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In 2012, Dr. Anand Tanikella was shifted from Saint-Gobain Research Center at Boston to Chennai. He was assigned the task of building the seventh global research centre of Saint-Gobain (SG).

 In quick time Anand set up sophisticated facilities for research in building materials for hot and humid climates at rented premises in OMR. In December 2012 SG decided to set up a world-class facility in close cooperation with the IIT-Madras at the IIT-M Research Park.

Over the next three years, Anand built a strong team of research scientists in various disciplines recruited from across the globe and set up a world class facility at the IIT-M Research Park. On 29 January 2016, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa inaugurated this centre.  Union Minister Y S Chowdary,   Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain Pierre-André de Chalendar and other top brass of Saint-Gobain were present at the glittering function.  

The facility was created at a cost of over Rs 200 crore and has sophisticated machine tools, equipment, and other infrastructure. The focus is on innovating and developing building materials such as glass, ceramics, abrasives, gypsum board, etc.  to facilitate research and connect the lab with the market. The close involvement of the faculty and young students of IIT-M to work along with the specialists in various disciplines at SGRI with focus on application-oriented research.

Having achieved this task entrusted to him with such efficiency and effectiveness, Anand has returned to Boston. I had the opportunity and privilege to be his guest along with my wife at his sprawling home at Northboro, Boston. With his moorings strongly rooted in Indian tradition and culture, soulful music by his two daughters permeated their home fortified further by the religious fervour of his parents.

Anand drove us around the sprawling research centre on abrasives and the nearby 150-year-old Norton Works. Aware of my involvement with the Agricultural Consultancy Management Foundation, Anand took us to a couple of large farms where the local community offers shramdhan to raise vegetables in massive quantities for orphanages. Anand’s wife Jothi pointed to the huge vessels and other cooking equipment used by Anand and his family to cook food for a couple of hundreds on special occasions to feed the poor.

With his yen for perfection, Anand recently produced a detailed paper on SGRI that was published in theHarvard Business Review (May 2016 issue).

Anand has taken global responsibility for research in coated abrasives.

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