Hasmukh Shah Memorial Awards

The Hasmukh Shah Memorial Award for Ecological Studies is initiated by the Gujarat Ecology Society (GES) to honour the legacy of our Founder Chairman, Shri Hasmukh Shah. He had an abiding commitment to ecology and conservation and was the first Chairman of the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC); he was the Founder Chairman of the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) as well. Guided by his vision, commitment, and tenacity, GES has completed 110 projects covering diverse subjects related to ecological conservation. Shri Shah played a pivotal role in shaping GES throughout his life. It was through his deep concern for the well-being of disenfranchised communities of agro-farmers, fishers, and tribal's that GES has contributed to society far beyond the mandate of scientific research.

Hasmukh Shah had an extraordinary life and career in Government, Public Sector, and as a private citizen. He worked with three successive Prime Ministers –Shri Morarji Desai, Ch. Charan Singh, and finally, with Mrs. Indira Gandhi. He was also Chairman & Managing Director of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd before it was privatised. During his tenure, he persuaded Jack Welch of General Electric to create a JV between GE and IPCL for the development of engineering plastics and worked to propagate the application of plastics in agriculture through drip irrigation and canal lining across packaging film and textiles. During Shah’s tenure, Chemical Insight of the UK rated IPCL as the best petrochemical-producing company globally.

Hasmukh Shah used his post-retirement period to set up several institutions. Apart from founding Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC), Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE), Gujarat Ecology Society (GES), and Gujarat Nature Conservation Society (GNCS), he was the Founder Chairman of The Heritage Trust and the Founder Trustee of Darshak Itihas Nidhi (DIN). At DIN, he organised several multi-disciplinary international conferences on the Maritime History of Gujarat and sponsored scholarships and publications on the subject. He was also the Chairman of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). He was deeply involved with institutions of higher learning. He helmed many strategic directions while being on the Board of the National Institute of Design (NID), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Institute of Rural Management (IRMA), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DAIICT), MS University of Baroda, Surendranagar Education Society, Centre for Fuel Research, Central Pollution Control Board, Gujarat Industrial Research and Development Agency (GIRDA) and Lok Bharati.

He was also on the board as either a Trustee or Chairman of several NGOs and Foundations such as Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF), Akshar Trust, Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation, Charutar Arogya Mandal which provided medical education and care in rural areas of Gujarat and Shram Mandir that focused on leprosy treatment and rehabilitation.

The annual Hasmukh Shah Memorial Award will be conferred to a researcher and a professional/practitioner whose work has had a strong impact in the fields of environment, conservation, or development.

The Hasmukh Shah Memorial Award, instituted by GES and solely funded by Kachnar Trust, seeks to honour and reward individuals who have researched, developed, or implemented innovative environmental, technical, or social solutions. These solutions must be proven to alleviate prevailing sustainability or societal issues. Such a product, process, or mechanism must have produced ground-breaking results and have promising prospects. The award consists of a cash prize of two lakh rupees (Rs 2,00,000) for each of the two different categories for researchers and practitioners. There will also be two awards in each category of twenty-five thousand (Rs. 25000) for notable work done. There are a total of six (6) awards.

Category -1
For Researchers
Hasmukh Shah Award for Ecology and Environment Research:

Research Areas:

Researchers, working with a high degree of creativity, integrity, and excellence with the goal of providing sustainable solutions for various problems in ecology and the environment bringing societal impact. This award is to acknowledge the research contribution in the following areas of research performed in India –

• Coastal and Marine Ecology
• Biodiversity
• Ecological restoration
• Dynamic systems
• Extension activities


● Master's students or Ph.D. researchers from any discipline, who graduated or submitted a thesis in or before 31st March 2023 from any institute, university, or R&D lab, are eligible to apply.
● They must have published at least two papers in a peer-reviewed national or international journal as the first author.
● The upper age limit for the award is fixed at 40 years

Form of submission:

A brief proposal of the intended work in the format as given below written in simple general English language should be communicated to Director (Acting) (mail id:actdir@gesindia.org) in MS-word format. The abstract should contain the following -
1) Project title:
2) Background of the research highlighting the research issue and hypothesis:
3) Objectives of the project:
2) Methodology/ tools used:
3) Expected outcome:
4) Covering letter duly signed by Guide/Mentor and forwarded by the institution:
5) A brief one-page resume of the researcher:

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to make a 10 min presentation before the selection committee in subsequent round(s). The write-up should quantify the benefits of research to society and the environment.

Award: INR 2, 00,000 cash prize + certificate.

Two Notable Mentions in Research Category:

Two additional awards of Rs. 25,000 each will be given to researchers whose programs are promising, innovative, and worthy of note.

Award: INR 25,000 + certificate (Two awards)

Category -2:
For Practitioners

Impact Area:

The purpose of this award is to honour exceptional professionals who have significantly impacted their stakeholders in the following fields:
• Coastal and Marine Ecology
• Biodiversity
• Ecological restoration
• Dynamic systems
• Extension and Socio-economic activities

Practitioners who can show a significant and measurable impact will be considered. Furthermore, programs that are reproducible and scalable would be given more weight.


● Any individual working in any organization in the above areas in India will be eligible to apply. The person should be recognized as the key contributor to the impact created and must be a team lead or project leader for the program.
● They must have an experience of a minimum of 5 years in the specified area.

Form of submission:

A report on the impact created and the focus area of your work written in general English in the format given below in a Word file with a maximum of three pages must be submitted.
1) Project title:
2) Innovation idea:
3) Plan of action (give a graphical representation also):
4) Expected outcome and section of the society who will be benefited:
5) Nomination letter forwarded by the institution:

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to make a 10 min presentation before the selection committee in subsequent round(s). The write-up should quantify the impact of research on society and the environment.

Award: INR 2,00,000 cash prize + certificate.

Notable Mentions in Practioner Category:
Two additional awards of Rs. 25,000 each will be given to practitioners whose programs are promising, innovative, and worthy of note.

Award: INR 25,000 + certificate (Two awards)

Process and Timeline

Apr 30, 2023 – Final date for entries, applications and nominations
Jul 31, 2023 – Evaluation and shortlisting by the Jury
Oct 31, 2023 – Presentations by shortlisted awardees
Dec 2023 – Jury deliberation and announcement of awardees
Award will be conferred at Hasmukh Shah Memorial Lecture held in Dec 2023

The proposal should be communicated to email id: actdir@gesindia.org in MS-word format.

A panel of eminent jurors will be announced shortly.

Jurors for Hasmukh Shah Memorial Awards

Dr. Shailesh Nayak: Director of National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru and Chancellor of the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Delhi, Dr. Nayak is a highly accomplished professional with extensive experience in the field of Earth Sciences. he has made significant contributions to the field of climate science in India. A renowned Distinguished Scientist in the Ministry of Earth Sciences and President of the International Geological Congress during 2015-2017, he has made significant contributions to the field of climate science in India. He was the Chair, of the Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO) and Secretary to the Government of India, for the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), between August 2008-2015. In his outstanding career, he provided visionary leadership and spearheaded several programs related to climate change, weather services, polar science, ocean science and modeling, ocean survey, resources, and technology. Dr. Nayak is also renowned for his role in setting up the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean and developing other satellite-based products and services, including sea state for coastal zone management.
Honored with 12 national and international awards, he has published over 200 publications in international and national journals and 150 invited talks in national and international forums, positioning himself as one of the most respected thought leaders in the field of Earth Sciences.

Bahar Dutt: She is a conservation biologist and an accomplished environmental journalist who has received numerous accolades for her work. With over 12 national and international awards, including the prestigious green Oscar for her documentary "Last dance of Sarus," she has established herself as a prominent voice in the field of environmental reporting.
As a former Environment Editor with CNN-News18, she has covered a range of green issues and her investigative reporting has led to significant outcomes such as the closure of an illegal mine in Goa and a shopping mall constructed on a river bed.
In addition to her journalism, she is also a published author, having written two books on environmental topics. Her first book, "Green Wars," was published by Harper Collins in 2010, and her second book, "Rewilding in India," was published by Oxford University Press in 2019.

Girish G. Sohani: Principal Advisor and Trustee of BAIF Development Research Foundation, is a highly accomplished expert with a wealth of experience in natural resource management and rural livelihoods. He is currently serving as the Principal Advisor and Trustee for BAIF Development Research Foundation, where he has been involved since 2009, initially serving as President and Managing Trustee until 2021. Under his leadership, the organization has grown to work with over 5 million families in 12 states of India. An Independent Director for Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited and a Member of the Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission for the Government of Maharashtra, and also a Member of the Governing Council for the BSE Social Stock Exchange since 2023, he has been awarded several accolades at national and international forums.
Over the course of his career, he has served as an expert on various committees for state and central government bodies, as well as for national and international agencies. With over 40 years of experience, he is a highly respected figure in the field of rural development and has made a significant impact on the lives of many communities in India.
He has also published and presented over 25 papers at National and International conferences.