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Manu V. Mathai

Email: [email protected]

Manu's teaching and research intersects themes of (energy) policy and governance, (energy) technology choice and sustainability. His work explores alternatives to the development status quo for realising greater fairness in human well-being outcomes within the constraints of ecological finitude. In terms of methodology, his interdisciplinary training in the social and natural sciences have rendered him appreciative of an inclusive approach. Manu has previously taught at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the United Nations University and the Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He was a Research Associate at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware.

Academic Qualifications
  • Ph.D. (Energy and Environmental Policy) Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware, USA
  • M.P.P. (International Development and Environmental Policy) School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, USA
  • M. Sc. (Wildlife Science) Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, India
  • B. Sc. (Environmental Science, Chemistry and Zoology) St. Joseph's College, Bangalore University, India

2014 - Present

  • Ecology and Development in India (MA Development, core course)
  • Energy, Environment and Social Change (MA Development, elective course)
  • Sustainability in Planning and Practice(MA Development, elective course)
  • Exploring Sustainability in the Indian Context (Online Course, co-developed and co-taught)
  • Development and Change in India: Critical and Constructive Perspectives (Course for development practitioners, co-developed and co-taught)

2011- 14 (Institute of Advanced Studies, United Nations University)

  • Political Economy of Sustainable Development (core course; co-taught)
  • Research Methods (core course; co-taught)

2010-11 (Rochester Institute of Technology)

  • Science, Technology and Values
  • Energy and Environment
  • Foundations of Public Policy
  • Technology Innovation and Public Policy
  • Engineering and Public Policy
Areas of Interest

Renewable energy; nuclear power; human development and capability approach; local governance; green economy; technology, environment and society studies; geopolitics and sustainability

Research Interests

Present research interests include:

Critical analysis of "Green Growth","Green Economy" and "Green Energy" narratives, such as those around utility scale solar and nuclear power.

Documentation of "alternative" energy initiatives, such as community scale solar micro grids.

Political economy of systems of sustainable production and consumption.

Manu's earlier work has included a study of India's economic development discourse and its proposal of civilian nuclear power as a "green" alternative. He has attempted to articulate the idea of "sustainable structures of living together" by drawing on diverse literatures including STS, development studies and energy policy and planning. Manu was an early student of extending the human development and capability approach to address questions of environmental sustainability. Other completed projects include a review of the global status of solar energy technologies, policies and markets; research and advocacy around brown fields redevelopment and environmental and energy justice issues in Wilmington, Delaware (USA); and a study of the effects of human use of dry-deciduous forests (of Panna National Park) on the distribution of tiger prey species within the habitat.


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Publications and Writings


Mathai, M.V. (2013). Nuclear Power, Economic Development Discourse and the Environment: The Case of India. New York and London: Routledge.

Edited Book

Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (Eds.) (2016). Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives. London: Zed Books.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • Mathai, M. V. , Puppim de Oliveira, J., & Dale, G. (2018). The Rise and Flaws of Green Growth. APN Science Bulletin, 8(1). doi:10.30852/sb.2018.359
  • Mathai, M. V. (2018). Approaching Sufficiency in the Global South. In Leida Rijnhout and Riccardo Mastini (Eds.), Sufficiency: Moving Beyond the Gospel of Eco-Efficiency. Brussels: Friends of the Earth Europe.
  • Mathai, M. V. & Narayan, P. S. (2017). The Paris Climate Change Agreement and after. Current Science Vol. 112, No. 6., pp. 1099-1100.
  • Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (2016). Introduction. In Dale, G., Mathai, M.V., & Puppim de Oliveira, J.A. (Eds.) Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives. London: Zed Books.
  • Mathai, M. V. & Kartikasari, K. (2015) Institutional Framework for Low-Carbon Urban Infrastructure Investment: Some Evidence and Lessons from DKI Jakarta, Indonesia, Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 14(2), 319-349, DOI: 10.1080/15339114.2015.1059056
    Available at:
  • Gasparatos, A., von Maltitz G.P., Johnson, F.X., Lee, L., Mathai, M., Puppim de Oliveira, J.A., & Willis, K.J. (2015) Biofuels in sub-Sahara Africa: Drivers, impacts and priority policy areas. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 45 (2015) 879-901.
  • Ahmad, S., Mathai, M. V. & Parayil, G. (2014) Household Electricity Access, Availability and Human Well-being: Evidence from India. Energy Policy 69, (June), 308-315.
  • Gasparatos, A., Lee, L., von Maltitz, G., Mathai, M.V., de Oliveira, J. A. P., Johnson, F. X., & Willis, K. J. (2013) International and the National Policy Interventions for Catalyzing Biofuel Sustainability in Sub-Sahara Africa. Environmental Policy and Law 43(4-5), pp 216 - 221.
  • Mathai, M.V., & Parayil, G. (2012). Toward Equity and Sustainability in the "Green Economy." In Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira (Ed.). Green Economy and Good Governance for Sustainable Development: Opportunities, Promises and Concerns, Tokyo: UNU Press.
  • Mathai, M.V. (2012). Towards a Sustainable Synergy: End-Use Energy Planning, Development as Freedom, Inclusive Institutions and Democratic Technics. In Ilse Oosterlaken and Jeroen van den Hoven (eds.). The Capability Approach, Technology and Design. Philosophy of Engineering and Technology Book Series. Vol. 5, pp 87-112. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Mathai, M.V. (2009). Elements of an Alternative to Nuclear Power as a Response to the Energy-Environment Crisis in India: Development as Freedom and a Sustainable Energy Utility. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, 29 (2), 139-150.

Conference Papers

  • Mathai, M. V. (2018). Effecting Alternative Development: Imagination and Practice. Paper presented at the The Third International Symposium on Development and Governance in the BRICS. Sao Paulo, December, 2018.
  • Mathai, M. V. (2018). "Sustainable Structures of Living Together" for Imagining Degrowth in Energy Policy. Paper presented at the First North-South Conference on Degrowth. Mexico City, September, 2018.
  • Mathai, M.V. & Parayil, G. (2014) "Power, Nuclear Power and the Environment: Normative and Policy Dilemmas Confronting South Asia and Beyond". Center for South Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, April 15-17th.
  • Mathai, M.V., Parayil, G., & Suwa, A. (2013). A Framework for Developing Governance Indicators for a Low Carbon Societies Context in Asia: Transition or Continuity? Semi- plenary II, Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference (28-31st January 2013).
  • Jani, O., Byrne, J., Mathai, M. V., Kumar, A., & Buch, V. (2009). A Sustainable Photovoltaic Roadmap and Policy Initiative for Gujarat, India. 18th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference and Exhibition, Kolkata, India.
  • Scoltes, F., & Mathai, M.V. (2005). The Capability Approach as a Response to the Environment-Development Crisis. Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA) Strategy Workshop, May, University of Maryland at College Park, MD, USA.
  • Mathai, M.V. (2004). Exploring Freedom In a Global Ecology: Sen's Capability Approach as a response to the Development-Environment Crisis. 4th International Conference on the Capability Approach: Enhancing Human Security, University of Pavia, Italy. (5-7th September 2004).
  • Mathai, M.V. (2003). Case Studies: Observations on Operationalizing Sen's Capability Approach. 3rd Conference on the Capability Approach: From Sustainable Development to Sustainable Freedom, University of Pavia, Italy. (7-9th September 2003).

Project reports

  • Chandran, R., Chong, N.S.T., Doll, C.N.H., Lee, L.Y., Mathai, M.V., Nguyen, K. and Parayil, G. (2013). Bytes Beyond Borders: Strengthening Transboundary Information Sharing on Wildlife Crime through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System (WEMS) Initiative. Policy Brief (pp. 8). United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama.
  • Gasparatos, A., Lee, Y. L., von Maltitz, G. P., Mathai, M. V., Puppim de Oliveira, J. A., & Willis, K. J. (2012). Biofuels in Africa: Impacts on Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Human Well-being. United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies.
  • Byrne, J., Kurdgelashvilli, K., Mathai, M.V., Kumar, K., Yu, J-M, Zhang, X., Tian, J., Rickerson, W. (2010). World Solar Energy Review: Technology, Markets and Policies. Newark, DE: Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware.
  • As drafting committee member. (2009). Delaware Energy Plan. The Governor's Energy Advisory Council. Dover, Delaware.
  • Roe, A., Mathai, M.V., Boekhold, van B., Kasper, D., & Kuholski, K. (2008-2009). Knowledge of Power - Energy Education Series. Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, Newark, DE. [A set of 4 presentations, a workbook and a board game, covering energy basics, efficiency and conservation.]
  • Roe, A., Mathai, M.V., Byrne, J., Lake, K., & Gunter, B. (2006). UHELP Responds to Community Health and Environmental Needs. Newark, DE: Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware.
  • Prepared by Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP). (2005) Cooperation in Sustainable Energy Technology Development: U.S. Activities in South and Southeast Asia. Country-by-Country Reports.

Other Articles

Completed Projects

Training workshop and edited volume on "Green growth: Political ideology, political economy and policy alternatives." Funded by Asia Pacific Network - Global Change Research (APN-GCR) Scientific Capacity Development (CAPaBLE) Grant.

Manu Mathai Faculty At Azim Premji University


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