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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Queen’s Birthday honour for distinguished academic

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Monash University’s Prof Sridhar is an Officer (AO) in the general division of the Order of Australia , reports SUJITH KRISHNAN

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It’s not every day that we come across an inspirational luminary such as Prof Tam Sridhar who has surpassed expectations in the field of chemical engineering. Prof Sridhar has won accolades from all quarters ever since he made his foray in this challenging, yet dynamic field of engineering, which he has studded with achievements beyond compare. His exemplary academic journey is not just astonishing, but is also an indication of his brilliance and determination to strive for excellence.


Adding to this impressive list of accolades is the Order of Australia (AO), instituted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1975 as “an honour for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service”. Prof Sridhar was awarded the medal for his contribution to society and science in chemical engineering. With becoming modesty, he acknowledges the award, saying, “I feel privileged to receive this honour”.


With a rich background in chemical engineering, Prof Sridhar arrived in Australia in 1974 to take up his PhD programme at the Monash University on a fellowship, on completion of which he took up a senior teaching fellowship position at the same university for two years. Despite moving away from Australia for a short period to work as Assistant Professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo , USA , Prof Sridhar was requested to return in 1982 to be employed as a senior lecturer in Monash University . After a successful period of five years in this position, he was then promoted to the elite rank of Reader. In 1992, he was appointed to the Chair of Chemical Engineering and remained Head for the next 11 years. In 2003, he was appointed as the Dean of Engineering, a position he currently holds.


Apart from academic excellence, Prof Sridhar has also garnered global recognition in the realm of polymers. Currently, he is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering, the Australian Academy of Science and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (UK). He was conferred as an Honorary Fellow and awarded the GP Kane Award by the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers. He was also awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and science, and the ESSO Energy Award for his outstanding contribution to chemical engineering.


In 2003, Prof Sridhar was recognized as one of four Sir John Monash Distinguished Professors and in 2011, he was appointed to the concurrent role of Vice President ( China and India initiatives). Moreover, he has an outstanding record of research with over 140 publications and has worked on nearly 50 competitive research grants, having also supervised more than 20 PhD candidates.


With a strong desire to enhance his contribution in academia, Prof Sridhar played a pivotal role in the establishment of the IITB-Monash Research Academy in Mumbai, a non-profit joint venture between IIT Mumbai and Monash University in 2006. Students from this academy are entitled to spend a year in Australia and are also eligible to receive dual PhD degrees from the two reputed institutions. The academy carries out research in disciplines such as Engineering, Medicine, and Physical and Biological Sciences. More recently, he was also the leading light in the establishment of the Joint Graduate School for Monash University in China .


A family man to the core, Prof Sridhar enjoys being in the company of his near and dear ones the most, and says all his professional achievements pale in comparison with the happiness he acquires by just being with them. Truly an inspirational gentleman!

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