New School@IITD: School of Public Policy

The School of Public Policy (SPP) at IIT Delhi is a new academic entity at IITD Delhi that is part of the Institute’s efforts towards greater positive societal engagement. The faculty recruitment drive is in full steam for the School, which is aimed at generating knowledge and training personnel to contribute to policy-making that makes better use of S&T to address the major societal challenges facing the country.

Head, SPP, Prof Ambuj Sagar in an interaction with Dr Vanita Srivastava of the Communication Cell:

What will be the main focus of the School?

The School will be a different kind of entity than the others at IIT Delhi in that it will specifically focus on research, education & training, and outreach on Public Policy. Our focus is going to be on issues that lie at the intersection of science and technology (S&T) and development. The fact is that as a country, we have to find ways to better use S&T to address the numerous major challenges facing the country. This may include improving government policies to support the generation of S&T based solutions, for example, through enhanced translation of academic knowledge to application in areas such as energy, environment and health or through the development of strategic programs to enhance industrial competitiveness through stronger interactions between industry and academia.
In some sense, we also expect to become a bridge between IIT Delhi and the government agencies extensively involved in solving big societal challenges.

How will the School help build the academic ecosystem of IIT Delhi?

We find that a greater number of students are interested in questions related to policy. We expect to add to the educational opportunities available to these students, whether it is adding to their existing programs (as for undergraduates) or opening up altogether new avenues for graduate training. The SPP also will enrich the research ecosystem of IIT Delhi through not only its own research but also collaborative work with colleagues from across the Institute. Our intention is to have a global presence and we will strive to have partnership with international institutions. Thus we will both expand and enrich the academic ecosystem at IIT Delhi.

What kind of programmes will be offered at the School?

As we build up the school, we will have courses for undergraduate that allow them to gain an exposure to the area of public policy; over time, we also will have a minor program in public policy. Core courses for such a minor will be designed in collaboration with various departments to enhance the general education of undergraduate students by ensuring that they have basic exposure to, and familiarity with, policy, legal, and societal aspects of science and technology issues. We also intend to have Masters and PhD programmes. Besides, there are also plans to develop professional/mid-career training programs. Some of the courses in these programs may well be co-taught with colleagues in other units.
Courses that might be offered include science, technology, and sustainable development; industrial organization and innovation; health systems and innovations; science, technology, and the future of agriculture; information infrastructure policy; energy and environment policy; climate change policy; and technology and governance.

What will be the thrust areas of research?

The School will focus on six broad overlapping topics that are of great importance to the country: energy and environment; health innovations and systems; sustainable habitats; agriculture, food, and water; industry and economy; and internet, digital information and society. At the same time, the School will also explore cross-cutting themes of technical higher education as well as examine various facets of STI policies, processes, institutions, governance, and societal acceptance. We also anticipate adding other areas as the School develops, the faculty’s research interests evolve, and new scholars join the group.