Office of Development and Alumni Affairs

Mrs Urmila Agrawal Distinguished Visiting Chair Professorship

Mrs Urmila Agrawal Distinguished Visiting Chair Professorship was established in 2021, with an endowment from Prof Rakesh Agrawal, President and Founder of the Data Insights Laboratories as well as the President of the Professor Ram Kumar Memorial Foundation, in memory of his mother. The Chair will be awarded to distinguished women scholars conducting frontier research in science and engineering.

Nomination Procedure

  • The Professorship will be an Institute-level appointment with a specially-constituted committee chaired by the Convener of the Divisional Deans and having the other Divisional Deans as members.
  • Nominations will be received from the Departments and Centres within any of the Divisions of the Indian Institute of Science. Only women are eligible for nomination.
  • There will be only one appointment per academic year. The same scholar can be appointed at most twice.
  • The duration of the visit will be 4 to 10 weeks. This could be spread over two trips in an academic year.


  • World-class collaborative research on a topic of mutual interest leading to high impact.
  • Seminars/compact course (open to everyone in IISc and local institutions).
  • An Institute-level lecture on a cutting-edge topic.
  • Mentoring of one or more IISc faculty members and inspiration to motivated students.

About Mrs Urmila Agrawal

Mrs Urmila Agrawal was born on May 15, 1933. She was the wife of Prof Ram Kumar and mother of Drs Rakesh and Rajeev Agrawal. She championed education, particularly women’s education, throughout her life. She often said – “Value Saraswati (Hindu Goddess of Knowledge) over Lakshmi (Hindu Goddess of Wealth)”.

About Dr. Rakesh Agrawal

Prof. Rakesh Agrawal is the President and Founder of the Data Insights Laboratories, San Jose, USA. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, both USA and India, a Fellow of ACM, and a Fellow of IEEE. He has been both an IBM Fellow and a Microsoft Fellow. He has served as a distinguished professor internationally (EPFL-Switzerland, Kyoto University, IISc-Bangalore, IIT-Bombay).  He has published 200+ highly influential papers, including the 1st and 2nd highest cited in databases and data mining. They have been cited 130,000+ times with 35+ of them receiving 500+ citations and 3 receiving 8000+ citations.  His papers have received six test-of-time awards from five conferences: SIGMOD (twice), VLDB, ICDE, EDBT, WSD. These awards recognize papers published ten years back that had the most influence in the field and industry. He has received the Innovation Awards given to the topmost researchers from two ACM-SIGs: SIGKDD and SIGMOD. Scientific American selected him in its inaugural list of 50 top scientists and technologists in 2003. He has been granted 88 patents.

IBM’s Intelligent Miner grew straight out of Rakesh’s data mining research. IBM’s introduction of Intelligent Miner created a new category of software and services. Several database companies (e.g., SQL Server, Oracle, SAP) and data analytics firms (e.g., SAS, SPSS, WEKA) incorporated functionalities inspired by Rakesh’s research. He is fondly referred to as the father of data mining because of this pioneering work. His other research has been incorporated in several other IBM products (e.g., OLAP Server, Websphere, Flowmark) and services (e.g., Data governance, Compliance monitoring). While at Microsoft, he co-led the development of Bing Commerce Search. His research was also incorporated in the Bing Web Search (e.g., ranking features, automatic generation of training data).

Rakesh was a founding director of SIGKDD and has held leadership positions in leading professional organizations (SIGMOD, VLDB, ICDE, CIKM, WSDM, EDM). He has served as General, Program and Industry Chair in international conferences (e.g., EDM2023, VLDB2018, CIKM2017, COSN2015, WWW2014), Journal Editor (e.g., TKDD, TODS, TOIT, TKDE, TC, TPDS, VLDBJ), and in Advisory Boards (e.g., UW-Madison, ECNU-Shanghai, IIT-Roorkee, SNU-Seoul).

Rakesh has played key roles in projects of tremendous societal benefits (e.g., 2005 study on Improving Education System for the President of India, 2006 NRC study of Voter Registration Databases, 2009 NRC study of S&T strategies of six countries). Rakesh applied his technology for enriching textbooks to the NCERT books used by millions in India and provided the results to NCERT to enable the authors to incorporate the improvements in future editions.

2023–24 Awardee: Prof Emina Soljanin

BalkanCom 2023 | Keynotes

Dr Emina Soljanin has been a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering since January 2016. Before moving to Rutgers, she was a (Distinguished) Member of Technical Staff for 21 years in various incarnations of the Mathematical Sciences Research Center of Bell Labs. Her interests and expertise are broad, currently ranging from distributed computing to quantum information science. She is an IEEE Fellow, an outstanding alumnus of the Texas A&M School of Engineering, the 2011 Padovani Lecturer, a 2016/17 Distinguished Lecturer, and the 2019 President for the IEEE Information Theory Society.

More details can be found here:


 2022–23 Awardee:                                             Dr Graça Raposo-Benedetti







Dr Graça Raposo-Benedetti received her Ph.D. in Immunology and Cell Biology from the Université Paris VII in 1989. From 1990–1995, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Immunology Center, Marseille, France and in the Department of Cell Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

She is a team leader in the Department of Cell Biology and Cancer at the Institut Curie in Paris, France and also the Director of the Training Unit there.

Her distinctions include the CNRS Silver Medal, Special Achievement Award of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles and the Miller Professorship Award, Berkeley University. She is a recipient of the Descartes Huygens Prize awarded by the Royal Dutch Academy and French Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the Association for Cancer Research, EMBO and Grand Prix Raymond Castaing French Society for Microscopies.

More details can be found here: