New Faculty: Soutrik Basu

Research Interest: Science and Public Policy, Innovation, Science Diplomacy, Sustainability, Knowledge Systems and Agriculture

While growing up at Hooghly, Soutrik Basu wanted to become a cricketer. Although he played cricket during his school days, taking up cricket as a profession was a distant dream. So after his schooling, he decided to do Bachelors in Agriculture – a familiar subject for him as he had seen his father working as a scientist in the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

“It was a spontaneous decision I took, simply to escape from studying the traditional streams like engineering and medicine. I soon realized that the discipline agriculture was an interface between natural sciences on one hand and social sciences on the other.”

After his graduation he went to Wageningen University, the Netherlands on a full time scholarship where he went on to explore such social science and natural science interface in a great detail. He wrote a Master’s thesis on South African land reforms policy for which he also spent 4-5 months in South Africa carrying out field research. This was his initiation to the issues of public policy.

The Science for Global Development programme, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO-WOTRO) offered him a fellowship to do a PhD on international S&T policy pertaining to agricultural innovation. This entailed regular travelling to various countries. Meanwhile, he also became a visiting research fellow at the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin Madison in the United States.

After completing his PhD, Soutrik joined the Institute of Development Studies, University of Calcutta in 2017 as Assistant Professor. He joined the newly formed School of Public Policy (SPP) of IIT Delhi in March 2019. He has developed an interdisciplinary research trajectory around understanding social, institutional and policy processes encompassing development and technological interventions to areas such as agriculture and rural development. He would like to take up issues such as transition to sustainable agriculture, responsible research and innovation and US-India agrarian knowledge cooperation as his future research endeavors.

Any interests outside the world of academics?
“Yes I love to travel and explore new cultures. I also read a lot of books, mostly non-fiction.”