Founded in 2001, CISED’s initial focus was largely on creating an institutional space and putting together a group for conducting interdisciplinary research. Our task was facilitated enormously by the support provided by our host institution, the Institute for Social and Economic Change, and also by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.
During this period, we engaged in dialogue on issues at the interface of environment and development and fostered a debate on interdisciplinarity, besides initiating several collaborative projects and doing training activities. In recent years, we have moved on to doing a substantial amount of interdisciplinary research in environment-development issues and engaging in these issues with society in various ways. In the last year, we initiated policy research in the electricity sector in Karnataka jointly with the Indian Institute of Science and Prayas and our water sector work is also being expanded substantially.
Besides our ongoing contributions to the ISEC Ph.D programme, we also conduct 2-week programmes periodically to expose senior NGO personnel and others to recent research in natural resource management. We have also expanded our Visiting Fellow programme and hope to regularise our exchange of students and faculty with universities abroad, beginning with signing a memorandum with the University of Delaware.
CISED faculty has also engaged in debates around the draft National Electricity Policy, the Draft National Environment Policy and the revision of national watershed development programmes and guidelines. Our dialogue with the public continues through lectures, seminars, research outputs, press articles and our own Technical Report series. Strengthening outreach and making our internal collection of grey literature more accessible for visitors are key institutional objectives for the next few years.