Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram is a polymer chemist, mentor and science manager of distinction. He served as the eighth Director of NCL, one of the largest publicly funded research and development laboratories devoted to chemical sciences (2002-10) and as CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow (2010-15) and J.C. Bose Fellow (2006-15) at National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL). Presently he is an INSA Senior Scientist and Honorary Professor at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India.
Dr. Sivaram has over forty years of experience in basic research, process / product R&D and S&T management, both, in industry and academia. He is widely recognized for his contributions to polymer science, technology development, institution building and management of innovation in publicly funded organizations. At NCL, Pune Dr. Sivaram built an impressive portfolio of polymer research activities, both, with Indian companies and global multinationals, making NCL a preferred destination for companies far and near to explore research collaboration through a partnership model. He also built a globally recognized research group in polymer science at NCL. As Director of NCL, Dr. Sivaram built several public – private partnerships with industry leading to process and product development, IP licensing and technology transfer. During his tenure, NCL witnessed all round growth in terms of research infrastructure, (scientific as well as physical facilities) creation of cross functional and interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence in the area of energy sciences, linking chemistry with biology, scientific computing and micro reactor engineering and induction of young scientists across all disciplines of interest into NCL.
He set up NCL innovations as a distinct resource center to drive innovation, created NCL Innovation Park as a technology incubation space and established a company, Venture Centre, to seed new startups and promote scientific entrepreneurship. More recently, he co-founded CSIR-Tech Private Limited, an entrepreneurial company to create value out of IP and technology from publicly funded research, contributed to its initial business plan and oversaw the first round of financing.
Dr Sivaram has been closely associated with the New Millennium Initiative in Technology Leadership for India, a unique public private partnership R&D programme of CSIR. He has led many programmes himself and been a part of the Steering and Monitoring Committee of several others. Currently, as National Coordinator, he manages the inter laboratory programme on Materials and Devices for Solar Energy Conversion (TAPSUN programme). This programme involves over one hundred and twenty scientists across 15 CSIR laboratories and twelve thematic research programmes.
Dr Sivaram was part of a high level three member committee constituted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India to prepare the Vision Document for the creation of a chain of new scientific educational institutions in India. Based on the recommendations, the Government of India established five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER), focused on integrated and borderless science education for both undergraduate and post graduate education. He was also the Project Director to establish one of the first such institutions, co-located with NCL, in Pune in the year 2005-06.
An alumnus of Madras Christian College (B.Sc., 1965) and IIT-Kanpur (M.Sc., 1967), he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry [Advisor: Professor H.C. Brown (Scientific Genealogy)] from Purdue University, W. Lafayette, Indiana, USA in 1971. After a brief stay as a Research Associate at the Institute of Polymer Science( mentor: Professor J.P.Kennedy), University of Akron, USA he joined the Research Centre of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd., at Vadodara, India and rose to the position of Deputy General Manager (R&D). In 1988, he joined NCL as Head of the Polymer Chemistry Division.
Dr Sivaram is a highly decorated scientist with numerous awards to his credit. He is a recipient of the Vishwakarma Medal (INSA), Silver Medal of the Chemical Research Society of India, Millennium Medal of the Indian Science Congress Association, Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT, Kanpur, Professor S.R. Palit Memorial Award of the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, K.G. Naik Gold Medal of M.S. University, Baroda, FICCI Award in Physical Sciences, Om Prakash Bhasin Award, Goyal prize in Applied Sciences; Distinguished Material Scientist of the Year Award, 2011 bestowed by Materials Research Society of India and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Indian Chemical Society, 2015.
He is an elected Fellow of all the learned academies of science and engineering in India, namely, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad and Indian National Academy of Engineering, New Delhi. He is also an elected Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Trieste, Italy (TWAS), Fellow of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and Royal Society of Chemistry, UK. He is an honorary Fellow of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers.
The President of India conferred the coveted civilian honor, Padma Shri, on Dr. Sivaram in 2006.
Dr. Sivaram was awarded the Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by Purdue University, USA in 2010 for his exceptional attainment and merit.
He has lectured widely around the world and has been Visiting Professor at the University of Bordeaux, France, Free University of Berlin, Germany and H.A. Morton Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science at the University of Akron, Ohio, USA
He has mentored the PhD thesis of 36 graduate students and over a dozen post-doctoral fellows. He has to his credit over 210 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals and is cited as an inventor in 49 granted European and US as well as 52 Indian patents. Several of his patents have been licensed to companies worldwide. He has edited two books, authored one book and serves on the Editorial Board of several National and International journals in chemistry and polymer science.
Dr Sivaram is a much sought after consultant and advisor for both Indian and global companies as well as international bodies such as World Bank and other publicly funded R&D institutions in the area of innovation, linking S&T to business strategy as well as to the national innovation systems.
Dr. Sivaram serves as the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Vyome Biosciences Ltd., New Delhi and a Member of the Scientific Advisory Council of IOC R&D, Faridabad, Apollo Tyres, Gurgaon, HLL Life Care Ltd, Thiruvananthapuram and Asian Paints Ltd, Mumbai. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Asian Paints India Limited, Mumbai, Apcotex Industries Limited, Taloja, GMM Pfaudler Limited, Anand, Deepak Nitrite Limited, Vadodara and Supreme Petrochemicals Limited, Mumbai. He was the founder-Chairman of Entrepreneurship Development Center, Pune a "not for profit" Company promoted by CSIR-NCL to drive innovation and create wealth out of cutting edge science and technology.