Dr. Shailesh Nayak is currently Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies and Distinguished Scientist in the Ministry of Earth Sciences. He was the Chair, Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) and Secretary to the Government of India for Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), between August 2008-2015. He provided leadership for the programmes related to science of climate change, weather services, polar science, geoscience, ocean science and modeling, ocean survey, resources, and technology.
Dr. Nayak obtained Ph. D. degree in Geology 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 color, integrated coastal zone management, snow and glacier studies and water resources and developed potential fishing zone services.
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 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.
Dr Nayak is the Chair, National SCAR Committee, Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi, Research Advisory Committees of the CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, ESSO-National Antarctic and Ocean Research Centre, Goa and Defense Terrain Research Laboratory, Delhi. He has chaired an expert group and conceptualized to establish National GIS in the country and been member of many national committees related to earth science, coastal protection, mangrove, coral reef, and coastal zone management.
Dr. Nayak is Fellow of the 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, Assam University and Amity University. 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.Dr Nayak has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Award (India Geospatial Leadership Award) for outstanding contributions to the development and dissemination of Geospatial Technologies in India by the Geospatial Media and Communication, New Delhi in February 2019. Eleven students have obtained Ph. D. under his supervision.
He is the President of the Federation of Indian Geoscientists Associations, Indian Geophysical Union, Indian Society of Remote Sensing and Indian Mangrove Society. He was the President, International Geological Congress, the Chair, Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System, the Vice-Chair of the Inter-Governmental Coordinating Group on Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System; Indian Ocean–Global Ocean Observing System and Indian Ocean Observing System Resources Forum. Dr. Nayak was the President, ISPRS Technical Commission IV on ‘Geo-databases and Digital Mapping’ for the term 2004-08.
Dr. Nayak has published about 150 papers in peer-reviewed journalsand deliver about 190 invited talks in national and international fora.