The CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) is one of the oldest National Laboratories under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). It started as the Central Laboratories for Scientific & Industrial Research (CLSIR) by the then princely State of Hyderabad in 1944. CSIR-IICT during its seventy year journey has made its mark as a dynamic, innovative and result oriented R&D organization. The clientele spans all comers of the globe. In India it is the reliable destination of chemical and biotech industries. The reputation that CSIR-IICT could establish amongst the industrial clients as a reliable R&D partner, can be largely attributed to its rich pool of scientists with expertise in broad ranging research areas and simple and effective business development strategies.
For a laboratory with Global presence, it had a humble beginning when the princely state of Hyderabad was planning to create a research Centre. A first step in the direction of creating applied research appears to have been taken by Hyderabad State when the Industrial Laboratory was set up by the then Government in 1920s which became the forerunner of CLSIR. Its work involved 'scientific help and advice, analytical services, and investigations and research on industrial problems. The areas of investigation on laboratory scale in 1940s, for example, included: synthesis of known drugs; organic acids from vegable wastes; denaturants for alcohol used as motor spirit; graphite and mica purification; fire-proof enamels and glass for bangles; and examination of fibers. Similar laboratories were later set up in some British provinces.
In 1940, the Imperial India constituted the Board of Scientific & Industrial Research (BSIR) to facilitate industrial research. On the suggestion of the Government of India, a BSIR was also established in Hyderabad in 1942. The CSIR came into existence in 1942 as an autonomous body registered under the Societies Act. With the creation of CSIR in New Delhi, the Government of India requested the British Government for expert advice on the organization of scientific research in India.
Accordingly, Professor AV Hill, Secretary of the Royal Society, London visited India in 1943 and interacted with officials concerned and identified Hyderabad as the location for establishing an Industrial research laboratory. Hyderabad being particularly rich in raw materials, especially vegetable oils, coal, various types of clays On the suggestion of the Government of India, a BSIR was also established in Hyderabad in 1942 and two years later CLSIR was created to carry out similar functions in Hyderabad State. By the Firman dated August 5,1944, the Nizam directed the Government to set up the CLSIR at Hyderabad and the appointment of Dr. Muzzaffaruddin Qureshi as its first Director.The Government Industrial Laboratory, Hyderabad, which had been functioning for over two decades, was merged with CLSIR. The Hyderabad BSIR too became a part of CLSIR. After Independence, the state of Hyderabad has merged with Independent India, and CLSIR started working closely with CSIR. A pioneering effort to promote research and provide assistance to small industries was made by the Hyderabad Government through the creation of and Industrial Trust Fund. Many of the large pilot plants set up by the CLSIR were financed by the Fund.
Dr. S Hussain Zaheer was appointed as Director of CLSIR on November 28,1948. On taking over the charge, Dr. Zaheer reoriented the Institute's research focus on Oils & Fats; Coal & Fuels; Heavy Chemicals and Fertilizers; Ceramics; Organic Chemistry, Pharmaceuticals and Drugs; Biochemistry; Physical Chemistry; Chemical Engineering and Operations Research.
CLSIR was formally taken over by the CSIR on April 13,1956 and was renamed the Regional Research Laboratory, Hyderabad. RRL-H has the distinction of becoming the first Regional Research Laboratory to be set up by CSIR. In 1950s through eighties, RRL-H assumed national importance as leading organization in Chemical Sciences and Technology in several areas like coal, oils & fats, paints ceramics, paper, drugs etc. Dr. Hussain Zaheer was appointed as Director General, CSIR in 1964 and Dr. GS Sidhu succeeded him as the Director of RRL-Hyderabad. A major event which brought about structural changes in the Laboratory was the establishment of semi-autonomous "Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)" on April 1,1977. The Biochemistry Division of RRL-H formed the nucleus of CCMB and Dr. PM Bhargava as its Head. After being at the helm of affairs for close to two decades as Director RRL, Dr. Sidhu was appointed as Director General CSIR on May 5,1981. Dr. G Thyagarajan took over as Director of RRL-H on February 2,1981. On the request of CSIR, Dr. Thyagarajan moved to CLRI, Madras as Director. Dr. AV Rama Rao was appointed as Director RRL-H on July 15, 1985. With a view to bring in cohesion to the R&D activities of RRL-H, the laboratory was reorganized into major divisions and supporting infrastructural groups to cater the emerging needs.
The Prime Minister in his capacity as the President of the CSIR, appointer a committee headed by Shri Abid Hussain in April 1986 to review the functions and structure of CSIR. The Committee submitted its Report on December 31,1986. One of the recommendations was to reorganize the RRLs to reflect the direction and orientation of the expertise and excellence developed by them. The RRL was rechristened as the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology with effect from April 1,1989. IICT celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1994. A monument erected to commemorate IICT's 50 years of fruitful existence was unveiled by the Governor of AP Shri Krishan Kant on August 6,1994. Shri P V Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister of India graced the Golden Jubilee Function of IICT and inaugurated the Golden Jubilee Block comprising Discovery Laboratory, Natural Products Laboratory and Catalysis Laboratory. Dr. KV Raghavan was appointed as Director of IICT on January 11,1996. Dr. Raghavan strengthened the chemical process development and design, reaction engineering groups of IICT. Dr. JS Yadav took over as Director of IICT on October 1,2003. CSIR-IICT celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in August 2004. During the early part of the new millennium, IICT had redrawn its vision with an aim to emerge as an innovative global R&D organization in the field of chemical sciences & technology. To this end, three National Centres viz. Lipid Research, Semiochemicals and Chemical Biology were created
CSIR in its bid to ensure better recognition and visibility, had decided to add the suffix 'CSIR' to all labs during 2010-11. Subsequently, IICT is now referred as CSIR-IICT. Dr. Ahmed Kamal took over as Acting Director after the retirement of Dr. J.S. Yadav in August 2012. In a major landmark appointment, Dr. M Lakshmi Kantam became the first woman Director of a CSIR lab in the entire seven decade long history of CSIR, when she took over as Director of CSIR-IICT on April 9, 2013. With the present focus on developing green processes relevant to the Industry, several technology transfers are in the pipeline. CSIR-IICT is celebrating the Seven Decade Service to the Nation in August 2014.
CSIR-IICT during its seventy year journey has made its mark as a dynamic, innovative and result oriented R&D organization. The clientele spans all comers of the globe. In India it is CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) is one of the oldest National Laboratories the reliable destination of chemical and biotech industries. The reputation that CSIR-IICT could establish amongst the industrial clients as a reliable R&D partner, can be largely attributed to its rich pool of scientists with expertise in broad ranging research areas and simple and effective business development strategies.