Virender Lal Chopra obtained his PhD degree (1967) from the University of Edinburgh, UK with specialization in genetics. He was Professor of Genetics, Head, Division of Genetics, Professor of Eminence and Head, National Research Centre for Plant Biotechnology, all at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; Chief Technical Adviser (FAO), Government of Vietnam (1990-91); and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary to Government of India (1992-); Member, Planning Commission and Chancellor, Central Agricultural University, Imphal.
Academic and Research Achievements: Chopra has made contributions in the fields of genetics and agricultural research creation, assessment and management of experimentally produced genetic variation leading to useful applications. He was engaged in improving oilseed Brassicas and legumes through biotechnological techniques.
Other Contributions: Chopra has edited 10 books and contributed one chapter each in 17 books. He has been Chief Editor of Indian Journal of Sericulture; Editor of INSA Publications (1987-90); Member of Editorial Boards of: Plant Breed; Euphytica; Current Science and Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. He was Member, Science Advisory Council to Prime Minster (1986-90); Secretary General, XV International Congress of Genetics (1983); Vice-Chairman, International Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources; As FAO Consultant to the Government of Vietnam, he was intrumental in establishing Institute of Agricultural Genetics there. He has served INSA as its Council Member (1986), Editor of Publications (1987-90) and Additional Member (2001).
Awards and Honours: Chopra received Borlaug Award (1983); Plaque of Honour of Indian Society of Genetics (1983); NOPEX Award (1984); Padma Bhushan (1985); HCM Memorial Lectureship (1985); FICCI Award (1986); OP Bhasin Award (1987); Honour Summus Medal of Watummul Foundation, USA (1987); BC Guha Memorial Lectureship (1989); Lala Karam Chand Thapar Memorial Lecture (1989); and Silver Jubilee Commemoration Medal of INSA (1991) and Aryabhata Medal of INSA (2002). He is a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (President); National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), and Indian Society of Genetic and Plant Breeding (President, 1992-94). He was President, International Genetics Federation (1983-88).