Premananda Das earned his BSc (Ag), MSc (Ag), and PhD degrees from Orissa University of Agriculture, Calcutta University, and Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Nadia (West Bengal), respectively. He was trained at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Delhi University; Melbourne, Australia; Dusseldorf, Germany; University of Liverpool and Royal Botanic Gardens, UK. He visited a number of Botanic Gardens in countries like Australia, Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka to study the diversity of Araceous plants and tropical and sub-tropical trees. In 1985, Das moved to Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC), Bhubaneswar, as Founding Director. As INSA Senior Scientist, he worked on medicinal plants in the Department of Biotechnology, IIT, Kharagpur, West Bengal.
Academic and Research Achievements: Das, at the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, strengthened teaching and research on plant propagation, floriculture, landscape horticulture and ecological aspects of plant-environment interaction. At RPRC, he initiated research programmes on biodiversity assessment and conservation; biotechnology; molecular biology; conservation ecology of mangroves; restoration ecology in metalliferous and mining environments; and greening of wastelands. With 550 species, and about 500 hybrids, the cacti germplasm at the Centre is the largest in Asia and Australia. He has published over 300 research articles, edited and authored a dozen of books, mentored large number of students including 3 DSc and 19 PhD students.
Other Contributions: Professor Das nurtured the RPRC, Bhubaneswar, over 500 acres of wasteland to a Centre of Excellence on plant biodiversity conservation and research. He established Mangrove Research Centre, Biomass Research Centre, National Institute for Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Bhubaneswar, and Biju Patnaik Medicinal Plants Garden and Research Centre, Jeypore. For rural development, he established Venkateswar Institute for Sustainable, Innovative and Objective Nurture at Bhubaneswar. He was member of Executive Council of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (2001-03).
Awards and Honours: Professor Das received Samant Chandra Sekhar Award of Orissa Bigyan Academy (1992), Nandighosh Award (1992), Dr K Ramiah Memorial Award of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1999-2000); ICAR National Professor (2001); Fellow of the Horticultural Society of India (2004); Utkal Surya Award (2007); and Award for significant contributions to Botany by Orissa Botanical Society (2007). He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad (1994); National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, New Delhi (1995), and the Society of Ethnobotanists (1997).