IndOx Funded Projects

Since launching in February 2020, IndOx has funded a number of projects focussing on India and the subcontinent.

To apply for funding through our current small grants programme for research travel, to host visiting academics at Oxford, or for collaboration with cultural partner(s), see details on our Funding page.

2020-21 Funding Programmes

In the 2020-21 academic year, with support from the University of Oxford’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), IndOx was able to offer three funding programmes to support India and subcontinent focussed research and collaborative exchange.

1. GCRF-IndOx Thematic Workshops - Oxford

The Oxford-based workshops supported by this scheme were:

Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Empowering Women and Girls

[Lead applicants: Faisal Devji & Senthil Vasan; Amount: £1,500]

The central focus of this workshop was gender inequality, which remains a major barrier to human development. Women and girls are discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labour market, etc. resulting in negative consequences for reaching their potential and their freedom of choice. Women’s empowerment and abolishing negative traditional gender stereotypes are key to achieving gender equality.

The overall theme was ‘Women and Girls’ underpinned by ‘Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’. Sub-themes included:

1. Violence against women - India is confronting the challenge of violence against women. In 2016 almost a third of crimes reported against women in India was cruelty or physical violence by the husband or his relative. The Government of India has identified ending violence against women as a key national priority.

2. Mental Health is a prerequisite for physical health, and interlinked with factors such as poverty, work and economic growth or peace and justice. As a cross-cutting issue mental health has relevance across the whole range of development.

Contributors were selected following a scoping exercise of researchers from a range of disciplines. The majority were working in areas related to women and girls primarily with a focus on India.

Heritage and enquiry-based learning in urban Primary schools in India

[Lead applicants: Steven Puttick & Camillo Formigati; Amount: £1,500]

This workshop brought together international contributors from multiple disciplines to explore questions around heritage and enquiry-based education in urban primary schools in India. The selected contributors brought significant recent experiences and expertise, and this workshop created opportunities to think creatively across these projects and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to address cross-cutting themes of heritage (tangible and intangible) and education (including curriculum and teacher professional development) to realise the significant potential of urban heritage as a stimulus for rich and engaging curriculum development. In particular, this workshop created the opportunity for dialogue between emerging findings from ongoing GCRF-funded work examining: oral language development under the particular complexities of multilingual urban poor settings in India; and digital walks of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of migrant and diaspora communities along the Hooghly riverfront in Kolkata.

2. GCRF-IndOx Thematic Workshops - India

The workshops supported by this scheme included:

Conviviality within Indian Megacities: interpreting urban spatiality for people, waste and animals (The People, Animal and Waste Systems’ Web (PAWS-Web) Project)

[Lead Applicants: Nishant Kumar & Greger Larson; Amount: £15,000]

The central focus of this workshop was the rapid urbanization of tropical megacities and massively increasing compostable waste (acting as a food-subsidy for animals) create huge potential for new interactions between the free-ranging and domestic animals, and humans. This raised two critical questions, 1. How specifically do urban animals thrive on anthropogenic-resources in tropical megacities? and 2. Under what conditions are these human-waste-animal interactions a cause of concern? These questions addressed several SDGs concerning urban growth. Urban South Asia has the highest burden of diseases that spill across the human-animal barrier (zoonoses), complemented by poor solid waste management, livestock rearing alongside commensals in damp, cramped environments, replete with garbage and animal waste.

However, the absence of a platform for cross-disciplinary dialogues between various stakeholders to develop a historical and current understanding of urban space and waste precluded the improvement of solid-waste management and the mitigation of human-animal conflicts.

Various citizen-stakeholders, and non-human co-inhabitants within South Asian cities reel under the competition for resources within the finitude of ‘available-urban-space’. A research conversation was urgently needed between multiple contributors (stakeholders) who either study, manage, and/or constitute the urban. To maintain diversity in the interpretations of ‘urban space’ and ‘waste’, the core emphasis was on:

1. Human interpretation(s) and governance of urban space contextualising (i) waste areas and (ii) animal areas

2. Behavioural co-option by urban animal populations whose successful coexistence with humans features in folk biology of South Asia

3. Contextualising human mediation (waste and ritual-food-subsidies) that promotes proximity to animals: It begets conflicts and supplicates zoonosis, adding to the urban precarity of poor people. Are there impacts on other stakeholders, in terms of disease-networks nested within disease-vector networks?

4. Blueprint for actionable research to combat urban conflicts over space and waste, and zoonoses.

The PAWS-Web research network is now a multi-institutional and multi-national team of more than 25 experts and trainees from 20+ institutions. This team is comprised of a network of stakeholders (academicians, practitioners and administrators) to address contested spatiality between People, Animals and Waste Systems for actionable research.

  • United Kingdom: Oxbridge, UCL, Univ. of Edinburgh, Univ. of East Anglia, Royal Veterinary College
  • United States: Univ. of Chicago
  • India: Wildlife Institute of India, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune, Delhi Municipal Corporation, CSDS Delhi, Govt. of Haryana, Tata Institute of Social Science- Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Technology- Delhi, Indian Institute of Management- Ahmadabad
  • Kenya: KMERI Wellcome Trust UK research Centre, Nairobi
  • Australia: Australian National University and University of Technology, Sydney

Project website: www.PAWS-Web.site

Green Amonia: Production and use in India 

[Lead applicants: Richard Nayak-Luke & Sugandha Srivastav. Amount: £9,200]

This workshop focussed on the integration of an emerging green technology in India to reduce emissions from the fertiliser and electricity sectors, and promote sustainable development. Food and energy intertwine closely with politics, economy, and welfare, and so the workshop covered interdisciplinary approaches.

The Cancer Control Continuum and India: developing a strategy to move forward

[Lead applicants: Toral Gathani and Premila Webster. Amount: £15,000]

The cancer control continuum describes the various points of the cancer pathway i.e. aetiology, prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and end of life and a useful framework to identify and prioritise gaps and unmet local need across the whole spectrum of care. The cancer burden in India is rising fast and is associated with poor survival rates and poses a complex and urgent public health challenge which will require innovative solutions to address.

Effective solutions which are implementable and sustainable, and seek to reduce death and disability from cancer, are most likely to emerge from large scale rigorous interdisciplinary research involving several fields which include but are not limited to medicine, epidemiology, statistics, public policy, healthcare systems, health economics, education and health technology. Additionally, highlighting the cancer challenge and effectively disseminating outputs from research to the public and other relevant stakeholders requires conscious engagement with journalists and writers.

The broad themes of the workshop focussed on the seven different points of the cancer control continuum described above and were tackled from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a view to the discussion generating specific research ideas and themes that could be taken forward.

Sustainable development and reducing inequalities - an Interdisciplinary Initiative (follow-on funding)

[Lead applicants: Faisal Devji & Premila Webster. Amount: £15,000]

The workshop in India was a follow-on from the Oxford workshop bringing together eminent Indian scholars and inter-disciplinary researchers from India and the UK to gain an understanding of the historical, cultural, health, environmental and policy domains. This workshop sought to determine what data is collected/available, interventions that have worked, etc. and help generate research ideas taking a systems approach based on need and underpinned by evidence and local knowledge. Through this, appropriate research questions, priority areas and appropriate inter-disciplinary teams could then be identified for collaborative and meaningful research benefitting India and contributing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as reducing inequality underpins all the SDGs.

Heritage and enquiry-based learning in urban Primary schools in India (follow-on funding)

[Lead applicants: Steven Puttick & Camillo Formigati; Amount: £5,000]

A two-day workshop building on an ongoing IndOx GCRF-funded project exploring heritage and enquiry-based learning in urban primary schools in India through an Oxford-based workshop (27th February 2020). This work drew together emerging findings from ongoing GCRF-funded work examining: oral language development under the particular complexities of multilingual urban poor settings in India (ESRC/GCRF); digital walks of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of migrant and diaspora communities along the Hooghly riverfront in Kolkata (AHRC/GCRF), and the SuTRA (Supporting Teachers with Resources and Art) project.

This workshop sought to take forward this work through close collaboration with India-based partners, bringing together international contributors from multiple disciplines, and including academics, teachers, NGO and SME partners to explore questions around heritage and enquiry-based education in urban primary schools in India. The contributors brought significant recent experiences and expertise, and this workshop created opportunities to think creatively across multiple projects and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to address crosscutting themes of heritage (tangible and intangible) and education (including curriculum and teacher professional development) to realise the significant potential of urban heritage as a stimulus for rich and engaging curriculum development.

3. GCRF-IndOx Collaboration Building Grants

This was an internal funding call for University of Oxford researchers. Through these grants, with support from the GCRF, IndOx provided funding for proposals that would lay the foundation for future collaborative Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) relevant research funding applications to internal and external funding bodies.

The purpose of the funding was to support relevant proposals for research and/or academic collaboration building activities with the Indian subcontinent. Funding of up to a maximum of £5,000 each was available to support collaboration building activities including research visits to the Indian subcontinent or to the University of Oxford or both, as was required.

The projects granted funding through this scheme included:

Street-smartness in people and stray-dogs 

[Lead Applicants: Ben Sheldon, Nishant Kumar & Greger Larson; Amount: £5,000]

This project explored how centuries of coexistence between humans and other animals like dogs and kites have tied urban ecology of commensals with religiously founded patronage and ritual animal feeding by people. The project was broadly interested in (i) understanding the socioeconomic impacts of feral and urban wildlife with the aim of maintaining a disease-free, sustainable, and species-diverse urban scavenging ecosystem services provided by opportunistic commensals, and (ii) how their biocultural links are vital for a sustainable urban future in South Asia.

Social Policy and Environmental Health in India

[Lead Applicants: Aaron Reeves & Carolin Kroeger; Amount: £216.80]