Research Centres

Multidisciplinary undertakings bringing together theoretical and practical excellence to socially pressing and relevant concerns. 

At the University, our research is focused on questions of India’s futures and is allied to our vision of a just, equitable, humane, and sustainable society. The emphasis of the Research Centre is on contributing to practice on the ground in India’s vast social sector, and high-quality academic scholarship in the areas of development, education, public policy, governance, sustainability, and equity.

The Research Centre facilitates research by all members of the Foundation. From the frontline work of the Foundation on the ground, we collate research to help our stakeholders understand the real issues in education. We bring together researchers from the University and outside to foster collaborative work. Our work is deeply rooted in the field, and we produce research in the form of scholarly articles to writing for the public, including books for children. 

Our specialised Centres work on the most socially pressing and relevant concerns of India today. They are multidisciplinary undertakings and bring together theoretical and practical excellence. Our three Centres at present address questions that relate to climate change and sustainability, sustainable employment, and concerns of local democracy. 

Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability

The Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability seeks to strengthen India’s response to the climate crisis. Set up in 2019, the Centre uses research, education, and sustainability action to address challenges of climate change. This includes research on climate change and urban sustainability, which led to the publication of a number of books, research papers and popular articles – as well as the fostering of research-inspired climate action through an annual call for external research proposals on climate change and sustainability.

Recent publications from the Centre include Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities, a book that draws attention to the importance of nature in cities, which received the Publishing Next Industry 2020 Award for best Printed Book of the Year. An illustrated bilingual (Kannada-English, and Hindi-English) booklet on urban commons Where have all our Gunda thopes gone’, based on the research of the Centre, is now in 6400 panchayat libraries across Karnataka along with a teaching activities booklet for teachers to use along with the book. 

The Centre runs a number of sustainability webinar series, Seeking Sustainability’, with monthly discussions on Nature in the City’ and Nature Writing for Children’ on the University’s YouTube channel, that deepen the engagement with nature across different age groups. 

A current focus of the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability is to bring out a report of climate forecasts for near- and medium-term futures, which can help feed into local policies for climate adaptation. Future plans include the development of short courses on climate communication for media practitioners and on climate-resilient urban planning for city planners, as well as setting up a climate experience centre showcasing inter-connections between climate change and sustainability at the University campus in Bengaluru. 

Centre for Sustainable Employment

The Centre for Sustainable Employment was established in 2017 with the aim of generating and supporting research in the areas of job creation, employment, and sustainable livelihoods. In 2018, the Centre released the first State of Working India (SWI) report providing a comprehensive overview of India’s labour market. Since then, the Centre has released two more State of Working India reports. SWI 2019 put together four policy papers to examine the possibilities for employment creation through an Urban Jobs Guarantee Programme and Universal Basic Services provisioning while demonstrating the scope for fiscal expansion and imperative need for a well-articulated industrial policy. SWI 2021 looked at the devastating impact of the pandemic on India’s labour market including the disproportionate impact on women, young workers, and the implications for poverty and inequality in the country. 

Besides the SWI reports, the Centre regularly publishes work on issues addressing India’s employment challenges. These have featured as working papers, collaborative reports and articles in popular media. The Centre is also involved in conducting primary surveys exploring a range of labour market issues including measurement of work, discrimination in the labour market, the impact of COVID-19 on workers, NREGA and Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme. 

The Centre fosters fresh and creative research anchored in the real-world but not bound to any ideological pre-commitment except the right of every Indian to lead a secure, dignified life in a just and sustainable way. In doing so, the Centre commits to a vision of decent work and regular incomes for all. 

Centre for Local Democracy

The Centre for Local Democracy came into existence in 2020

The Centre hosts the research grants of the Foundation on the same subject; the first cycle of the grant has already been released in 2021, and the second cycle is underway. 

The Centre is spearheading a local democracy narrative building pilot project in Jharkhand to create and disseminate inspiring stories of local democratic practices and development. 

The Centre has started offering a Continuing Education course named Local Democracy: Theory, Policy and Practice, from February 2021. The course has been designed to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of the key issues related to local democracy.

The work of widening and deepening local democracy on the ground in six states is going on together with seven partner organisations.

  • Logo of Centre for Sustainable Employment

    Centre for Sustainable Employment

    Generating and supporting research in the areas of job creation, employment, and sustainable livelihoods.


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  • Logo of Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability

    Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability

    Strengthening India’s response to the climate crisis


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  • Logo of Centre for Local Democracy

    Centre for Local Democracy

    Enriching local democracy initiatives through public participation


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