IIT Madras faculty selected for Nikkei Asia Prize

Chennai, May 1 (IANS) Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) said on Friday that its faculty and Padma Shri awardee T. Pradeep has been chosen for the Nikkei Asia Prizes 2020 in the ‘Science and Technology' category.

The IITM professor has been selected for this honour in recognition of his pioneering work in nanotechnology-based water purification.

Pradeep is credited with developing nanotechnology-enabled water filters, which have helped deliver clean water at a cost of just 2 paise per litre in India.

In a statement issued here, IITM said more than one crore Indians have benefitted from the research undertaken by the group led by Pradeep, and Deepak Parekh, chair professor, Department of Chemistry at IITM.

The Nikkei Asia Prizes are conferred on individuals who have contributed to the region's sustainable development and for the creation of a better future in Asia.

They are awarded annually in three areas — Economic and Business Innovation, Science and Technology and Culture and Community.

“Pradeep has brought laurels to himself, his research team, the institute and the country. Apart from the excellent scientific research pursued by the group led by him, Pradeep is making a huge contribution in the very critical area of clean water. The institute is proud of the excellent work done by him and his team,” Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IITM, was quoted as saying in the statement.

The prize includes a cash component of 3 million yen and an award certificate and is scheduled to be awarded in Tokyo later this year. First presented in 1996, the Nikkei Asia Prizes has entered its 25th edition.

Thanking the institute for nominating him, Pradeep said, “My work is because of the intense devotion of my students, the environment we have at IIT Madras, my funding agencies and my country. It has been my dream to do something for my country.”

Pradeep and his team have developed affordable and safe drinking water solutions using nanomaterials, from bench scale science to commercial products, creating knowledge, technology and wealth for social good, simultaneously.

He has demonstrated that completely home-grown nanotechnology, from excellent science to relevant technology is possible in our institutions, with limited resources available from research grants, in the process transforming students to entrepreneurs.

To expand the reach of these technologies globally and to conduct additional research, multiple companies have been incubated, which secured venture funding, the IITM said.

Besides these activities, Pradeep is an outstanding researcher and has won many of the coveted recognitions of the country and abroad for contributions to science. The most recent one is The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Prize in chemistry for 2018.

He is an author of over 470 scientific papers and is an inventor of 110 patents or patent applications.

According to IITM, Pradeep's pesticide removal technology is estimated to have reached about 9 million people. Along with his associates, he has incubated five companies and three of them have production units. His arsenic removal technology, approved for national implementation, is delivering arsenic free water to about one million people every day.



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