The Gopalan Oration Award was instituted in the year 1974 by the Nutrition Society of India in honour of its Founder-President, Dr. C. Gopalan, who was the guiding force behind the Society since its inception till recently. In his capacity as the Founder-President and as a permanent Executive Committee Member, Dr. Gopalan has nurtured the Society and has built it up to its present stature. The Society, as it is today, bears testimony to his genius as an architect and father of nutrition sciences in India.
Dr. Gopalan was a scientist of international eminence and has spearheaded the cause of nutrition science for over four decades. His contribution towards the betterment of nutrition of population has benefited not only India but also other developing countries. It has helped to strengthen and inspire movements for the eradication of under-nutrition among the underprivileged in many Third World countries.
Dr. Gopalan had a brilliant academic career at the Madras Medical College and obtained a Doctoral degree in Medicine. During his illustrious career, Dr. Gopalan has held several prestigious positions with distinction. He was the first Asian to be elected the President of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences and the first Chairman of the Regional Advisory Committee on Medical Research for South-East Asia of WHO. He was on several World Health Organisation Expert Panels for many years and was the Chairman of the Technical Session of the World Health Assembly. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He was also the first Nuffield Foundation Fellow from India in Medical Research Council of United Kingdom and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow.
The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, India, was nurtured by Dr. Gopalan with rare dedication as its Director from 1960 to 1974. Dr. Gopalan was also responsible for forging a fraternity of Asian nutrition scientists and formation of the Federation of Asian Nutrition Societies (FANS). He was an able administrator and a visionary. During his tenure, as the Director of NIN and later as the Director-General of ICMR, the country as a whole focussed its attention on nutritional and medical problems of public health importance.Dr. Gopalan has also created the Nutrition Foundation of India.Some of the prestigious national and international honours bestowed on him include Dr. B.C. Roy National Award (1974), Dhanvanthri Award (1978), WHO Health for All Medal (1988), Sir C.V. Raman Gold Medal of the Indian National Science Academy (1988), International Union of Nutrition Sciences Award (1989), R.D. Birla Award (1990) and Fellow of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences (1993); ICMR – NIN centenary award (2018); Living Legend Awards from IUNS (2003) and FANS (2019). He was also conferred the prestigious civilian awards Padma Shri in 1970& Padma Bhushan in 2003 by the Government of India.
Dr.Gopalan passed away after a 100 fruitful years of life on 3rd October, 2019.
The Gopalan Oration Award is given every year to an outstanding person from any part of the world, who is an expert of high calibre in the broad field of food and nutrition, including agriculture, economics, sociology, public health administration etc.The GOPALAN ORATION TRUST BOARD will invite the speaker to deliver the Oration every year.