertake research in the area of disability in accordance with the suggestion of the Education Policy of 1986. The school was designed as a Community Based Model and Prof. Handa took upon himself the responsibility of fund raising and professional development of the school for the first 17 years (1989-2006). He developed many new innovative teaching methodologies and teaching aids as well as assistive devices for the deaf children using science and technology. Prof. Handa worked hard for the employment of deaf individuals. Further, he started the idea of making the IITR campus barrier free for disabled students. He was also involved in the formulation of Government schemes for differently abled and poor persons. Prof. Handa has received over a dozen National and International Awards, including the prestigious National Award of 1998 for being one of the Best Individuals serving the disabled. The award was conferred by the then Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. For more information, please click here.

SELECTION COMMITTEE
The Selection Committee for DAA – 2020 and DYAA - 2020 was comprised of the following:

1. Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee (Chairperson)
2. Prof. Surendra Prasad, former Director of IIT Delhi and DAA of IIT Kharagpur (BOG Nominee)
3. Prof. Devang Khakhar, former Director of IIT Bombay and DAA of IIT Delhi (BOG Nominee)
4. Prof. N.P. Padhy, 1992 Batch Institute Chair Professor (Director's Nominee)
5. Prof. Bhola R. Gurjar, Dean Of Resources & Alumni Affairs, IIT Roorkee