Dr. Darshan Singh Brar Memorial Award

Dr. Darshan Singh Brar was an outstanding Geneticist and a Biotechnologist. He was a faculty member of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) from 1966 to 1987. While at PAU, he started the biotechnology research and teaching program and trained numerous students and young scientists. He motivated and supported hundreds of students to undertake  Ph.D. degrees in the most advanced laboratories within India and the world. He was a kind, humble, and generous person.

Dr. Brar was invited to join the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 1987 as a plant breeder and rose to the coveted position of Head of the Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology from 2007-2012. Dr. Brar, a dedicated teacher,  an outstanding scientist, spent a major part of his career working to broaden the gene pool of cultivated rice through interspecific hybridization. He identified and transferred to cultivated rice many novel genes for tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and yield-enhancing QTLs from an array of wild relatives. His work on understanding the patterns of alien introgression using molecular markers has led to a paradigm shift in the use of distant species in wide hybridization programs in crop improvement.

Dr. Brar was a fine blend of having an in-depth understanding of conventional plant breeding approaches and modern biotechnological tools.  He used these to introgress novel variability from wild rice, that resulted in the development of several breeding lines tolerant to many stresses such as bacterial blight, blast, brown planthopper, tungro virus, and iron toxicity. While some of the introgression lines were released as varieties directly but a large number of these were used extensively in rice breeding programs for varietal development. His scientific achievements contributed significantly to global food security. While at IRRI, he served as supervisor of several international students for MS and Ph.D. degrees and was always a sought-after teacher. Dr. Brar played a critical role in organizing several international conferences and symposia, wherein his major focus was to support young researchers from developing countries.

After superannuating from IRRI, Dr. Brar joined back his alma mater, PAU. He was appointed as an Honorary Adjunct Professor and continued his love of teaching and guiding young scientists. His untimely demise in 2020 is a great loss to his family, friends, and the scientific community. To perpetuate his legacy, his friends and family have established an Endowment Fund. Income from the endowment is used to establish an award in his name.

The Award

The award is known as Dr. Darshan Singh Brar Memorial Award. The award will be given annually to an Indian agricultural scientist, irrespective of age. It will carry a cash award of Rs 3.5 lakh, a citation, and a plaque. The awardee will be invited to PAU to receive the award and deliver a lecture on his research contributions.

Nomination and selection procedures

Nominations for the award should be sent on a prescribed nomination form (Attached).  Only the nominations received with supporting materials, including recommendation letters, will be considered. A committee composed of eminent scientists appointed by the Foundation's governing body will make the final choice. The recommendation of the selection committee will be final. The first award for the year 2021 will be given in March 2022.  

Please send the nomination online to:
<secretary@khushfoundation.org> on or before September 30, 2021.