CSIR gets its first woman director general

Dr N Kalaiselvi: Senior electrochemical scientist Dr. Nallathamby Kalaiselvi recently became the first woman to be appointed Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Key Points:

  • Established in 1942, CSIR is a consortium of 38 research institutes across the country.
  • This is the first time in its history of 80 years that CSIR has appointed a woman Director-General.
  • As the Director General of CSIR, she will be the Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR).
  • She will hold the position for a period of two years.
  • She succeeds Shekhar Mande.
  • Mande had retired in April and since then Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary Department of Biotechnology had been given the additional charge of CSIR.

Key Information about N Kalaiselvi who has broken many glass ceilings in her illustrious 25-year-long career:

  • Kalaiselvi hails from Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.
  • Here, she did her schooling in Tamil medium which helped her prepare for understanding scientific concepts in college.
  • She completed her PhD in Chemistry and was working as a professor before joining CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI).

Research Work:

  • She has more than 125 research papers and six patents to her name.
  • She has more than 25 years of experience in research, her research focusing on electrochemical power systems.
  • She is known for her work in the field of lithium-ion batteries and is currently involved in the development of practically viable Sodium-ion/Lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors.


  • She has risen through CSIR ranks from starting her career in research as an entry-level scientist to becoming the Director General of CSIR.
  • This is not the first time that she is making history by being the first woman to head an institute.
  • She has broken the glass ceiling before in 2019 when she became the first woman to lead the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CSIR-CECRI).
  • She is currently the Director of Central Electrochemical Research Institute at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu.

Academic Laurels:

  • During her tenure from 1999 to 2019, she has won multiple laurels, fellowships including bagging the‘Young Scientist Seminar Award’ of CECRI thrice.
  • She was also awarded an Indian National Science Academy (INSA) Visiting fellowship in 1999.