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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Special PEER-PIRE Cycle (June 2012 Deadline)

NSF-PIRE collaboration: developing low-carbon cities in India: field research on water-energy-carbon baselines and low-carbon strategies in Indian cities

PI:  Bharani Emani Kumar, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and Rakesh Yadav, Resource Optimization Initiative (ROI)
U.S. Partner: Anu Ramaswami, University of Minnesota
Project Dates: January 2013 - June 2016

Project Overview 

The overall goal of this project is to conduct innovative, interdisciplinary research that facilitates the development of low-carbon cities in India through mitigating greenhouse gas emissions while also offering local water efficiency benefits; reducing waste, pollution, and climate vulnerability; and promoting governance for sustainable development. In alignment with several key USAID priorities in the country, this project addresses climate change, renewable/ sustainable energy interventions, water sustainability, climate risks, and environmental engineering solutions in cities in India.

India PIRE Photo 1
Students preparing a material flow diagram (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

India PIRE Photo 2
ROI and Yale students being trained at Mysore (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

The project will apply an interdisciplinary framework to integrate urban infrastructure engineering, industrial symbiosis, urban planning, environmental/climate sciences, social sciences, and public policy. Research opportunities will be offered to about 50 students from the United States (with separate funding from the National Science Foundation) and 50 students from India drawn from diverse disciplines, which should contribute to training the next generation of leaders in the two nations. The hope is to build capacity among academic institutions in India for innovative interdisciplinary research and education on sustainable cities and build capacity among nongovernmental organizations to translate research insights to community-based action for sustainability.

Major Project Results

Highlights of the PEER-PIRE Project
  1. Under the guidance of UMN (Prof. Anu Ramaswamy) and Yale University (Prof. Marian Chertow), conducted research surveys on industrial symbiosis in Mysore & Coimbatore cities of Karnataka & Tamil Nadu states, respectively.
  2. Drafted reports containing data analysis, observation, documentation of existing & potential symbiosis in Mysore and Coimbatore that are being explored further by the PIRE workgroup.
  3. Conducted workshop titled “Industrial Symbiosis: How to Conduct Industrial Symbiosis Research in India?” on 9th Jan 2015 at Coimbatore with the 110 student participants (45 males & 50 females).
  4. Developed one day training program on Industrial Symbiosis focusing on Conducting Industrial Symbiosis in India.
  5. Sponsored two TERI students – Ms. Sumi Biswas & Ms. Richa Sharma to participate in the Summer School organized at IIT Kanpur, India.
  6. Recruited 11 students (nine females and two males) from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE) to conduct field research in Mysore and one female project lead and four students from Park College of Engineering to conduct field research in Coimbatore.
  7. Trained the above 15 students on conducting industrial surveys who are now well placed in their professional careers.
  8. Developed a Database of Industrial Symbiosis Case Studies in India, US, and China for further research & comparisons.
  9. In relation to Govt. of India’s mandate on CSR activities relating to public-private partnerships for sustainable development, drafted a case study (PepsiCo) on the collaborative approach of CSR in achieving sustainability.
  10. Participated in several meetings with various government officials of Mysore and Coimbatore districts for collection of necessary data.
  11. Drafted a project specific dedicated website with an objective to share the overall project details through web in a summarized format providing project overview & details of the activities from the initiation of the project to the end of the project.
Impact of PEER-PIRE Project
  1. Educational Impact: Workshop on Industrial Symbiosis was participated by 110 student participants (45 males & 50 females) of BE in Environmental Engineering from Park College of Engineering while for Summer School at IIT Kanpur two students from TERI represented ROI.
  2. Research Impact: Industrial surveys in Mysore & Coimbatore indicated the existence of symbiotic relationships saving good amount of resources; research also found that there is still potential to explore symbiotic relationships in future.

India PIRE Photo 3
U.S. & Indian researchers at the Triveni Engineering offices (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

India PIRE Photo 4 
U.S. & Indian researchers doing industry survey work (Photo courtesy Dr. Yadav).

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