BANGALORE: Prof Pradeep Mujumdar from the Department of Civil Engineering, IISc, has been awarded the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Medal by the European Geosciences Union. The award is ‘reserved for scientists who have undertaken research in developing countries, for the benefit of the people and society, and have achieved exceptional international standing’.
The main focus of Mujumdar’s work is to develop a conceptual framework to deal with complex water resource systems. Combining cutting edge research with application on the ground, his group has played a role in policy formulation and institutional capacity building.
His latest research has looked at assessing the impact of climate change on hydrology (water resource systems). Complex computational models that predict the effect of climate change usually do not assess the impact on hydrology; this is a loophole Prof Mujumdar has been attempting to fill.
His career has focused on bringing practical solutions to urgent problems related to managing India’s water resources. “Mujumdar experimented with application and adaptation of novel statistical and non-statistical methods in areas as diverse as floodplain planning, waste load allocation, reservoir control, wave routing, attribution of hydrological change and climate change adaptation, reflected in his prolific scientific career,” says the release.
“It is for the ability of marrying excellent scholarship with a direct impact on people’s lives, that I have nominated Pradeep Mujumdar for the Humbolt medal,” said Prof Wouter Buytaert from Imperial College, who nominated Mujumdar.
“For the last decade, Prof Mujumdar has been influencing the study of hydrology and water resources in India and the rest of Asia. Biological sciences struggle to find answers because of the sheer complexity of hydrological research, and analyse the water cycle.” With his engineering background, the scientist has effectively raised the bar for hydrological research in India.
“The medal, comes as a compelling motivation to those working in developing countries,” he said.
He also thanked his Indian and international collaborators, and students who worked in his group, for their contributions.