In a time when the world is facing unparalleled uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it has become increasingly apparent how integral the life sciences sector is to our society. The life sciences sector is at the forefront globally in combating the spread and developing vaccines and treatments to slow the pandemic. The aim of these awards is to help guide the minds of the future generation as they navigate their careers by pairing each student with an experienced professional from the sector. This scholarship and mentorship program would not have been possible without the generous partner Prof. Prof. Avinash Kaur Nagpal who got retired recently after a long association of more than 40 years with the university.In this regard Guru Nanak Dev University and Prof. Avinash Kaur Nagpal (Professor (Retd.), Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences) have signed an MOU for three prestigious academic awards for scientists and researchers working in the fields of plant and environmental sciences which was approved earlier by Syndicate of the University. Expressing her unending gratitude to the institute from which she pursued her higher education and has served as faculty member, Prof. Nagpal with all humility has pledged an endowment fund of Rs. 15 lacs to the University. The interest of this amount shall be used to felicitate three prestigious awards every year. The first award is Prof I S Grover Lectureship Award, which is instituted in the name of her guide and mentor with the aim to pay tribute to all her teachers. For this award, each year a reputed scientist shall be invited to the department, to share his/ her recent scientific contributions with students and faculty. This shall enable the students and faculty to interact with scientists of repute from various prestigious organizations in the country.
Other two awards are “Sardarni Darshan Kaur and Sardar Ram Singh Memorial Young Scientist Award in Plant Sciences” and “Sardarni Kuldip Kaur and Sardar Gurmukh Singh Memorial Young Scientist Award in Environmental Sciences”. Prof. Jaspal Singh Sandhu, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, expressed appreciation and gratitude towards generous contribution of Rs. 15 lac (Rs. 5 lac for each award) as endowment fund by Prof. Nagpal for institution of these awards. A score card has been prepared to shortlist the applications, and shortlisted candidates will be evaluated by external experts and best three candidates will be asked to defend their work to be judged by a committee. These awards will be given each year to the most efficient young researchers in the fields of Plant and Environmental sciences and would motivate the students to perform well in their area of expertise.Prof. Preet Mohinder Singh Bedi, Director University Industry Linkage Programme , “As the organization dedicated to growing university’s life sciences sector – we understand the importance of supporting the next generation of life sciences professionals. Our members share our passion and, through their support, we are pleased to once again deliver this important scholarship program to students across the state.”Prof S S Behl and Prof K S Kahlon , Registrar have expressed gratitude and said that these awards will promote advanced research in the Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences and Research Scholars will be motivated to do quality research. Other faculty members of the Department, Prof. Renu Bhardwaj, and Dr. Jatinder Kaur considered it as a wonderful step to encourage the young talent in the department.Prof. Nagpal said that Guru Nanak Dev University has played a significant role in her life and she owes a great deal of gratitude to the University and the Department of Botanical and Environmental Sciences. She also appreciates the efforts of University Industry Linkage Programme cell to give all technical and legal support in instituting these three Prestigious Awards.