ICIMOD staff receives India’s highest honor for scientist


Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director Programme Operations, of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), was elected a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy at its general assembly on 4 October 2013. This is the highest honor for a scientist in India. 

Over the past 30 years Dr Sharma has relentlessly pioneered research and development related to mountain ecology. His outstanding contributions are in the field of ecology such as mountain ecosystem studies and ecosystem management; participatory research on natural resource management and protected areas; appropriate technology development; capacity building of communities on farm productivity and sustainable management;  transboundary biodiversity landscape development; biodiversity conservation and ecotourism; mountain farming systems specializing on linkages such as agroforestry, forests, and agriculture; biogeochemical cycling in ecosystems with a special thrust on nitrogen fixation, phosphorus solubilisation, and biological maintenance of soil fertility;  watershed management including land-use/cover change, hydro-ecological linkages, and carbon dynamics;  and climate change impact assessments and adaptations.

Born in 1961, Dr Sharma is the son of Mr Indra Prasad Sharma and Mrs Hem Kumari Sharma of St. Mary’s Hill in Kurseong. He pursued his schooling from St. Alphonsus School in Kurseong, Pre-University from St. Joseph’s College in Darjeeling, and BSc (Honors), MSc (Botany), and PhD (Ecology) from the Banaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh.

Dr Sharma has received many national and international awards such as the Young Scientist Award of the Indian National Science Academy in 1988; Eminent Scientist Award from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, in 1995; and Honorable Mention Paper Award from the Soil and Water Conservation Society, USA, in 1999. He was elected Fellow of the National Institute of Ecology (FNIE), New Delhi, India, in 1994 and Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (FNASc), India, in 1999. 

Dr Sharma was the founder Scientist In-charge of the Sikkim Center of the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development. Dr Sharma has been a member of high powered committees in India and now represents the institution in many top bodies globally including the ‘Mountain Partnership’ whose Secretariat is at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome; UN Inter Governmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Bonn, Germany; UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada; and Swiss National Science Foundation in Bern of Switzerland.

Dr Sharma has more than 160 publications to his name, including 80 papers published in 42 different peer-reviewed international journals. He was the chief editor of the Journal of Hill Research published in Sikkim from 1992 to 1996 and was the regional editor for Asia of Mountain Research and Development between 2002 and 2010, and now serves on the international editorial board of this journal. He has supervised seven PhD theses on ecology, primarily dealing with natural resource management of the eastern Himalayas.

Congratulating Dr Sharma, Director General of ICIMOD Dr David Molden said: “Eklabya received this recognition for his scientific contribution carried out in India and also on the works done at ICIMOD. We are proud to have Eklabya as a staff and member in the senior management.”