IIT Delhi, Tata Trusts join hands to scale up Institute’s new School of Public Policy


New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) and the Tata Trusts announced a major partnership through which the recently established IITD School of Public Policy, the first of its kind in India, will become a world-class hub of public policy research and education on issues at the intersection of science and technology (S&T) and development.

The School intends to contribute to improved policy-making such that the Indian S&T enterprise can better meet the country’s developmental priorities and also address major global challenges. The partnership with the Tata Trusts will significantly strengthen the School to achieve this vision by enhancing its intellectual ecosystem and its effectiveness to engage with existing and emerging policy issues.

The School is in the process of recruiting its first crop of faculty members. To begin with, it is focusing on six broad overlapping topics: internet, digital information and society; industry and economy; energy and environment; agriculture, food, and water; health innovations and systems; and sustainable habitats. The School will also explore cross-cutting themes of technical higher education as well as examine various facets of science, technology and innovation policies, processes, institutions, governance, and societal acceptance.

The School will offer its own programmes at the graduate levels, contribute to the IITD undergraduate education, and also provide training opportunities for practitioners.

The Director of IITD, Prof. Ramgopal Rao, said: “We at IIT Delhi are extremely excited about this partnership with the Tata Trusts which have a long-standing history of supporting higher education and research in the country. We are grateful for their support, which will significantly bolster and accelerate our efforts to establish the School of Public Policy as the country’s leading centre of research, education and engagement on the role of public policy in better harnessing science, technology, and innovation to address the major challenges of our times. IIT Delhi, named recently as an Institution of Eminence, has a robust tradition of being on the cutting edge of science and engineering education and research in the country. We see a modern and dynamic School of Public Policy as an essential and, in fact, central plank of our intention to transform and enhance our intellectual ecosystem and position us to better engage with the scientific and technological opportunities and societal challenges of the 21st century.”

The intellectual richness of IITD’s humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering faculties as well as its deep analytical culture already provide a foundation to build and draw upon the School’s effort to engage with complex S&T policy issues.

As an academic institution, IITD also offers an intellectually independent and value-neutral location for engaging with multiple and diverse perspectives and its high profile also gives it convening power to bring together stakeholders as well as engage with policy makers.

Mr. Manoj Kumar, Head of Institutions, the Tata Trusts, said: “It is difficult to imagine an aspect of government, business or civil society that does not influence or is not affected by Public Policy. Rapid advances in Science and Technology are further accentuating the urgency for policy response and creating a demand for world-class professionals and researchers, trained in the discipline of Public Policy. Our partnership with IIT Delhi to catalyse Public Policy education and research is yet another milestone in the Trusts’ legacy of building epochal institutions in the country.”

Close interaction with a range of stakeholders is necessary for thoughtful and fruitful engagement with policy issues. The School’s proximity to government agencies, civil society organizations, philanthropies, think-tanks, and multilateral and bilateral agencies will enable meaningful interactions and also provide a rich environment for intellectual and practical engagement. The School also expects to develop research and training partnerships with other international centres of S&T policy research.

The founding Head of the School of Public Policy, Prof. Ambuj Sagar, said: “Science and technology increasingly occupy a central place in national economies, societies and even our personal lives. Accordingly, how to reap the wide-ranging potential benefits of S&T, while being cognizant of, and minimizing, potential negative consequences is a major public policy challenge of our times. The School of Public Policy aims to contribute to this through generation of new knowledge and ideas, training of students, scholars, practitioners, and engagement with the broader citizenry. The unique partnership with the Tata Trusts will be of enormous help by supporting a range of activities to underpin these objectives and help us move forward quickly. We also greatly appreciate their confidence in us by partnering at such an early stage of the School. ”

It is expected that the academic efforts of the school will not only be helpful to policymakers in government agencies but also other entities such as philanthropy, foundations and business enterprises as the impact and influence of Public Policy is broad based. The School of Public Policy will also play a crucial role in helping fulfill the Institute’s broader responsibility of enhancing citizen engagement and enriching public debate on scientific and technological advances that are shaping the world around us.
The School’s vision of positive societal impact through new knowledge, ideas, training, and outreach is very much aligned with IITD’s own history and trajectory and is also consonant with the Tata Trusts’ mission of betterment of society.