DES MOINES, IOWA, October 18, 2012 - A young Indian social scientist whose research on groundwater resources in agriculture led to major policy changes benefiting thousands of farmers in West Bengal was presented the “Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation” at the newly renovated World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Dr. Aditi Mukherji, the first recipient of the award, is a senior researcher at the International Water Management Institute’s New Delhi office. She  was presented with the $10,000 award yesterday evening in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of this year’s World Food Prize international symposium.

The Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, Endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation recognizes exceptional, science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under 40. The individual must clearly demonstrate intellectual courage, stamina, and determination in the fight to eliminate global hunger and poverty and must emulate the scientific innovation and dedication demonstrated by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug.

“Dr. Mukherji has demonstrated qualities that emulate Dr. Borlaug’s ingenuity and perseverance in transferring his scientific breakthroughs to farmers and hungry people around the world,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. “Like Dr. Borlaug, she has shown persistence, innovation, effective communication, contribution to science, and application of that science for policy change to improve lives and livelihoods.”

 “Access to reliable, affordable and timely irrigation are very powerful tools of poverty alleviation,” Dr. Mukherji said. “What truly inspires me is the impact that one’s research can make on the lives of the poor by providing more food on their table – something that Dr. Borlaug showed us years ago through his pioneering work in Mexico, India and elsewhere. He is my ultimate role model.”

Read more about Dr. Mukherji’s work here.