A distinguished scientist in earth sciences with about 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals, Shailesh Nayak has provided leadership for the programs related to science of climate change, weather services, polar science, ocean science and modelling, ocean survey, resources and technology. He was the Chair, Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) and Secretary to the Government of India for Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), (2008-2015). He chaired an expert group and helped to establish a national GIS in the country. He was also the chairman of Earth Commission in India. He served as the interim chairman of ISRO (2014-2015). He has also served as director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, INCOIS, Hyderabad, India, an autonomous institution under ESSO (2006-2008). At ESSO-INCOIS, he set up a state-of-the-art early warning system for tsunami and storm surges in the Indian Ocean. He was responsible for the conceptualization and development of Marine GIS. He made outstanding contributions in improving advisory services related to potential fishing zones, ocean state forecast, and Indian Argo project. Shailesh Nayak obtained his Doctorate in Geosciences from the M.S University of Baroda in 1980. He joined the Space Applications Centre, (ISRO) in 1978 as a scientist, and subsequently elevated as the Director of Marine and Water Resources. He was mainly responsible for conceptualizing, formulating and executing many national level projects related to application of satellite data on ocean colour, integrated coastal zone management, snow and glacier studies and water resources and developed potential fishing zone services.
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