Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development Newsletter
Welcome to the third edition of the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development newsletter.
This summer marks the culmination of the 2018-2019 academic year, a period in which the Centre has hosted events on climate change and sustainable development, met with industry leaders and NGOs, and in which the number of OICSD scholars has grown to fourteen. We received the immensely welcome news that renowned industrialist and philanthropist Sir Ratan Tata has accepted the position of Honorary Patron for the Centre; more below. The OICSD also welcomed the new High Commissioner of India to the UK, Ruchi Ghanashyam, who planted a tree in Somerville’s quadrangle to mark the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The tree, an Indian Horse Chesnut, now stands as a proud symbol of India’s long-standing ties with the College.
The OICSD’s research brings together different disciplines working on a core set of themes related to sustainable development, with the intention of translating academic ideas into practical solutions.
The Centre is delighted to celebrate two achievements in the first half of this year.
First, our Research Director, Dr. Radhika Khosla, will launch a large new multi-departmental and multi-country Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Cooling later this year. The three-year programme will focus on examining and shaping the unprecedented future growth in global cooling energy demand, with an aim to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. The OICSD is pleased to partner with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and Oxford Martin School towards this research.
Second, Dr. Siddharth Arora, Early Career Fellow, was part of the team that won the Martin Black award for the article ‘Big data in Parkinson’s disease: using smartphones to remotely detect longitudinal disease phenotypes’. This annual prize is given to the best paper published in the journal Physiological Measurement, awarded on the basis of quality of research, originality, and potential impact.
Sinha, Ranu, Michael Gilmont, Robert Hope & Simon Dadson. “Understanding the effectiveness of investments in irrigation system modernization: evidence from Madhya Pradesh, India.”International Journal of Water Resources Development. 2018.
Fanian, Safa, “Risking Cities and Rivers: What are the Pathways Towards Resilience?” in of southasiadisasters.net facilitated by All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Making Humanitarian Response more Flexible: Exploring New Models and Approaches, no. 181.
Singhvi, Asmita and Vasudev Devadasan,“The Dangers of Allowing Foreign Political Contributions: A Theoretical Perspective”, Comparative Constitutional & Administrative Law Quarterly 4, no.3.2019.
Kurup, Deepa. “Choking a Lifeline.” Frontline, 12 April 2019.
Kurup, Deepa.” Indian Elections: Will Farm Crisis be PM Narendra Modi’s Undoing?”. Al Jazeera, 19 April 2019.
Kurup, Deepa.“Work Undone: How India Fails its Young Jobseekers”. Al Jazeera, 17 May 2019.
Was appointed co-chair of Oxford Pro Bono Publico, and Assistant Editor for the Indian Law Review. In addition, she is also a researcher with the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. With Oxford Pro Bono Publico she is working on two research projects on Anonymity Protection for Child Victims, and on Comparative Law for Tort and Constitutional Damages.
(DPhil Biomedical Engineering)
Presented her research at annual meetings of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, where she discussed her work on ‘Local Intensity Guided Spatially Adaptive Thresholding of White Matter Lesion Probabilities’and on ‘Identifying Subjects with Cerebral Microbleeds in Big Datasets: a Pipeline for Candidate Selection.’
(D.Phil Geography & the Environment)
Presented her research “Rivers and cities: connected risks, fragmented policy” at the workshop “Knowledge to Action Lab” in New Delhi, organized by Global Development Network. She has a new blog piece for GlobalDev titled “Cities and rivers: the policy challenges of water management”.
Gayathree Kalliyat Thazhathuveetil
Was on the winning team of the Blackstone Human Rights Moot Court Competition 2019. Gayathree was awarded the title of Best Speaker (Preliminary Rounds). She will be representing the University of Oxford at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot 2019.
Presented her work at the Annual International Symposium organised by the Indian Society of International Law, on the dilution of the prohibition against torture in international human rights law. She also presented her co-authored paper titled ‘Riding the Wheel of Charity: Unwaged Women in Healthcare’ at the Centre for Asian Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
Participated in the Ecoprosperity Conference in Singapore, and at the International Law Association British Spring Conference at All Souls College. She has been appointed the Convenor of the Environmental Law Discussion Group at the Oxford Law Faculty.
Has been involved with the Constitutional Theory Discussion Group, a student run forum that encourages examining theoretical and practical aspects of constitutional law beyond the classroom, and attended by both students and faculty. Asmita recently presented the work of Louis Michael Siedman at one such session.
Recent News and Events
Sir Ratan Tata, the Indian industrialist and philanthrophist, has accepted the position of Honorary Patron of the Oxford India Centre. Sir Ratan was Chairman of Tata Group from 1991-2012 and 2016-7, and is currently Chairman of the Tata Trusts, one of India's leading philanthropic foundations.
The Right Honourable Patricia Hewitt, chair of the OICSD advisory board, received a Special Recognition Award at the UK-India Business Summit 2019. The event acknowledges business leaders who help the UK-India relationship to prosper and thrive.
The High Commissioner of India visited Somerville this May for a roundtable discussion with the OICSD scholars and a meeting with students from across the University. The High Commissioner also planted a tree in Somerville's quadrangle to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi.
Our scholars met with Hemant Sahai, who supports the study of Law at the OICSD. The visit provided an opportunity to discuss their ongoing research with Mr. Sahai, one of the leading commercial, energy and infrastructure lawyers in India and the Asian region. His firm, HSA Advocates, was recently awarded the “Innovation in legal expertise: Creating a new standard” award at the Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyer Awards 2019.
The OICSD will be one of the partners in a new joint initiative to improve lives in India. The RFII open partnership will build relationships between Indian and UK academic, civil society, policy and industry leaders to design durable solutions for enhancing lives, communities, and systems in contexts of uncertainty. The programme is led by Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with multiple research centres.
Prof. Harriss-White led a seminar on development-based research methods and the complex politics of policymaking.
Rakesh Kapoor, Chief Executive of RB, met with the OICSD scholars to discuss their research, and the challenges and opportunities for businesses and sustainability.
The current and former chairs of Seva Mandir UK led a discussion on the intersection between the organization’s work on the ground and its academic implications. Seva Mandir works in Rajasthan to help promote women and children's wellbeing, education and health, and that of rural households. Somerville alumna Baroness Shirley Williams is one of the vice-patrons of the organisation.
In a seminar organised alongside the Oxford Climate Society, Prof. Kevin Anderson spoke on how 'Climate’s holy trinity' - cogency, tenacity & courage - could yet deliver on our Paris 2°C commitment. The discussion elaborated on a system-level framing of the challenge, with equity at its core. You can watch a video of the event at the attached link.
College Principal Jan Royall spoke at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai where she discussed Somerville's pioneering women and the longstanding ties between the college and India. You can read a transcript at the attached link.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
To commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's 150th anniversary, the OICSD and Somerville will be hosting discussions on sustainability. More details to follow.
The OICSD, along with Yale and St. Antony's College, will be hosting a conference on the subject of Mental Health in India. The two-day event will take a multi-dimensional look at mental health in India to address the historical and cultural aspects of how it has been understood, as well as the policy and clinical challenges and opportunities that hinder and aid mental healthcare delivery in India. The goal is to foster new and ground breaking inter-disciplinary conversations between policy makers, practitioners and academics and include the patient and carer perspectives and lead to cross discipline and cross institution collaborations.