Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development Newsletter
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development newsletter.
This Michaelmas term has been an exciting one for us. The OICSD has grown to having 19 remarkable scholars pursuing research in diverse areas ranging from sanitation to electric mobility, migration of birds to water risk governance in Indian cities. Our alumni network has also expanded to a dozen people, mostly working in fields of law, governance, conservation and social development in India. We are also pleased to announce two new Research Associates: Dr Anant Jani and Dr Vikranth H Nagaraja, both Oxford experts in fields of public health and engineering, respectively.
Our other activities this term included hosting a range of events with an inspiring roster of speakers, including a conference on Mental Health in India, and a symposium on Mahatma Gandhi and sustainability to mark his 150th anniversary.
We are delighted to announce that we have launched two new scholarships. The Rakesh and Ritu Kapoor Scholarship supports a postgraduate student to conduct research on sanitation and health in India, and is named after the former chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser (RB), and his wife Ritu. We will also award the Gopal Subramanium Scholarship in 2020, generously endowed by the distinguished jurist and former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium.
Mental Health in India: Bridging the Gap
India is grappling with a mental health crisis – with rising suicide rates, an overburdened mental health workforce and huge economic losses from mental health conditions as the consequences. We hosted a two-day multi-disciplinary conference on mental health in India along with the Asian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College on October 30&31.
The conference addressed ‘the gap’ in mental health practice – by presenting insights and lessons from the Indian experience, as well as those from outside the country. The sessions drew upon the experiences of academics, policy-makers and practitioners, some of whom work with socio-economically deprived groups and rural communities. They also explored questions around religious and cultural traditions and their relation to mental health in India.
One of the outcomes of the conference is an open access resource site on mental health policies, evidence and interventions. A journal supplement on a collection of related papers will be produced.
Future of Cooling
The OICSD became a supporting partner of the Oxford Martin School’s new Future of Cooling Programme, which launched in October 2019. OICSD’s Research Director Dr Radhika Khosla is the Principal Investigator of the programme.
The Future of Cooling Programme aims to understand and shape the chilling prospects around air conditioning use while recommending interventions that can support the world in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Air conditioning (AC) poses an enormous global challenge as its demand is expected to triplicate by 2050. To power this, the energy necessary will be equivalent to that consumed today by the US, EU and Japan. A transition towards efficient technology and its combination with smart passive cooling mechanisms is needed to tackle the challenge.
The Programme team comprises of researchers from social sciences, engineering, mathematics, geography, economics and medical sciences. Its interdisciplinary approach will allow to answer questions such as: How can the production network meet demand sustainably? What are the transitioning technologies, cooling cultures and behaviours that determine energy demand? Does cooling reduce the healthcare system’s burden by reducing morbidity/mortality? How can we map unaccounted-for impacts of the global cooling production network, including refrigerant gases?
Climate Change and India reading group
We have initiated a new multi-disciplinary reading group on Climate Change and India, in partnership with School of Geography and the Environment, Smith School of Environment and Enterprise and the Oxford Martin School. The aim is to create a multi-disciplinary intellectual community on climate change and India at the University of Oxford. The group brings together scholars across a range of disciplines – physical sciences, social sciences, humanities and the medical sciences.
Recent OICSD publications
De Jonge, Ank, et al. 2019. “Value Based Maternal and Newborn Care Requires Alignment of Adequate Resources with High Value Activities.” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Jani, Anant, and Muir Gray. 2019. “Making Social Prescriptions Mainstream.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Khosla, Radhika, et al. 2019. “Energy demand transitions and climate mitigation in low-income urban households in India” Environmental Research Letters, IOP Publishing.
Khosla, Radhika and Ankit Bhardwaj. 2019. “Urban India and Climate Change.” In India in a Warming World: Integrating Climate Change and Development, ed. Dubash, Oxford University Press.
Sundaresan, Vaanathi, et al. 2019. “Automated Lesion Segmentation with BIANCA: Impact of Population-Level Features, Classification Algorithm and Locally Adaptive Thresholding.” NeuroImage, BioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Jain, Vanshaj Ravi. “Frozen Frontier: Uti Possidetis and the Decolonization of South Asia.” Refugee Studies Centre, 17 Oct. 2019.
Sandra Fredman, Meghan Campbell, Rishika Sahgal, Gauri Pillai, Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil, Gautam Bhatia, Nomfundo Ramalekana. 2019. “Draft Code on Social Security, 2019: Comments”. Oxford Human Rights Hub.
Sandra Fredman, Meghan Campbell, Shreya Atrey, Rishika Sahgal, Gauri Pillai, Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil. 2019. “Gender Sensitive Parliaments”. Submission to the Women and Equalities Committee (UK Parliament) on how to ensure a gender sensitive Parliament. Oxford Human Rights Hub.
Devaang Savla. 2019. “ICESCR’s Minimum Core Concept: Controversies and Solutions.” Latest Laws.
Devaang Savla. 2019. “Law in Society: Lawyer’s acknowledgement of Claimant’s Motivation & Antecedents of Disputes.” Latest Laws.
Devaang Savla. 2019. “Principles of Civil Procedure: Governance of Interim Remedies (Injunctions).” Latest Laws.
Radhika Khosla. 2019. “Individuals and societies are waking up to climate change: It is no longer an issue of the future, or confined to the UN.” Hindustan Times.
Sayan Roy. 2019. “Environmental Markets: the Good, Bad and Ugly, an Astor Lecture.” Oxford Water Network.
Introducing our new scholars
Aavika Dhanda, DPhil Zoology
Devaang Savla, Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)
Gayathree Devi Thazhathuveetil, MPhil in Law
Gauri Chandra, DPhil Public Policy
Gaurev Dubey, DPhil Geography and the Environment
Priya Garg, Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL)
Sayan Roy, MSc Water Science, Policy and Management
Trisha Gopalakrishnan, DPhil Geography and the Environment
Vanshaj Jain, DPhil Law
Varun Mallik, MSc Modern South Asian Studies
Our continuing scholars
Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil, DPhil Law
Deepa Kurup, DPhil International Development
Navya Jannu, DPhil Law
Narendra Killada,, DPhil Geography and the Environment
Ranu Sinha, DPhil Geography and the Environment
Safa Fanaian, DPhil in Water Science Policy
Sanghamitra Mukherjee, DPhil Economics
Shivani Malik, DPhil Plant Sciences
Vaanathi Sundaresan, DPhil in Biomedical Imaging
Aradhana Cherupara Vadekkethil
Editor of Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog and the Co-Chair of Oxford Pro Bono Publico, 2019. She is also assisting with work on a multi-disciplinary research project, entitled FAIRWORK in the Platform Economy in the Global South project, led by Professor Mark Graham of the Oxford Internet Institute.
Gayathree Devi Thazhathuveetil
Represented the University of Oxford at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot 2019. She was awarded the Law Faculty Prize in International Law and Armed Conflict. She was also awarded the Winter Williams Prize in International Economic Law (shared).
Was elected as the BCL batch representative. She was also elected as the Education Representative, Middle Common Room, Somerville College.
Was awarded the National Geographic Explorer grant of 10,200$. This grant will contribute towards her DPhil fieldwork on water risk governance in Guwahati City, Assam.
Recent News and Events
The distinguished jurist Gopal Subramanium, a former Solicitor General of India and a Senior Advocate of the country’s Supreme Court, has been elected a Foundation Fellow of Somerville College, University of Oxford.
In collaboration with Oxford Climate Society, OICSD held a debate exploring whether perpetual economic growth can ever be compatible with addressing climate change. The speakers were Dr Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics and Mike Thompson, Head of Carbon Budgeting at the Committee on Climate Change.
Centre for Policy Research (CPR), Prayas Energy Group (PEG), and the University of Oxford jointly organized the second annual roundtable on residential electricity consumption in Delhi on 28th August, 2019. The objective of the roundtable was to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners working on residential electricity consumption to share their work and discuss challenges and future directions of research.
OICSD celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in collaboration with Balliol College by discussing his relevance to challenges of sustainability today. Gandhi and sustainability, in collaboration with Balliol. Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Prof Vinita Damodaran, Dr Radhika Khosla and Dr Mukulika Bannerjee discussed whether Gandhi’s writings and philosophy could inform political action in the age of climate strikes and sustainable development goals.
Former Health Secretary of India Mr Keshav Desiraju gave a talk on the contemporary issues in public health in India. The session explored important themes such as sanitation, mental health, child nutrition and climate change.
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, and Former Solicitor General of India, Gopal Subramanium gave a lecture on the linkages between democracy and the rule of law.
Students from undergraduate, master's and DPhil programs presented their research on a wide range of topics related to the environment. This event was held in collaboration with the Oxford Climate Society.
Our scholars Safa Fanaian and Aavika Dhanda presented their work on water risk governance in cities and the impact of climate change and land use on birds in north east India at the first OICSD research meeting of this academic year.
The OICSD is supported by a network of generous philanthropists in India and the UK, who have enabled us to double the number of postgraduate scholarships we offer.
If you would like to support our mission of education and research that benefits India and the world, please contact our Director of Development Sara Kalim at: email@example.com