Dr. Shailesh Nayak currently is the Director of the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, Chancellor of the TERI School of Advanced Studies, Delhi, Editor-inChief, Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing and Life Trustee, India International Centre, New Delhi. He was the Chair, Earth System Science Organisation (ESSO) and Secretary to the Government of India, for Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), between August 2008-2015. He provided leadership for the programs related to science of climate change, weather services, polar science, geoscience, ocean science and modelling, ocean survey, resources, and technology. His current research interest includes building strategy for blue economy, sustainable development and science diplomacy.
Dr. Nayak obtained Ph. D. degree in Geology from the M.S University of Baroda in 1980. He joined the Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 1978 as a scientist, and subsequently elevated as the Director of Marine and Water Resources. He was mainly responsible for conceptualising, 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. The generation of detailed information on the Indian coast has influenced the development of policy for zoning of coastal zone for regulating coastal activities and was closed involved in restructuring Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, Issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India.
Dr. Nayak was appointed as the Director, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, an autonomous institution under ESSO, in May 2006. 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 conceptualisation 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.
He is Member of the Governing Board of the Indian Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (In-Space), Foundation for Ecological Security, Anand, and National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management, Chennai. Dr. Nayak, Chair, Jury for the National Blue Flag Committee, Research Advisory Committee of ESSO-National Antarctic and Ocean Research Centre, Goa, ESSO- National Centre for Coastal Research, Chennai, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun.
Dr. Nayak is Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru, the National Academy of Sciences, India, Allahabad, the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), and Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics, Paris. He has been awarded honorary degree of Doctor of Science by the Andhra University in 2011, by the Assam University in 2013, and by the Amity University in 2015. Dr. Nayak is recipient of IGU - Hari Narain Lifetime Achievement Award in Geosciences-2013, the ISCA Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award 2012, the Bhaskara Award for 2009 by the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, Dehradun. Considering the impact of his research on the society, the Govt. of India has conferred him, the civilian honour ‘Padma Shri’ in the field of science and engineering in 2024.
Dr. Nayak is the President, Indian Geophysical Union, Hyderabad, and Indian Mangrove Society. Dr. Nayak has published about 190 papers in International and National journals and deliver about 200 invited talks in national and international fora.