Our research is clustered around three cross-cutting themes — technology & society, sustainability transitions and reflexive governance.

Technology & Society

Emerging technologies are rapidly disrupting existing societal patterns. Yet, the poor have limited access to even basic technologies and economies are locked into unsustainable technological systems.

Social Dimensions of Technology Transitions

Societal outcomes of technological change remain poorly understood and are rarely incorporated into planning processes. Explicit policies are needed to ensure that technological trajectories are sensitive to the impact of technology on social relationships and governance structures.

Governance of Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and biotech pose complex and unique governance challenges. Technological advancement typically outpaces regulatory regimes, while the profound societal and environmental impacts of these technologies remain uncertain and unpredictable.

Access to Technology Gains

Ensuring equality of access to technology gains is a major challenge. It is necessary to investigate who benefits from technology, how and at what cost. Policies are needed to promote technological applications for the development needs of the poor and support access.

Hybrid Knowledge Systems

It is critical to ensure the survival of alternative forms of knowledge and traditional technologies and tools. Indian culture is a repository of significant alternative forms of knowledge pertaining to agriculture, water use, forest management, health, and textiles, among others. Integrating traditional knowledge systems with contemporary applications is a complex process.

Sustainability Transitions

The sustainability challenge will require major transformations in deeply entrenched political and socio-economic systems to balance societal and environmental needs.

Future of Cities

By 2030 40% of India will be urban. In addition to socio - economic and demographic trends, the negative impacts of climate change on rural agriculture based livelihoods are likely to drive migration to urban centers. How can cities be developed to be not only smart, but also inclusive and environmentally resilient?

Risk to Resilience

Vulnerable communities living on marginal lands and informal settlements face multiple challenges in their everyday life which restrict their adaptive capacities to shocks. How can we support resilience to a range of possible stresses and in particular related to climate change?

Localising SDGs with Design Thinking

Top-down approaches alone are inadequate for realising the SDGs.Change will have to be stewarded across multiple inter- locking levels and stakeholders. Design thinking puts end- users’ needs at the centre of the policy formulation system; scoping objectives and clarifying strategies through human-centered processes.

Culture & Public Action

Social and cultural factors shape human choice and behaviour. Any major required public action must be sensitive to cultural factors in order to succeed. An interdisciplinary perspective on human behaviour is thus required, and can provide new tools for development policy.

Reflexive Governance

Current governance arrangements are ill-equipped to manage global commons and new forms of risk. Alternative frameworks that are reflexive and polycentric are urgently required.

Managing Transnational Risk

Existing governance arrangements are proving inadequate to respond effectively to transnational and systemic risks. Alternative governance arrangements need to explored, specifically modular and dispersed arrangements realised through participatory decision making and information dissemination.

Polycentric governance & Climate Change

We enroll theoretical insights from Elinor Ostrom’s pioneering work on polycentric institutions to understand how a new, more flexible and transformative climate regime can be built around the Paris agreement.

Global Fragility & Mobility

A growing number of states are characterized by chronic fragility, with weak governance leading to an inability or unwillingness to ensure the most fundamental human rights of citizens.Concurrently, there is greater human mobility than ever before. Global migration will continue to increase, particularly within the global south where political and ecological systems are already under stress.

Inclusive Digital Economies

We take an ecological approach to understanding the impact of digital technologies and the required governance arrangements, with a particular focus on issues of labor and social protection, global platforms and standard-setting, data ownership and privacy, and environmental impact.