A Research Partnership between the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Yale University

Lead Research Organisation: University of London
Department Name: School of Advanced Study


The School of Advanced Study, University of London has formed a long-term partnership with Yale University and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (that country's premier scholarly institution) to promote discussion, debate and joint research activities involving scholars at the three institutions and in their networks -- and to disseminate the results of those efforts. There is a great need for this. A few teams of leading researchers from the three countries, and the early formative activities by the partnership, have established that such collaborations hold great promise. But Indian scholars have far too little opportunity to engage in depth with academics and insights from leading Western research centres, and scholars in the West are only beginning to recognise the benefits to their own work which interactions with India's formidable research community offer.
Many of India's best researchers have found it difficult or impossible to gain adequate access to case studies, perspectives, methods and other ideas from the West (including Western analyses of other developing nations), so that they have been cut off from insights that emerge from comparative work in and on countries other than India. Scholars in the West have similarly lacked exposure to evidence and analyses from India and to Indian perspectives on important themes -- which can enrich their work. A compelling example of this sort of enrichment can be found in a recent book by two immensely distinguished political analysts/theorists from the U.S. and an eminent Indian colleague -- which provides a major contribution to democratic theory and comparative law/constitutionalism. This tripartite partnership seeks to address these problems, and to provide scholars in all three countries with major new opportunities in this vein.
The partnership will pursue these goals by organising international conferences on broad, compelling themes each June at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study -- which is located in the Vicreregal Lodge in Shimla, the former summer capital of British India in the Himalayas. The conference in June 2012 will focus on 'Law and Democracy', and in June 2013, the conference will consider 'Social, Cultural and Historical Persectives on Cities'. In subsequent years, conferences will address themes drawn from the study of philosophy, history, identities, the environment, etc. Teams of scholars from London, Yale and their networks will travel to these conferences, and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study -- which has immense prestige, resources and thus covening power -- will bring 15 to 20 leading Indian researchers to Shimla. All three partner insitutions will include both eminent senior researchers and promising young scholars. Participants will also include people from formidable research centres -- and people who pay close attention to research -- in the Indian government, civil society organisations and the private sector.
To ensure that ideas which emerge at these annual conferences are then explored more thoroughly, the partnership will also bring together scholars from the three institutions (and their networks) for short consultations in London or India -- to develop their ideas for further research, and to prepare detailed grant proposals.
To provide researchers and members of the general public with access to the ideas that are generated by the partnership, the texts of all papers presented at each conference will be available on 'open access' on the three partners' websites. Those ideas will also be disseminated through public lectures, seminars and concise, intelligible contributions to serious media outlets. Each conference will also yield an edited book containing conference papers -- and some papers (or distillations of multiple papers) will also appear as articles in refereed journals.

Planned Impact

For details, see the attachment on 'Pathways to Impact', but here is a summary.
We expect to have a substantial impact among academics in India, Britain and the U.S. (See the 'Academic Beneficiaries' section of this application.) We intend to provide academics in the three countries with opportunities to interact in detailed discussions of important themes, and to develop and then engage in joint research projects. We will also reach academics who do not directly participate in our activities by making conference papers available on 'open access' on our three websites, and through public lectures and workshops in the three countries. We will publish an edited volume of papers from each annual conference. Papers from conferences (or distillations of material from multiple papers) will be published in refereed journals.
We also expect to reach 'users' and audiences beyond academe. In India, many institutions and people outside the universitities have an interest in the collaborative research activities which we will organise, support and publicise. Within the government, research teams operate within the Prime Minister's Office, the Planning Commission, Parliament and government ministries. The Indian Insitute of Advanced Study is very well connected there, and the U.K. principal investigator has worked closely with the Prime Minister's Office (which will send a senior official to our June 2012 conference), the Planning Commission and several ministries. He has also discussed this partnership in detail with the very supportive Secretary (senior civil servant) in India's Ministry of Culture. There is also interest from research teams in several formidable civil society organisations, policy-oriented 'think tanks', and international development agencies (researchers from all of which participated in our June 2011 conference, and will be join in future annual conferences) and some private companies --including researchers in information technology firms, with which the U.K. principal investigator has worked in the past. We have also generated interest at the Indian Council for Historical Research, India's National Archives, and at the Economic and Political Weekly -- a unique Indian publication which makes high quality research in diverse disciplines available to a huge Indian and international audience.
In Britain, there is clear interest in the work of our partnership at the British Library, at the British Association of South Asian Studies, among those involved in the UKIERI programme, and in the U.K. Higher Education International Office whose Director thas provided helpful advice. In the U.S., our work is of interest to the Asia Society, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the (American) Association for Asian Studies. The coordinator of our Yale team is the President of that Association.
We have a solid track record at achieving 'impact' beyond academe, as the 'Pathways to Impact' attachment explains in detail.
We also intend to offer public lectures for non-specialist audiences in the three countries; and to produce concise, intelligible articles summarising important findings for members of the reading public in journals such as the Economic and Political Weekly in India, The Guardian and the International Herald Tribune. The U.K. principal investigator and other participants have been frequent contributors to these publications.
We expect to make an impact on the professional skills of participants in the project, and on actors in governments, civil society and international development agencies (listed in 'Pathways to Impact') who affect public policy, legal processes, the democratic process, and the quality of life more generally. Conference topics have been chosen because they enable us to bring insights from the humanities to bear on 'real world' problems, and on influential people who tackle them.
Description Apart from collaborations that we have promoted between individuals, major conferences have been held on (a) changes in India's caste system and in social dynamics, (b) law and democracy, (c) India's history in the 20th century -- and a further conference is planned on Indian political philosophy/
Exploitation Route The papers from these conferences open up new avenues for research, and research projects planned by participants in this programme will yield further studies.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Government, Democracy and Justice

Description The aim of this project is to promote research collaboration between scholars from Britain, India and Yale University. Several large conference have been held on major themes, and numerous smaller collaborations have developed. A book on one set of collaborations will appear shortly. Full details will be provided after the project concludes in early 2015.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

Description Papers from a conference in India -- organised by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Yale University and the Indian Institute of Advanced Study -- are being published as a forthcoming book on urban dilemmas in India. Several of the papers have been closely read by policy makers in several states in the Indian federal system and in several Indian municipalities.
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Policy makers in several Indian state governments and numerous Indian municipalities have closely read a number of the paper on urban issues from a recent conference organized by this research partnership. We are told that they will influence approaches to urban governance in those various state and municipal governments.