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Dr Yusuf Zafar – cotton scientist – has been awarded the 'Scientist of the Year award 2012' .
Dr Yusuf Zafar – cotton scientist – has been awarded the 'Scientist of the Year award 2012' . The Faisalabad-based scientist played a key role in bringing together the world’s major cotton groups. – File photo

A Pakistan-based scientist has been honoured by the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), the body said in a statement released this week.

Dr Yusuf Zafar, who is the director general agriculture and biotechnology at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was declared ‘Scientist of the Year-2012’ for his pioneering work in the cotton biotechnology sector.

Zafar has over 110 scientific papers (published in national and international journals) to his name. According to ICAC, “in cotton virology his group covers nearly 90 per cent of the global published literature.”

The Faisalabad-based scientist played a key role in bringing together the world’s major cotton groups, including Australia, China, UK and USA, for the purpose of conducting joint research.

Heading the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Faisalabad, Zafar and his team have contributed helped produce nearly 100 M. Phil and 30 Ph. D Pakistan-based students, focussing on various aspects of research and development in cotton. He has, meanwhile, remained in the front line to establish Biosafety Protocols, Plant Breeder Rights, Intellectual Property Rights/Patents and ISO certification in Pakistan.

In 2001, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission awarded him Best Scientist of the Year Award. The President of Pakistan awarded him ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) in 2004, the highest recognition for a researcher.

In other honours, Zafar has also won the Rockefeller Foundation and UNESCO Research Awards on Agri-Biotechnology, and is member of the USDA Cochran Fellow on Agriculture Biotechnology.

Apart from leading the Faisalabad institute, he is on the Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology-ICGEB (Italy), FAO country focal person on agriculture biotechnology and member of the Cotton Policy Committee of the government.

The ‘Scientist of the year -2012’ award was announced by ICAC late Wednesday. ICAC is an intergovernmental body with 54 members and provides services to Common Funds for Commodity (CFC), an organisation of UNCTAD-UN family.

Applications for the award are invited each year by the Washington DC-based institute and the selection committee comprises five anonymous judges outside the ICAC Secretariat.