Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development Newsletter
Welcome to the seventh edition of the OICSD newsletter.
Over the past year, we have been amazed by the tenacity and resourcefulness demonstrated by the OICSD community in adapting to new ways of learning, teaching, and creating a knowledge hub committed to advancing India’s sustainable development. As we wish you a happy and refreshing end-of-year break, here are some of the key highlights from the past term.
We are pleased to introduce our cohort of 16 scholars this year, including five new postgraduate scholars in the fields of Biochemistry, Law and Zoology. Our researchers have continued to publish their research in some of the leading international journals including Nature Sustainability, Nature Communications, Plos One and BMJ Open, to name a few. These research publications deal with topics such as sustainable cooling, net-zero buildings and social determinants of health, among other dimensions of sustainable development (see below).
We are delighted to welcome a new member into our esteemed International Advisory Board – Sir Suma Chakrabarti, who is the former President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and former Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development (2002-2007) and the Ministry of Justice (2007-2012). We are also pleased to announce our membership with India Cooling Coalition and a new research partnership with University of Melbourne.
Our recent webinars, which saw high attendance from researchers and students from the UK, India and the rest of the world, dealt with race and climate injustices; India’s agrarian economy; the demand for cooling. This term, we launched the Food and Nutrition reading group in collaboration with the Wolfson South Asia Research Cluster, to better understand and shape the future trajectory of food and nutrition policy in India. OICSD’s India and climate change reading group was opened to a wider audience, featuring high-level academic presentations from India’s leading researchers from Ashoka Trust for Research on Ecology and the Environment and The Energy and Resources Institute (more below).
Authors: Radhika Khosla, Nicole D. Miranda, Philipp A. Trotter, Antonella Mazzone, Renaldi Renaldi, Caitlin McElroy, Francois Cohen, Anant Jani, Rafael Perera-Salazar & Malcolm McCulloch
Journal: Nature Sustainability
A new paper from the team at Oxford Martin School’s Future of Cooling Programme proposes a new analytical and solution-oriented framework to identify and shape interventions towards sustainable cooling for all. The paper examines cooling as a system composed of active and passive measures, with key social and technical components, and explains its link to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Authors: Radhika Khosla, Ajinkya Shrish Kamat, Venkatesh Narayanamurti
Journal: Progress in Energy
This study explores how fast-growing countries can not only develop their own sustainable systems but provide a source of learning and knowledge to influence global trends. Read the article summary in The Conversation here.
Authors: Diana Ürge-Vorsatz, Radhika Khosla, Rob Bernhardt, Yi Chieh Chan, David Vérez, Shan Hu, and Luisa F. Cabeza
Journal: Annual Review of Environment and Resources
The study finds that the technology and skills already exist to achieve net- or nearly-zero energy building in nearly every part of the world – including both developed and developing countries – at costs in the range of those of traditional projects.
Authors: Noura Al Saud, Mashael Al Shalan, Thamir Al Shehri, Mazhar Bari, Maxime Beaugrand, Nicholas Howarth, Radhika Khosla, Moncef Krarti, Alessandro Lanza, Benoit Lebot, Karan Mangotra, Natalia Odnoletkova, Tadeusz Patzek, and Yamina Saheb.
Policy paper: T20 Saudi Arabia 2020 Think
New policy brief on enhancing cooperation on energy-efficient and sustainable cooling through the upcoming G20 meeting, co-authored by Dr Radhika Khosla with other global partners.
Authors: Felix Creutzig, Xuemei Bai, Radhika Khosla, Vincent Viguie and Yoshiki Yamagata
Journal: Environmental Research Letters
This study highlights four core areas for systematizing and upscaling knowledge on urban climate strategies: big data, demand-side policies, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and governance.
Authors: Anant Jani, Harshana Liyanage, Uy Hoang, Lucy Moore, Filipa Ferreira, Ivelina Yonova, Victoria Tzortziou Brown, Simon de Lusignan
Journal: BMJ Open
This study attempts to identify the characteristics of individuals who receive social prescriptions, describe the use and estimate the impact of social prescribing. It also explores approaches to understand the contextual factors that potentially influenced the quantitative findings.
Authors: Vijay Ramesh, S. P. Vijayakumar, Trisha Gopalakrishna, Aditi Jayarajan, Kartik Shanker
Journal: Plos one
This study assesses the “crypticity” of two frog lineages only found in the Western Ghats. The frogs in these lineages are cryptic because they are morphologically the same but genetically different. This makes identification and description very difficult leading to problems when assessing threats and planning conservation efforts. This study uses a suite of methods including phylogenetic analyses and multivariate statistics to show that these frogs are cryptic.
Authors: Jiorgos Kourelis, Shivani Malik, Oliver Mattinson, Sonja Krauter, Parvinderdeep S. Kahlon, Judith K. Paulus & Renier A. L. van der Hoorn
Journal: Nature Communications
New study co-authored by OICSD scholar Shivani Malik highlights the significance of investigating the evolution of plant defence elements and can facilitate efforts for crop improvements.
Authors: Anthony Waldron, Vanessa Adams, James Allan, Andy Arnel,…Trisha Gopalakrishna and others.
This is a working paper involving more than 50 different academic institutions, NGOs and research centres about the economic implications of the proposed 30% target for protection as part of the 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Trisha completed the global geospatial analyses (~ 120 countries) of changes in area protection for the 6 different economics based scenarios outlined in the report.
India Cooling Coalition
OICSD, with its links to the Oxford Future of Cooling Programme, is now a member of the India Cooling Coalition (ICC), a multistakeholder group led by representation from non-profit, academic and research institutions, and industry associations who are engaged extensively in sustainable cooling research and application.
University of Melbourne
OICSD is supporting a project led by University of Melbourne on building mental health resilience and improving school attendance in India. The study will look at the effectiveness of a group-based youth resilience intervention called Nae Disha, aimed at building a supportive learning environment at schools.
Dr Siddharth Arora gave a keynote speech at a seminar ‘Embracing Uncertainty in Healthcare’ organized by Cardiff University, on the role of probabilistic forecasting and machine learning in emergency healthcare.
Dr Anant Jani is part of a team that received £25,000 from Research England to continue their work on a citizen sensing project aimed at trying to build and promote better greenspaces to improve biodiversity as well as human physical and mental health.
Aradhana Cherupara Vaddekathil was part of the Oxford Human Rights Hub team that has been recognized and cited in the UN Rapporteur’s report to the UN General Assembly on domestic violence faced by women in the pandemic.
Recent News and Events
This two day event co-hosted by the Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi), Prayas Energy Group (Pune), and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development featured presentations by Dr Radhika Khosla and Dr Anna Agarwal on changing cooling energy demand patterns among Indian households, Dr Amita Baviskar on changing techniques of coping with heat, Dr Ronita Bardhan on built environment design for climate induced cooling demands, among others.
This event, hosted in collaboration with the Oxford Climate Society, explored the deep links between racial injustice and climate change around the world. The speakers for the event were Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE and Co-Chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, Dr Ariadne Collins from the University of St Andrews and Archana Soreng, Member of the UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.
On October 28, the OICSD co-hosted an hour-long webinar with the Wolfson South Asia Research Cluster addressing the ongoing protests by Indian farmers against the new agricultural laws, as well as the impact of the pandemic and challenges posed by climate change on Indian agriculture. The speakers for the session were Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford, and Dr Shailaja Fennell, Reader in Regional Transformation and Economic Security, University of Cambridge.
OICSD has launched a new Food and Nutrition reading group in collaboration with Wolfson South Asia Research Cluster to initiate, and build, a multi-disciplinary intellectual community on food and nutrition in India at the University of Oxford. In the first session, OICSD Research Associate Dr Anant Jani discussed a study on malnutrition, poverty and the public distribution system in India. Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies, led the second session discussing 21st century food systems worldwide, market systems within food systems and the roles of policy in how they develop.
This year, the India and Climate Change reading group was opened up to participants from across the world and featured presentations from some of India's top academic minds. Dr Sharachchandra Lele, Distinguished Fellow in environmental policy and governance at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), led the first session unpacking themes of sustainability, justice, well-being and a multi-dimensional notion of environmentally sound and socially just development. In our second session, Thomas Spencer, Fellow at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), discussed his forthcoming paper co-authored by Professor Navroz Dubash in which they conduct a meta study of Indian energy scenarios out to 2050 from a variety of models.
OICSD received a new scholarship award from Amee Parikh and Akash Prakash from India and Singapore to support the DPhil scholars whose research had been impacted by the pandemic. Amee Parikh is a corporate law and finance consultant with over twenty years’ experience, and is on the board of commercial and not-for-profit organisations. Akash Prakash is the founder and CEO of Amansa Capital Pte Ltd, an investment management firm. Their philanthropic activities are directed through Amansa Social Foundation and they focus on higher education for girls, sustainable investment and impact funding, youth employability and microfinance for women entrepreneurs.
The OICSD celebrated Diwali this year by lighting candles at our rangoli, created by OICSD scholar Aavika and Partnerships Manager Vinita. Later, Somerville's staff and students were greeted at the end of their working days by a Diwali gift of chocolate in their pigeonholes.