ICTI Researchers – Sandeep Kureekkal John and Robin Kattady have been selected for Commonwealth Scholarships, considered among the most prestigious awards in the world for international study and professional development. Robin will be attending MSc Renewable Energy Systems at Loughborough University and Sandeep will be pursuing MSc Public Health at the University of West of England.

Robin and Sandeep have been awarded the United Kingdom Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan Scholarship, which will cover all fees, to-and-fro travel, visa expenses and also monthly stipend, worth Rs 3 million, during the 12 months’ Masters programme and research to be undertaken in the United Kingdom from September 2015.

IMG_4226Robin Kattady graduated with BTech in Mechanical Engineering in 2014. Joining the Research Scholars Programme at ICTI his research focuses on promoting and nurturing Women’s Renewable Energy Cooperatives in un-electrified villages in India by providing them required assistance, resources and capacity building. “Many rural women spend up to three hours a day gathering firewood and carrying heavy loads which can be used for other productive and economic activities. To address both gender inequalities and empower women, it is vital to ensure that women have equal opportunities to energy-related jobs and training,” says Robin. Supporting Women’s Renewable Energy Co-operatives is an effective way of employment generation for rural and urban poor women through micro energy-entrepreneurship, providing electricity to off-grid rural households and businesses, and providing better livelihood, and educational opportunities for children. Robin is also passionate about teaching and has developed an online energy certification programme training students from India and Central African Countries. He is presently packing his bags for an assignment in Odisha state to electrify an off-grid village in Kandhamal district prior to leaving for Loughborough in September.

IMG_4246Sandeep Kureekkal John holds BTech in Biotechnology of 2014 batch. His research interest in public health enterprises motivated him to pursue the Research Scholars Programme at ICTI. The growth of public health in India has been very slow due to low public expenditure on health. Rural-urban differences in health resources are also glaring, with 80% of doctors, 75% of dispensaries and 60% of hospitals situated in urban areas. “However, many young inventers and entrepreneurs are already working to change the scenario. With path breaking concepts and constant innovation, they have created thriving healthcare enterprises from the ground up. Their innovations and enterprises help improve the delivery of healthcare services in rural areas” says Sandeep. His work at ICTI promotes healthcare inventions and start-ups by building innovation consortiums of Social Entrepreneurs, NGOs and Public Health Organisations with the objective to improve primary healthcare and diagnostic centres, create mobile clinics, enhance medical insurance, sanitation, health promotion and disease management. Sandeep also coordinates ICTI’s Changemakers Initiative facilitating students from engineering colleges across India to provide affordable technologies to NGOs as part of their academic projects.

“Having two Commonwealth Scholars from ICTI this year – is very exciting” says Aaron George, Director- ICTI and former Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Cambridge. “It’s a recognition for the high quality socially relevant research happening at ICTI and the contributions our researchers are able to make in changing lives of people.”

ICTI’s Research Scholars Programme is a post-bachelor programme designed to provide research training opportunities for highly talented candidates. The research experience increases their competitiveness and helps them gain admissions and scholarships for Masters and PhD programmes in world’s best universities. The programme is designed for candidates with background in engineering or science. This programme aims to develop the next generation of research leaders and innovators.

International Center for Technological Innovations (ICTI) is a not-for-profit Open Innovation Centre promoting consortium research, technology development and dissemination in emerging countries. ICTI works in partnership with stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors in the emerging economies to make technological innovations commercially successful for the benefit of nation building, through capacity enhancement, technology transfer initiatives, new product development and enterprise building to create opportunities for inclusive growth, generate jobs and poverty reduction.

The Commonwealth Scholarships in the United Kingdom program is funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, enabling students from Commonwealth countries to pursue advanced academic study in the UK.