Dr. Ashok Kumar is presently working as Director (Acting) of ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi. He has long working experience of >35 years with various aspects of plant genetic resources management. After M Phil/ Ph. D in Agricultural Botany (Genetics & Plant Breeding), joined ARS as Scientist (Plant Breeding) at ICAR-NRRI (the then CRRI), Cuttack in 1986 and moved to ICAR-NBPGR in 1988. Visited USA for three months for Professional Enhancement Programme on Plant Genetic Resources under USAID Project.
He was associated with the planning, monitoring and execution of NATP Sub-project “Sustainable Management of Bio-diversity” in Mission mode which was included under Prime Minister’s coveted “Jai Vigyan National Science and Technology Mission on Conservation of Agro-Biodiversity (PGR)”. Associated with the development of value rich genetic stocks, technologies and databases for utilization of genetic resources and successfully completed the projects funded by DBT, NMPB, ISM&H etc. for collection, evaluation and conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs).
As Head, Division of Germplasm Evaluation, ICAR-NBPGR, he has planned, executed and coordinated the activities of germplasm evaluation at national level. He has also established linkages with crop based institutes and state agricultural institutes/central agricultural universities for characterization, evaluation and utilization of PGR. He has organized several Germplasm Field Days/ visits for enhanced utilization of germplasm in applied and basic research. He has also coordinated the activity of characterization and evaluation at national level through Consortium Research Platform (CRP) on Agro biodiversity of ICAR. He is also coordinating Network Project on “Leveraging genetic resources for accelerated genetic improvement of linseed using comprehensive genomics and phenotyping approaches” under Mission Programme on “Minor Oilseeds of Indian Origin” sponsored by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
He has been associated with the identification of several trait specific germplasm and registered 35 trait specific accessions as unique genetic stocks with Plant Germplasm Registration Committee (PGRC) of ICAR. He has more than 150 publications comprising research papers published in national and international journals, book, book chapters, training manuals, invited lectures, extended summaries, abstracts etc. In addition, he has participated and presented papers in national and international seminars, symposia, conferences etc. He is member of several professional societies and has been recognized as Fellow of various professional societies.