Atta-ur-Rahman, D.Phil., TI, SI HI, NI, is a leading scientist and scholar in the field of organic chemistry from Pakistan, especially renowned for his research in the various areas relating to natural product chemistry. With over 840 publications in the field of his expertise, he is also credited for reviving the higher education and research practices in Pakistan.
Atta-ur-Rahman has had a prominent record in Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1958, and 'A' Levels in 1960 from the Karachi Grammar School. In 1963, he received B.Sc (Hons.) in Chemistry, followed by M.Sc in Organic Chemistry from Karachi University. He received Commonwealth Scholarship in 1965 to study for Ph.D in Organic Chemistry under supervision of Dr. J. Harley Mason and received Ph.D at Kings College, Cambridge in 1968.
He was subsequently awarded a Doctorate of Science by University of Cambridge in 1987, a Doctorate of Education by Coventry University in 2007, a Doctorate of Science by Bradford University in 2010, and a Doctor of Philosophy by Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand in 2010.
Atta ur Rahman started his career in 1964 as a Lecturer at University of Karachi. He remained Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge between 1969 to 1973. In 1977, he became Co-Director of Hussain Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry at University of Karachi to become Director in 1990. He has over 843 publications in leading international journals in several fields of organic chemistry including 663 research publications, 18 patents, 103 books and 59 chapters in books published by major U.S. and European presses. Seventy two students have completed their Ph.D. degrees under his supervision.
- Fellow, Kings College, Cambridge University (1969-1973)
- Professor at H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry at Karachi University
- Coordinator General of COMSTECH(1996-present)
- Federal Minister of Science & Technology (2000-2002)
- Federal Minister of Education (2002)
- Former Federal Minister/Chairman, Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (resigned due to govt issues)(2002-2008)
- Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Science and Technology(2002-2008)
- Honorary Life Fellow, Kings College, Cambridge University (2007-present)
- Distinguished National Professor International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University (2011-present)
- Patron-in-Chief International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University (2009-present)
Prizes, honours and awards
Prof. Rahman was elected as Fellow of Royal Society (London) in July 2006 thereby becoming the one of the 4 scientists from the Muslim world to have ever won this honour. He has been conferred honorary doctorate degrees by many universities including the degree of Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) by the Cambridge University (UK) (1987) and an Honorary degree of Doctor of Education by Coventry University UK in November 2007. He was elected Honorary Life Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University, UK in 2007. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was conferred the TWAS Prize for Institution Building in Durban, South Africa in October 2009 in recognition of his contributions for bringing about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan.He was awarded the Engro Excellence Award in Science & Technology 2011 with a prize of Rs. 5 million (US $ 59,000) for meritorious contributions.
He is President of Network of Academies of Sciences of Islamic Countries (NASIC) and the Vice-President (Central & South Asia) of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) Council, and Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences. Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman was the President of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (2003–06), and was again elected President of Pakistan Academy of Sciences in January 2011.
He was the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (14 March 2000 – 20 November 2002), Federal Minister of Education (2002) and Chairman of the Higher Education Commission with the status of a Federal Minister from 2002-2008. The Austrian government also honoured him with its highest civil award ("Das Große Goldene Ehrenzeichen am Bande", 2007) in recognition of his eminent contributions.
Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman is presently the Coordinator General of COMSTECH, an OIC Ministerial Committee comprising the 57 Ministers of Science & Technology from 57 OIC member countries. He is also the Patron of International Centre of Chemical and Biological Sciences (which comprises a number of institutes, including the Husein Ebrahim Jamal Research Institute of Chemistry and the Dr. Panjwani Center of Molecular Medicine and Drug Development) at Karachi University.
In recognition of his eminent contributions in the field of Organic Chemistry, he has been conferred with four civil awards, including:
- Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2002) (highest national civil award),
- Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998)
- Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1991)
- Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (1983)
- TWAS Regional Prize for Institution Building (2009)
- Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in Gold with Sash (2007)
- Honorary Doctor of Education honoris causa (Coventry University,UK) (2007)
- ISESCO Prize (2001)
- ECO Prize (2000)
- First Muslim scientist to receive the UNESCO Science Prize (1999)
- Federation of Asian Chemical Societies Award, Hiroshima, Japan (1997)
- First Prize at the 6th Kharazmi Festival in Iran (1993),
- The Islamic Organization Prize by Government of Kuwait (1988)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (Sc.D) from University of Cambridge (1987)
- Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa(Ph.D) from Asian Institute of Technology (2010)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (Sc.D) from Bradford University (2010)
- Vice-President Academy of Science of Developing World (TWAS)
- Fellow of Academy of Sciences for the Developing World
- Fellow of Islamic World Academy of Sciences
- Foreign Fellow of Korean Academy of Sciences
- Fellow of Pakistan Academy of Sciences
- Fellow of the Royal Society
- Honorary Life Fellow King's College, Cambridge
- Editor-in-Chief/Executive Editor of following international journals:
- Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry (Netherlands)
- Current Medicinal Chemistry (Netherlands)
- Current Pharmaceutical Design (Netherlands)
- Current Organic Chemistry (Netherlands)
- Combinatorial Chemistry and High Throughput Screening (Netherlands)
- Current Organic Synthesis (Netherlands)
- Letters in Organic Chemistry (Netherlands)
- Editor of an encyclopedic series of books on natural product chemistry, Studies in Natural Product Chemistry, 35 volumes of which have been published under his Editorship since 1990.
- Director of H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi
- Patron-in-Chief of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi