This is the most prestigious among all the awards given by DBT

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India has selected Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH) for the highly prestigious “TATA INNOVATION FELLOWSHIP”. This is a highly competitive scheme, maximum of five per year, instituted by the DBT to recognize and reward scientists with outstanding track record in biological sciences and a deep commitment to find innovative solutions to major problems in health care, agriculture and other areas related to life sciences and biotechnology. The objective of introducing this scheme by DBT was to reward interdisciplinary work with major emphasis on innovation and translational research with a potential towards commercialization.

Prof. Appa Rao is a senior faculty member in the Department of Plant Sciences known for his outstanding contributions in the area of plant-microbe interactions in general and plant disease control using modern molecular approaches in particular. This recognition from the DBT is in recognition of his innovative research contributions that have a potential to develop methods for plant immunity against infectious diseases. Prof. Appa Rao was earlier elected as fellow of three prestigious science academies of the country including the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad and National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi and more recently The Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. He was conferred with Prof. Rangaswami award of the Association of Microbiologists of India.

The TATA INNOVATION fellowship is open to Indian Nationals who are below the age of 55 years, holding a regular permanent position and must have outstanding contributions and publications in the specific area. The fellow should provide evidence of outstanding track record and a deep commitment to find innovative solutions to major problems in health care, agriculture and other areas related to life sciences and biotechnology.

As an awardee of TATA INNOVATION FELLOWSHIP, Prof. Appa Rao will receive a fellowship of Rs. 25,000/- per month in addition to regular salary from University of Hyderabad. In addition, Prof. Appa Rao would also receive a contingency grant of Rs. 6.00 lakh per annum for meeting the expenses on consumables, equipment, international and domestic travel, manpower and other contingent expenditure.

Incidentally, Prof. Appa Rao hails from a farmer’s family and has engaged in novel research approaches for crop protection. In this endaevour Prof. Appa Rao’s lab was supported uninterruptedly in the past 15 years by the DBT. He has two ongoing projects from DBT and one project that is slated for commercialization (in collaboration with BrioBiotech laboratories, Hyderabad) has been approved under BIRAC programme. Prof. Appa Rao’s lab is also supported by the European Union under Framework Programme 7. At present, 15 research students, including post doctoral fellows, are working with him to achieve the objectives.

The UoH Herald congratulates Prof. Appa Rao and it is a matter of pride that senior faculty members like Prof. Appa Rao have brought laurels to this University with their outstanding research contributions.