GILGIT: A young professor from Gilgit-Baltistan has been selected for the UNESCO Green Chemistry of Life grant after he came up with an innovative idea in the field of pesticides.
Dr Muhammad Ismail, 32, is not only the first scientist from Pakistan, but also the first candidate from any developing country to be selected. It is a highly competitive grant given to only six scientists across the globe in 2016.
“I’m so happy,” Ismail told The Express Tribune on Wednesday. “It’s an honour for me, my institute, province and country.
Ismail belongs to G-B’s Hoper Valley in Nagar district. He heads the Karakoram International University (KIU)’s chemistry department.
Ismail proposed developing natural methods as an alternative to pesticides. It is well known that pesticides yield results, but at the cost of human health.
“My idea was novel as it linked chemistry with biology,” Ismail said. “It is a step forward in the world of science.”
League of his own
Ismail is one of the six scientists chosen this year for the grant which is offered to support research in the field of green chemistry under a joint programme with PhosAgro (Russia) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
Dr Ismail’s proposal was vetted and approved at UNESCO’s headquarters in May by an international jury. It included renowned members of the international scientific community and representatives of leading research and development centres from Africa, Europe, North America and South-East Asia.
The KIU scientist, who completed his PhD in 2010 under the supervision of Dr Atta Rahman, was ecstatic over the selection. It also gave the professor’s family and his institute much reason to celebrate.
“This is the first time a scientist from a [developing] country was selected for the award,” a statement quoted KIU VC Dr Asif Khan as saying. “It’s a great honour for us.”
The young scientist, who completed his post doctorate from UK in 2012, has two scientific publications to his credit. The articles, published by Royal Society of Chemistry, impacted factor 6 – a measurement rated highly by scientists.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2016.