Welcome to the latest issue of the OICSD newsletter, featuring quarterly updates on our research, scholarships and seminars.

As the new academic year begins at the University of Oxford, we are pleased to announce that eight new Indian students have joined the OICSD community, having been awarded scholarships by the Centre for postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford. OICSD is currently supporting its largest cohort of 21 scholars, pursuing research on sustainable development and India, for instance on renewable energy, reforestation strategies, electric mobility, among others. Since 2013, the OICSD has funded masters and DPhil degrees for 43 Indian students.

As our cohort of scholars continues to grow each year, we are delighted to announce that Dr Siddharth Arora has joined us as the Programme Director of the OICSD. Dr Arora, along with Research Director Prof Radhika Khosla, will lead the scholarship programme at the OICSD and work toward building a community of students and researchers. In this newsletter, we introduce our new cohort of scholars; spotlight some of our hub activity, including an India and climate change webinar in the lead up to COP26 as well as a hybrid conference on climate change, agriculture and food systems; and showcase upcoming webinars on India’s energy challenge and electricity demand in Indian homes, and more. 

New OICSD Scholars 2021

Karthik GaneshIndira Gandhi Scholar
DPhil candidate in Inorganic Chemistry studying soft chemical routes to Lithium-ion battery cathodes and electrolytes with applications in energy storage.

Snigdha LalIndira Gandhi Scholar
DPhil candidate in Condense Matter Physics, researching the fundamental properties of perovskites which are synthetically formed compounds used in solar cells.

Swapnil TripathiThe Gopal Subramanium Scholar
DPhil candidate in Law focussing on judicial review exercised by the Supreme Court of India.

Sumedha ChakravarthyIndira Gandhi-Radhakrishnan Scholar
MSc candidate in Modern South Asian Studies, studying how diverse communities experience, navigate, and shape contemporary urban landscapes in South Asia.

Mrinalini MitraIndira Gandhi-Radhakrishnan Scholar
MSc candidate in Modern South Asian Studies, studying the role of Mughal gardens as landscapes and settings in miniature paintings.

Sarvatrajit Singh JajmannRatanshaw Bomanji Zaiwalla Scholar
MSc candidate in Law & Finance, exploring the economic interests underpinning corporate decision-making and the legal relations of the corporation with its stakeholders.

Avani AgarwalHSA Advocates Scholar
BCL candidate, studying private international law with an emphasis on dispute resolution.

Shubrojyoti MookherjeeCornelia Sorabji Scholar
BCL candidate, studying corporate governance, regulation, and public law. 

Scholar Spotlight: Apoorva Kulkarni, DPhil candidate in Zoology

Apoorva’s doctoral research focuses on documenting traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of the Kare Vokkal and Siddi tribes habiting the dense rainforests of central Western Ghats of India. She explores the inclusion of this knowledge alongside western scientific ecological knowledge (SEK) for conserving endemic and threatened bird and wild fruit species. She focuses on large fruit-eating birds such as the hornbills and forest pigeons; and the wild fruits harvested by the communities. She is also focusing on preserving the vanishing dialect of Kannada spoken by the Kare Vokkal tribe, through their ecological knowledge documentation and creating field books. Her work explores human-wildlife relationships and the salient factors influencing them for ensuring forest rights and securing sustainable livelihoods for forest-dependent communities.

India and Climate Change COP26 Dialogues

Achieving climate targets require a new level of leadership and accountability especially from businesses – from setting science-based emission reduction targets to ensuring that environmental sustainability is embedded in the entire value chain. Is the majority of Indian business at the cutting edge of leadership on climate action? Why or why not? How might the bulk of Indian businesses embrace such action, in light of both the risks and opportunities posed to them by climate change? In this panel discussion, co-hosted with the High Commission of India, London, Patricia Hewitt, Jamshyd Godrej and Myles Allen discuss these questions and more. Watch the 4-min highlights clip of this engaging discussion here

Food Futures in a Changing Climate

On 3 September, 2021, the OICSD and UPL hosted the inaugural OpenAg Symposium – Food Futures in a Changing Climate – which brought together the private sector, academics, investors, and entrepreneurs to explore a new role for food systems in meeting the climate challenge. In the lead up to the UN Food Systems Summit, COP26 and the UN Biodiversity Conference, the discussions of our panels and speakers present a simple question: who is responsible for making this change happen? 

You can view videos of the full speeches, panels, and closing remarks on our website. Download the conference report here, summarising the keynote speech along with reports from each of our four panels, covering: food systems and climate changebiodiversity and land useagri-technology; and agricultural policies in India. Watch key reflections on the conference in our short video here. To register your interest in future conferences, sign up here

Fourth Annual Virtual Roundtable on Residential Electricity Consumption

The Centre for Policy Research, Prayas (Energy Group), and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Oxford have been holding annual roundtable discussions on India’s residential electricity consumption for the last three years. These discussions aim to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners working on residential electricity demand to substantively share recently completed and on-going work as well as discuss challenges and future directions. This year, the Roundtable included presentations on ‘What drives India’s rural residential electricity demand?‘ and ‘Opportunities for Demand Response in Indian homes.


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