Prof. Ranjana Aggarwal is the founder Director of CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR), a constituent Institute of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, under the aegis of Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. The new Institute was formally announced on 14 January 2021 by then Hon'ble Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan by merging the two very well recognized institutes namely CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR) and CSIR-National Institute of Science Technology and Development Studies (CSIR-NISTADS). Earlier Prof. Aggarwal held the position of Director of erstwhile CSIR-NISTADS (since June 2019) with the additional charge of Director of erstwhile CSIR-NISCAIR (since Nov. 2019).
Dr Aggarwal is on lien from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra where she served as Professor of Chemistry and Director, Women’s Studies Research Centre. She received her BSc, MSc and PhD degrees from Kurukshetra University and then after carrying out two years postdoctoral research on erythromycin biosynthesis at Cambridge University, UK she joined her Alma mater in 1995. Subsequently she worked in many well-known European Labs at University of Trieste, Italy, again at Cambridge University and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. She is actively collaborating with scientists of USA, UK, Spain and Ireland.
Her research interests consist of design and synthesis of azaheterocycles, involving green reagents, of therapeutic interest as anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and photodynamic agents, computational studies and 2D NMR spectroscopy. Her research contributions have been acknowledged in the form of awards and honours notably Commonwealth Fellowship by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, UK (2003), Dr.Basudev Banerji Memorial Award (2014) by Indian Chemical Society, Prof. S. S. Katiyar Endowment Award (2015) by Indian Science Congress and President, Chemical Sciences Section, Indian Science Congress (2020). As an accomplished academician she has been nominated as Member of National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education by MHRD, New Delhi. She is visitor's Nominee for Delhi University, Delhi, Central University Assam, Silchar and Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; and Chancellor's Nominee for many Haryana State Universities.
Besides chemistry, Prof. Aggarwal is actively engaged in addressing the issues concerning Women's equality and development and seek to find explanations and remedies for the unequal position of women in the society, patriarchal roots of society that leads to women's suppression. She was instrumental in policy formulation on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment at Workplace for several Higher Education Institutions. She actively participates in capacity building programs for women in Higher Education and skill development programs for rural women.
Under her mentorship, CSIR-NIScPR is undertaking evidence based STI Policy studies and Science Communication initiatives of national relevance. Some of the most relevant are: Compendium of CSIR technologies based on their assessment on Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, Livelihood creation for rural India through deployment of CSIR technologies by collaborating with UNNAT Bharat Abhiyan and Vijanana Bharti (VIBHA), Scientifically Validated Societal Traditional Knowledge (SVASTIK) to the society in multiple languages to the masses through social media, KISAN SABHA-App for supply chain and freight transportation management systems for Indian farmers.
The 6th India International Science Festival IISF 2020, which was inaugurated by Hon'ble Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi Ji and attended by over one lakh of eminent speakers, school students, researchers, teachers, national and international scientists. Technocrats, Farmers, Craftsmen, industrialists etc., was successfully organized under her leadership and the event got registered as Largest Attendance for a Virtual Science Conference by Guinness World Record.