Dr. S. P. Aggarwal assumed the charge of Director, NESAC with effect from 17th September, 2021. He has taken important initiatives towards effective utilization of Space Science and Technology for various developmental activities of NER such as Natural Resource Management, Infrastructure Planning, Disaster Risk Management, Weather forecasting, Satellite communication applications, ICT based and Geo-governance related applications, etc. Prior to this assignment, he was the Group Head of Water Resources Department at Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), ISRO, Dehradun. Dr. Aggarwal is a highly accomplished scientist in the field of Remote Sensing and GIS applications in water resources management, disaster management and climate change impact assessment and at the same time he has immensely contributed in the capacity building and outreach program of ISRO.
He obtained his B. Tech. degree from Allahabad University and a postgraduate and Ph.D. degree from IARI, New Delhi. He did post-doctoral research from ITC/IHE, The Netherlands in the field of hydrological modeling.
Under his leadership, NESAC accelerated the process of playing a pivotal role in harnessing the power of space science and technology for the benefit of the region. Dr. Aggarwal has spearheaded various initiatives aimed at addressing the unique challenges faced by the region, including issues related to the effective management of natural resources, supporting disaster risk reduction initiatives, infrastructure planning and monitoring, promoting sustainable development, weather, and climate studies, etc. He has fostered collaborations with academic and R&D institutes towards utilizing state-of-the-art facilities and the best minds to work together to support the mission of NESAC.
Dr. Aggarwal has brought significant administrative changes in the functioning of NESAC to improve the decision-making process, which has enabled NESAC to take up and execute more projects successfully. He brought the culture of more research-oriented projects at NESAC with a quantum jump in technology development projects, utilization of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning for different applications, etc. He has strengthened the application of drones for mapping, monitoring, and supporting disaster management through innovative approaches, which helped NESAC put itself at the core of drone applications at the national level. He ensured that NESAC prioritized providing timely services to the user departments where space technology interventions are required. He introduced the annual NESAC User Interaction Meet (NeUIM) for better understanding and compliance with user requirements. Dr. Aggarwal’s visionary leadership has played a pivotal role in making NESAC more professional and effective in service delivery by exploiting the strength of space science and technology, culminating to NESAC winning several national awards in geospatial technology applications.
Prior to joining NESAC, he served as the Group Head of the Water Resources Department, of IIRS/ISRO wherein he successfully led several regional and national projects covering large-scale hydrological modeling, Irrigation water management, Soil erosion assessment, snow, ice, and glacier melt studies, flood mapping & monitoring, Cryosphere research in Antarctica and Arctic region, etc. He demonstrated exemplary leadership in the simultaneous progress of the group in research, applications, and capacity building.
Dr. Aggarwal contributed significantly to the United Nations-affiliated Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP) as program coordinator during the 2016-2021 periods. Dr Aggarwal played a pivotal role in strengthening regional and international cooperation in capacity building in space science, technology, and applications in the Asia-Pacific region. He interacted with different international organizations, UN agencies, foreign missions in India, and Indian missions abroad to organize academic programs for participants from the Asia-Pacific region. These programs included Remote Sensing and GIS, Satellite Communications, Satellite Meteorology and Global Climate, Space and Atmospheric Sciences, and GNSS, conducted at various ISRO/ DOS centers namely IIRS, Dehradun and SAC & PRL, Ahmadabad.
He received several awards and honors including the Eminent Engineers Award for 2014 conferred by the Institution of Engineers of India (Uttarakhand state). He received the President Appreciation Medal for 2016 from the Indian Society of Remote Sensing (ISRS) and the prestigious National Geospatial Award for Excellence for 2018 conferred by ISRS. He received a very prestigious National Award for e-Governance 2022 (Silver Medal) for Excellence in Adopting Emerging Technologies conferred by the Dept of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Govt. of India. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India), the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, and the Indian Association of Hydrologists.
Dr. Aggarwal is an active member of several scientific and professional societies. He served as Secretary of Technical Commission V of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) on education and outreach (2016-2021). Currently, he is the Chair of working group 4 of Technical Commission V of ISPRS (2022-2026). He served the ISRS as secretary for four years and as treasurer for two years. He is currently serving as the executive editor of the Journal of ISRS, which saw a significant enhancement in its impact during his tenure. He has successfully organized several conferences and workshops including the Asian Conference on Remote Sensing (ACRS-2017) on Space Applications: Touching Human Lives.
He has more than 170 research publications in peer-reviewed international and national journals and conference proceedings and has supervised 26 M. Tech. students, 38 PG diploma students, and five Ph.D. students. He has also authored 4 book chapters and 19 technical reports.