Project Awards Summary, 2018-19

Business, Economics, Law, and Policy

A Conference on the Social and Economic Development of Slums

This conference will bring together experts from the University of Chicago on law, development, housing and land use policy, and urban planning, along with scholars, practitioners, government leaders, and experts from India. The conference will create a dialogue for researchers to present research that is relevant to improving the economic and social development of slums, and for the researchers to learn from the practitioners and other experts about the most pressing policy problems facing Indian slums.

The purpose of the conference is to address policy-relevant questions, highlight recent scholarship, and ensure research is translated for and responsive to practitioners. The conference will cover a range of topics, from migration to slums, to governance of slums, to economic and health outcomes in slums.

The principal faculty organizers of this project include a group of researchers from the University of Chicago—Adam Chilton (Law), Anup Malani (Law) and Austin Wright (Public Policy) in collaboration with the Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research (“PUKAR”), a research collective based in Mumbai.

Designing Scalable Incentives to Combat Diabetes

This project represents an ongoing collaboration between the University of Chicago, MIT, and several institutions in South Asia, in particular, the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN), the Indian School of Business (ISB), and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL).

In 2014, J-PAL launched a partnership with GoTN to evaluate scalable solutions to high-priority problems facing GoTN. One of GoTN’s primary policy priorities was to find effective strategies to combat and manage diabetes. As a result, the researchers worked with GoTN to develop a plan for an incentive intervention that had the potential for high cost-effectiveness and that GoTN would be interested in scaling up if effective. After a plan was developed, GoTN became a project partner, providing both logistical support as well as the primary funding for the project, making this project the first full RCT funded by GoTN as part of the partnership between GoTN and JPAL.

The objective of this project funding is to enable policy dissemination activities to disseminate the results of the RCT throughout India and encourage adoption and scale-up of  incentive interventions; and promotion of  future collaborations with Indian researchers and government partners.

The research team is comprised of both US-based researchers (Rebecca Dizon-Ross at the University of Chicago and Ariel Zucker at MIT) and local researchers (Shilpa Aggarwal at the Indian School of Business).

Culture, Society, Religion and the Arts

Annual India Journalism Week

The inaugural session of this program will include week long sessions focused on journalism ethics, regional media, translation and publishing, political journalism, arts journalism, and science journalism at the Center in Delhi.

The main objective of the grant is to a) affirm the place of journalism in Indian democracy; b) critique the problems facing Indian journalism; c) discuss solutions for strengthening Indian journalism; and d) train future generations of Indian journalists. The target audience would include practicing and aspiring journalists, academics, policymakers, students, UChicago alumni and other affiliates.

Principal Investigators include UChicago Faculty members Jason Grunebaum, William Mazzarella, and Srikanth Reddy who will also be providing, along with colleagues from Academy India, overall intellectual guidance and leadership for the Week. The Academy India Advisory Board comprises Vaiju Naravane (Ashoka University), Zoya Hasan (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Sunil Amrith (Harvard University), Christophe Jaffrelot (Sciences Po, King’s College London), Vasudha Dalmia (University of California, Berkeley), and Jaideep Prabhu (University of Cambridge).

Disentangling Disability and Human Rights: A Workshop and Conference

This project workshop sets out to challenge the assumption that disability in India should be understood and responded to as a rights-based category. As a (post) development state with transnational political and economic ties, India provides an ideal location in which to explore how global discourses are taken up, adapted, or rejected as disabled people seek to create worlds for themselves.

Participants in the workshop and symposium are expected to be interdisciplinary social scientists and humanists who have been approaching disability as methodology, category, and experience in diverse areas of India and are a mixture of junior and senior scholars and independent researchers.

The proposed format is two days of workshops in which participants will present short papers and receive feedback (papers will be pre-circulated, following a format adopted by the Wenner-Gren Foundation in its Anthropology workshops) as well as think together about targeted questions such as the ones outlined above. The third day will be a formal conference featuring prepared talks (revised based on workshop participation during the previous two days) and a roundtable to which students, faculty, and applied NGO and government administrators will be invited.

The principal faculty organizer of this project is Michele Friedner from the University in Chicago in collaboration with James Staples from Brunel University and Nilika Mehrotra from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

South Asian Paleography and Codicology Workshop

This three-day workshop will provide graduate students and early career scholars an opportunity to receive basic training in the paleography and codicology of South Asian material texts, and provide more advanced scholars an opportunity to share approaches, receive feedback on current research, and reflect critically on practices of textual criticism, scholarly editing, book history, and the digital humanities. Participants will interact with scholars working in different languages, regions, time periods, and traditions, making new comparative work possible and establishing a network of scholars working on pre-c olonial material texts. This is therefore intended not as a conference for the presentation of finished research, but as a collaborative heuristic exercise in which junior scholars will learn essential research skills and advanced scholars will gain a comparative perspective, thus enabling a discussion of the modes through which textual scholarship illuminates, but also produces, objects of knowledge.

This workshop is envisioned as part of a continuing effort to build an interdisciplinary community of scholars working on material texts from South Asia and is part of the long-term initiative to develop book history as a discipline in South Asia that began with the workshop, ‘Turning the Page: New Directions in South Asian Book History’, held at the Center in Delhi in March 2017. One of the outcomes of that workshop was a consensus on the need for more opportunities for paleographical and codicological training in South Asia. The proposed workshop is an attempt to address that need.

The principal faculty organizers of this project are Tyler Williams and Thibaut d'Hubert from the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in collaboration with Chandra Sekhar from Department of Persian at Delhi University.

Science, Energy, Medicine and Public Health

Disability-inclusive Compassionate Care: Core competencies on disability for Health Professions Education

People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority and 80% of these individuals live in developing countries. Viewing disability from a human rights perspective involves an evolution in thinking and acting by States and all sectors of society so that persons with disabilities are no longer considered to be recipients of charity or objects of others’ decisions but holders of right. Taking into consideration the recommendations of the World Report and CRPD, this US-India collaboration aims to develop a consensus on the disability competencies that should be acquired by health professionals during training so that they can provide quality and equitable care to patients with disabilities. The collaboration will extensively involve doctors with disabilities and disability rights activists to be truly inclusive.

Expected participants will include a mix of doctors with disabilities, disability rights activists and health professions educators along with policy makers.

Faculty members from the The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago and the University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi) are collaborating on this project.

Data Resources for the Transformation of Indian Cities

Indian cities are projected to become the largest in the world by mid-century. Recently, 90 Indian cities were selected to be part of the new Smart Cities Mission, an urban renewal and retrofitting program sponsored by the Indian Government. The proposed workshop will create a network of leading researchers and institutions from around India to support the design and collection of a new data infrastructure in service of a scientific understanding of Indian Cities and associated Smart Cities Mission. It will create a strategic plan to map the empirical needs of the Smart Cities Mission; specifically, to delineate what data already exists, what needs to be collected, and what knowledge might be created with a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to the gathering and analysis of this information. The goal is to create a shared mechanism by which data for Indian cities can be collected on an ongoing basis that sets and meets the highest internationally standards of data collection for civic statistics, science and policy.

Faculty and scholars from the Manseuto Institute of Urban Innovation at the University of Chicago will be leading the project in collaboration with Ahmedabad University and CEPT.

Annual Symposium on Otolaryngology Updates

The purpose of this Annual Symposium is to establish collaborations, assist in disseminating knowledge, and in promoting research among leading academic Centers and Otolaryngologists of USA and India. Additionally, the Annual Symposium will establish a continued partnership between Indian and American clinical experts and research scientists that will lay the foundation for developing bilateral activities such as exchange of trainees and clinical case presentations, exchange and development of resources such as biospecimen samples, and exchange of expertise that will extend studies on head and neck cancers beyond what individual labs can achieve. These activities would position the current partnership among the leading groups studying these otolaryngology diseases worldwide, and generate large synergies to build future work.

The main focus of the 2018 Conference will be uniform application of guidelines in the management of laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer in both early and late stages as well as an introduction to new cutting-edge techniques in cancer treatment. The symposium will also discuss treatment of early cancers of the larynx including the use of the KTP laser as well as advances in exposure techniques in laryngoscopy. New treatment techniques have changed the way early cancers can be managed endoscopically and provide and alternatives to traditional treatment with radiation therapy with equivalent voice preservation and survival outcomes

The exchange of ideas during this proposed collaboration will lead to better management of patients suffering from these cancers in India. Furthermore, this symposium will open up collaborative research opportunities between University of Delhi and University of Chicago.

The principal faculty organizer for this symposium isD r. Nishant Agrawal, Professor of Surgery and Section Chief, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago in collaboration with Dr. Vipin Arora, Professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at University Hospital of Delhi University, Delhi, India.

Interdisciplinary Global Environmental Health Collaborations

Energy poverty causes half of the world’s population, and up to 95 percent of households in low to middle income countries (LMIC), to use solid fuels including biomass (e.g., wood, dung, and agricultural residues) and coal, to meet their energy needs. Use of these fuels generates household air pollution (HAP) comprised of toxic pollutants including hazardous particles, and toxic gases. High concentrations of HAP from solid fuel smoke have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health consequences, resulting in an estimated 3.5 million premature deaths and 110 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) annually.

This proposed workshop seeks to convene academics from the University of Chicago and global partners (especially from India and Bangladesh), policy makers, and practitioners to identify and create innovative solutions to complex challenges, building engines for better health and a cleaner environment. The aim to leverage institutional and international strengths in the biological, environmental, economics, computational, and social sciences, to develop partnerships with local stakeholders, decision makers, and service delivery partners, to discuss adverse effects of environmental exposures, and to create interdisciplinary solutions to these complex problems.

Faculty members from The Center for Global Health (CGH) and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) in collaboration with Manipal University will be engaged in this project.

Proposal for a Fourth India-UChicago Cancer Workshop-Research Initiative

The UChicago Center in Delhi hosted meetings on “The Formation of a Strategic Partnership in Cancer Research” , organized by Professor Marsha Rosner (University of Chicago) and Professor Partha Majumder (National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, NIBMG), India in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Ultimately, the organizers’ goal is to leverage respective strengths in the areas of genomics, signal transduction, big data analysis, and targeted therapies to advance novel research that will not only have immediate application to cancer diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic treatment, but will also serve as a model for addressing other diseases.

The overall objective of all workshops is to develop a simple point-of-care blood test (similar to glucose monitoring by diabetic patients) that is cheap, reliable and efficient for both diagnosis and monitoring therapeutic response for breast cancer patients in India. The analysis of exosomes (key aim of this workshop) has potential as a breast cancer point-of-care test and should lead to the development of effective, minimally invasive methods for diagnosis and prognosis of cancer from patient blood samples. The results of these studies will provide a basis for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, and monitoring treatment.

Assessing the Impact of Anti-Trafficking 'Raid and Rescue' in Andhra Pradesh

This research project seeks to understand how cisgender female sex workers as well as their community-based organizations in Andhra Pradesh have been impacted by recent shifts in transnational development agendas that once sought to empower them through strategies of collectivization but that now increasingly hail them as victims of trafficking in need of rescue and rehabilitation.

Key questions that that the project will answer include the rates of forced rescue and rehabilitation versus the rates of consensual rescue and rehabilitation: What percentage of the women picked up by police in anti-trafficking operations dispute the label of victim of trafficking? What percentage of them welcome rescue? How do women perceive their treatment inside shelter homes? What specific kinds of rehabilitation services are being offered to women while inside according to the women themselves? How long are most rescued women kept in a shelter home before they are able to exit? How do they manage to procure a release order from the courts? What happens to their children and other dependents while they are kept in the shelters? What happens to them when they are released? What percentage of them return to selling sex after undergoing mandated rehabilitation?

The principal faculty organizers of this project are John Schneider (University of Chicago), Kimberly Walters (CSULB), and Meera Raghavendra of the organization Women’s Initiatives for Gender Equality and Diverse Sexuality (WINS) in Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh, India

Clinical Ethics training for healthcare providers in India: building networks

To date, clinical medical ethics has primarily been a field that is applied in developed countries. The mission of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago is to promote and expand the field of Clinical Medical Ethics globally, through teaching, research and clinical care (including ethics consultations), in order to improve both individual patient care and population health. Clinical ethics is in its infancy in India which is also a major hub for medical tourism. The main hurdle is a lack of trained clinicians to teach clinical ethics. The proposed collaboration is aimed at strengthening capacity building and thereby helping to develop the field of clinical medical ethics in India.

Key institutions engaged in this above collaboration include The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago; the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago  the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) and University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi).

Examining the Role of Professional Medical Associations in Health Policymaking: A Cross-Case Comparison of the Indian Medical Association and the American Medical Association

Professional medical associations play a major role in shaping and influencing population health around the world. However, research on these associations in the context of low- and middle-income countries, including India, has been scarce. This project aims to develop theory on the policy influence of professional medical associations in India and the U.S. through joint research, and through the identification and initiation of new collaborations between University of Chicago and Indian institutions.

Additional objectives of the project include building partnerships that will foster and grow a collaboration around the role of professional medical associations in health policymaking; initiating an empirically-driven comparative analysis of professional medical associations in India and the United States using a comparison of the Indian Medical Association and American Medical Association; and sparking a broader conversation about the role of professional medical associations in the Indian health sector.

The principal faculty organizers of this project include University of Chicago (David Meltzer and Veena Sriram) and Azim Premji University (Arima Mishra).

Collaborative Pediatric Neuroradiology Symposium

This symposium is a joint effort by pediatric neuroradiologists from the University of Chicago Department of Radiology and a few select academic neuroradiologists locally in India. The purpose of the event is to showcase a variety of interesting topics in the field, ranging from an early glimpse at the central nervous system with fetal imaging, to congenital anomalies of the brain and spine, to acquired abnormalities in the head and neck. This collaborative event will promote use of advanced imaging techniques, include interactive case-based sessions, as well as provide an overview on the exciting field of use of simulation in radiology especially in the context of pediatric contrast reaction management training. A key objective is to promote the exchange of knowledge and professional experiences of pediatric neuroscience clinicians from the United States and South Asia.

The target audience would include neuroscience clinicians, especially those subspecialized in pediatrics; radiologists, both faculty and trainees; as well as local university medical school/hospital alumni.

The principal faculty organizers of this project are Dr. Carina Yang & Dr. Greg Katzman from the University of Chicago in collaboration with Dr. Gaurav Goel from Medanta Hospital in Delhi.