Research Programs

The Mumbai Center develops, supports, and disseminates innovative and interdisciplinary research initiatives in partnership with faculty at Columbia University and regional experts and institutions.  The Center is committed to promoting President Lee C. Bollinger's vision of harnessing the strengths of academia and deepening its capacity to address key global challenges. Research activities at the Center are currently focused on five thematic areas that have deep global and regional significance, including (i) Water Access and Management (ii) Sustainable Urbanization (iii) Education, Culture, and Knowledge (iv) Health and Medicine and (v) Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. 

The President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) awards grants for faculty members to collaborate with Columbia’s network of global centers. The program aims to enable the development of new projects and scholarly collaborations across global centers, in order to increase global opportunities for research, teaching, and service. 

PGIF 2017

  • Generativity in Deprived Urban Contexts; Older Adults’ Experiences in Slums in Mumbai, Nairobi, and among Haitian Immigrants in New York
    Ruth Finkelstein, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Medical Center, Mailman School of Public Health and Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health

PGIF 2016

  • Storm Surge Risk to Mumbai: A Challenge to Sustainable Urbanization in India's Largest City
    Adam Sobel, Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

PGIF 2015

  • Collaborations for Developing the Science Base for Improved Air Quality in India
    Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development, The Earth Institute

  • Covering Religion: A Global Perspective
    Ari L. Goldman, Professor, Graduate School of Journalism and Yogi Trivedi, Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Journalism

  • Building Human Capital in Developing Countries: An Interdisciplinary Research Program with Adaptive Technologies
    Supreet Kaur Anand, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and School of International and Public Affairs 

  • Building a South Asian Public Health Network: A Collaboration of Columbia University's Global Center, Mumbai, India and the Mailman School of Public Health
    Cassie Landers, Assistant Professor of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health

  • Colonization and Decolonization in the Making of the Modern World: an Intensive Summer Course Taught in Rio de Janeiro and New Delhi
    Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and Professor of History

  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Longitudinal and Cross-­national Study of the Effects of Retirement on Health
    Ursula Staudinger,Robert N. Butler Professor for Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of Psychology; Director, Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center

  • Digital Justice: Public Discourse, Censorship, and the Technologies of Dissent
    Dennis Tenen, Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature

  • Advancing Sustainable Waste Management in Latin America and Disseminating the Results to Other Developing Regions
    Nickolas J. Themelis, Stanley Thompson Professor Emeritus; Director, Earth Engineering Center

PGIF 2014

  • Global Mental Health Research Consortium and Scholars Program
    Kathleen Pike,Professor of Psychology and Education in Psychiatry and Epidemiology at CUMC, College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health
  • Screenwriting and Creative Producing Workshops for Columbia Global Centers
    Ira Deutchman, Professor of Professional Practice, School of the Arts

PGIF 2013

  • Global Public Management
    William Eimicke, Professor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs, Executive Director, Picker Center of Executive Education, Brian Keith Perkins Senior Lecturer and Director, Urban Education Leadership Program, Teachers College and Michael Sparer, Professor of Health Policy and Management

  • Global Leadership Matrix (GLeaM) Project
    Sheena Iyengar, S.T. Lee Professor of Business, Research Director at the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business

  • Children’s Global Oral Health Initiative (CGOHI)
    Shantanu Lal, Associate Professor of Dental Medicine, Director, Predoctoral Program in Pediatric Dentistry 

  • Ifriqiyya: The Indian Ocean and Trans‐African Slavery Networks
    Mahmood Mamdani,Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and Professor of Anthropology

  • Global Mental Health Research Consortium and Scholars Program
    Kathleen Pike, Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology

  • The Columbia Global Humanities Project
    Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies

  • Global Migration Network
    Julien Teitler, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Sandro Galea, Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor of Epidemiology

  • Regional Foodshed Resilience: An Interdisciplinary and International Practicum
    Nicola Twilley, Director, Studio-X NY

Supported by the Ikea Foundation, the Center undertook two research projects led by Nirupam Bajpai targeting district level strategy planning and management of health and education service delivery.

The Model District Health Project aimed to support the Millennium Development Goals 1, 4 and 5 for improving the nutrition status of women and children and reducing maternal and child mortality by 2015. It was focused on bridging the gap between policy and practice by delineating the reasons why services are not reaching the population, and then supporting the government to strengthen systems and piloting innovations to resolve identified bottlenecks.

The Model Districts Education Project (MDEP) | Access to Achievement was a collaborative, five-year demonstration project from 2013-17 with the Center for Sustainable Development of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The project worked with the Government of India and key education stakeholders in selected rural districts of Morigaon in Assam and Medak in Telangana. It used current scientific evidence and best professional practices to develop, recommend, monitor, and evaluate a high quality, cost-effective, transferable and scalable model of primary education. Selected districts will serve as regional pilots for scaling up improvements.

Related News

December 12, 2017

Preparing for Storm Surge in New York and Mumbai

When a team of researchers from Columbia University set out in January 2017 to study the risk of cyclones to the city of Mumbai, the likelihood of the city experiencing a phenomenon that had never occurred seemed remote. When their lead researcher returned in December 2017, Cyclone Ockhi had narrowly passed the city’s coastline, increasing the significance of their work. With a view to bringing research on urban climactic hazards into the public domain, the Center hosted a public lecture on December 12, 2017 by Dr. Adam Sobel.

January 12, 2017

Cyclones, Storm Surges, and Climate Risks to Mumbai

Extreme climate events are on the rise globally, raising concerns about the future of coastal cities. Enabling cities to become resilient to climate-induced changes has emerged as a priority in local and global agendas. As part of an ongoing initiative to build knowledge on Urban Climate Resilience, the Center organized a round-table discussion, bringing together scientists and urban experts, to assess the potential risks of a catastrophic flood in Mumbai due to a tropical cyclone-driven storm surge.