Othmer Gold Medal

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. (c) Biocon Limited

2014 Medalist: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon, India’s leading biotechnology enterprise, received the 2014 Othmer Gold Medal at Heritage Day, May 15, 2014.

Mazumdar-Shaw is a pioneer of the biotechnology industry in India. It is that pioneering spirit that led her to become the first woman brewmaster in India, and she then leveraged her knowledge of fermentation science to build Biocon, India’s first biopharma company. Today Biocon delivers world-class therapeutics to patients around the globe, is India’s largest producer of insulin, and has pioneered the world’s only Pichia-based recombinant human insulin, which is now available in over 40 countries.

Named among Time’s 100 most influential people in the world and Forbes’s 100 most powerful women in 2010, Mazumdar-Shaw has made affordable innovation the foundation of her business model. In 2012 the Economic Times placed her second in India Inc.’s “Top 10 Most Powerful Women CEOs,” and in 2006 Nature Biotechnology voted her the most influential bio-businessperson outside Europe and the United States. Her vision and work for biotechnology have drawn global recognition both for Indian industry and Biocon.

In addition to her formal qualifications as a brewmaster from Ballarat University, Australia, she holds honorary degrees from several renowned international universities, including Trinity College, Dublin; University of Abertay, Dundee; University of Glasgow; and Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Mazumdar-Shaw has also received a number of prestigious awards, including the Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth, the Express Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit Award for Dynamic Entrepreneur, the 2004 Economic Times Businesswoman of the Year award, the Veuve Clicquot Initiative for Economic Development for Asia award, Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Life Sciences and Healthcare, the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer award, and the Indian Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Her most cherished awards are two Indian Civilian awards: the Padma Shri in 1989 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005, presented to her by the president of India for her innovative efforts in industrial biotechnology. She is also the honorary consul of Ireland in Bangalore, India.

About the Othmer Gold Medal

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) established the Othmer Gold Medal in 1997 to honor outstanding individuals who have made multifaceted contributions to our chemical and scientific heritage through outstanding activity in such areas as innovation, entrepreneurship, research, education, public understanding, legislation, or philanthropy.

The medal is presented annually and cosponsored by CHF and four affiliated organizations: the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), The Chemists’ Club, and the Société de Chimie Industrielle (American Section). The medal commemorates Donald Othmer (1904–1995), noted researcher, consultant, editor, engineer, inventor, philanthropist, professor, and coeditor of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology.

CHF gratefully acknowledges John Wiley & Sons, Inc., for donating a set of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology each year to the institution chosen by the Othmer Gold Medal recipient.

About the Sponsors

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific organization. The society was established in 1876 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1937 to encourage in the broadest and most liberal manner the advancement of chemistry in all its branches

The American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) is a professional, technical, and educational association. The institute was founded in 1908 and is dedicated to promoting excellence in the development and practice of chemical engineering in an ever-expanding array of disciplines

The Chemists’ Club, established in 1898, is one of the oldest and most respected chemical organizations in the country. Members are engaged in management, marketing, processing, and research and development.

The Société de Chimie Industrielle was founded in 1918 as the American Section of a Paris-based international organization. Today it operates as an independent New York–based society with a mission to work with other chemical-industry organizations and promote understanding of the chemical and allied industries. Activities include a monthly CEO forum, a scholarship program, and the International Palladium Medal awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the industry.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF)
fosters an understanding of chemistry’s impact on society. An independent nonprofit organization, we strive to

  • Inspire a passion for chemistry;
  • Highlight chemistry’s role in meeting current social challenges; and
  • Preserve the story of chemistry and its technologies and industries across centuries.

CHF maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books. We host conferences and lectures, support research, offer fellowships, and produce educational materials. Our museum and public programs explore subjects ranging from alchemy to nanotechnology.

Past Medalists

Learn more about past winners of the Othmer Gold Medal.

Hear It Firsthand

CHF’s Center for Oral History captures and preserves the stories of notable figures in chemistry and related fields. Many of the oral histories in the collection belong to recipients of CHF awards, including


Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible donation online.