Biocon chairperson and managing director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw was inducted among the foreign members of US-based National Academy of Engineering yesterday. At the Academy’s annual meeting at Washington DC, Shaw was recognised for her work in developing affordable biopharmaceuticals and the biotechnology industry in India. Considered among the highest professional distinction for engineers, membership to the Academy honours those who have made outstanding contributions in areas of engineering research, practice, or education, and have pioneered new fields of technology.
The list of new members came out in February this year. At the time, Shaw had said, “This is a huge honour. I am humbled to be elected to an institution that provides the leadership and expertise for numerous projects focused on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. Science and Technology are fundamental to solving some of the biggest challenges facing the world today and the NAE is playing a pivotal role in encouraging the kind of research and innovation that can make a global impact by pushing the boundaries of science and engineering.””
Garnering applause Former director general of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Raghunath Mashelkar took to twitter congratulating her for being the first Indian woman to be listed as foreign member of the academy in 55 years.
2019: year of pride for India@kiranshaw— Raghunath Mashelkar (@rameshmashelkar) October 6, 2019
FIRST INDIAN WOMAN Foreign Member of NAE in 55 yrs
FIRST INDIAN WOMAN Fellow of Royal Society in 369 yrs
FIRST INDIAN WOMAN President of Indian National Science Academy in 88 years https://t.co/Yaahf1ndqH
In the tweet, Raghunath stated that 2019 is a proud year for the country, highlighting two other women’s achievements as well. He honoured biologist Gagandeep Kang, the first woman fellow of Royal Society in 369 years, and scientist Chandrima Shaha, who earlier made headlines on becoming the first woman President of Indian National Science Academy since its inception.
Gangadeep, who is also the Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute in Faridabad, earlier developed Rotavac, a vaccine for rotavirus infections. This development paved her way to the fellowship coveted by eminent researchers.
Shaw has also given a shout out to the National Academy of Medical Sciences, retweeting a comment that mentioned doctor Soumya Swaminathan who was appointed as the Deputy Director General of Programmes at the World Health Organization in 2017.
Last year, the leading entrepreneur in pharmaceuticals was ranked No 1 on ‘The Medicine Maker Power List’. Board member at the Indian School of Business (ISB), IIM-B, and Infosys, Shaw is the recipient of numerous awards in India and abroad. In 1989, she was awarded Padma Shri, and Padma Bhushan in 2005.
TIME magazine named Shaw amongst 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, while Fortune named her one of the 25 most powerful women in Asia Pacific. Foreign Policy magazine counts Shaw among the 100 Leading Global Thinkers. The only Indian on Forbes’ list of self-made women billionaires, Shaw was recognised as a ‘Technology Pioneer’ by the World Economic Forum in 2017.
Shaw is also the recipient of many honorary degrees from universities around the world. Three years ago, the French government honoured Kiran with Chevalier de lÓrde National de la Legion d’Honneur – the highest distinction offered in France.
One of the most prominent philanthropists in the country, Shaw has also pledged to give the majority of her wealth to philanthropic work, as part of the Giving Pledge initiative started by Bill and Melinda Gates to encourage billionaires to donate for charity.