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Ramit Debnath BTech, MTech, MPhil (Cantab)


I have a background in electrical engineering and sustainability sciences which shapes my perception of engineering as a tool for reducing inequality. 

My current research involves the identification of 'invisible' drivers of energy demand in urban poverty of the Global South to deliver energy justice. In doing so, I am exploring the human dimensions of energy use in slum rehabilitation and quantifying them to inform demand-side energy policies. The core research methodology is mixed-method; the qualitative findings are drawn through the lens of social practice theory and energy culture. The quantitative analysis is performed using structural equation modelling, energy simulations and machine-learning-based state-of-the-art techniques. The findings of this research are expected to have practical policy implications towards demand-side energy just policies for poverty alleviation. 

My research is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship under the grant number [OPP1144], the Trinity-MCSC scholarship (honorary) from the Trinity College, Cambridge and a Santander Mobility Grant from the Santander Group, Spain. 

To know more about my research, please see my publication links below. 

Research Interests

  • Engineering for sustainable development 
  • Energy Justice
  • Evidence-based policy analytics 
  • Computational social sciences
  • Poverty alleviation

Key skills: 

  • R-programming (data analytics)
  • Text mining and computation
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Mixed-method research design
  • Modelling, calibration and optimisation
  • Data-driven sustainability analytics
  • Statistical analysis using SPSS

Key Publications

COVID-19 related research

Debnath R., and Bardhan R., (2020) India nudges to contain COVID-19 pandemic: a reactive public policy analysis using machine-learning based topic modelling, ArXiv Preprints, (Under peer-review)

Research in the news!

Journals (Peer-reviewed)




  • Ramit Debnath (present): Evidence-based policy modelling for energy justice and poverty alleviation in Global South: A nested empirical and unsupervised machine-learning approach in slum rehabilitation, Doctoral thesis, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, UK. 
  • Ramit Debnath (2018): Comfort, energy use and well-being in informal settlement: Investigating a rebound phenomenon in slum rehabilitation housing in Mumbai using backcasting approach, Master of Philosophy thesis, Girton College, University of Cambridge, UK.
  • Ramit Debnath (2016): A conceptual framework for future-proofing rural kitchens in India using building physics and computational fluid dynamic analysis. Master of Technology thesis, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India.
  • Ramit Debnath (2014): Low-cost ultrasonic error detection for fault analysis using Arduino. Bachelor of Technology thesis, School of Engineering and Technology - SU, India. 

Invited talks

  • Policy modelling for energy justice in poverty in Global South, Brownbag Seminar, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK
  • Environmental protection and sustainability drivers, Panel Discussion, Michaelmas Gates Internal Symposium, November 2019, GSCR, University Centre. Cambridge
  • Energy Justice in Poverty: Modelling the invisible drivers in slum rehabilitation, Michaelmas Gates Internal Symposium, November 2019, GSCR, University Centre. Cambridge.
  • Invisible drivers of energy demand in poverty. Energy Policy Research Group Team Workshop, July -2019, Clare College, University of Cambridge
  • Low and Middle-Income Countries: remodelling appropriate resources for use in constrained settings: Panel Discussion, Global Scholars Symposium-2019, Rhodes House, University of Oxford (
  • Treasure hunt for energy sustainability in poverty: Empirical evidence from slum rehabilitation in India. CHUTalks, January  2019, Churchill College, University of Cambridge (link)


Working papers

  • Debnath, R., Darby, S., Bardhan, R., Mohaddes, K., & Sunikka-Blank, M. (2020, March 27). A nested computational social science approach for deep-narrative analysis in energy policy research. SocArXiv Preprints,
  • Debnath, R., Bardhan, R., Darby, S., Mohaddes, K., Coelho, A. C. V., Isa, A., & Sunikka-Blank, M. (2020, March 26). Energy justice, built environment and poverty: A deep-narrative analysis of energy cultures in Brazil, India and Nigeria for policy modelling. engrXiv Preprints,
  • Musa, O., & Debnath R., (2020). Social shaping of technology analysis for inclusive renewable planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: Case of Rwanda, engrXiv Preprints, 
  • Sunikka-Blank, M., Abde, D., Bardhan, R., & Debnath R., (2020). "We need ground space". Urban Densification and transitional housing in the Global South - Integrated Housing Development Programme (IHDP), Ethiopia, Frontiers of Architectural Research, Elsevier (Under review)


  • Architecture and Building Physics, Oxbridge Academic Programs, New York [50 hours]. CamPrep Experience Architecture Final Project: Daylight simulation and visualization for improved well-being in classrooms: A case study of a Peterhouse classroom (Project link:
  • Innovation & Leadership Program and Science & Technology Program, Looker Education Group, Shanghai [40 hours]. Topics covered: Innovation management; Sustainable development; Urban Science; Whole Energy Systems Analysis; Systems dynamics modelling and analysis; Building Performance Analysis: Daylight modelling and simulation
  • Research mentorship program, ViaX, Beijing [10 hours]
  • Policy analysis workshop, Evolution of energy policies in China since 1950, ViaX, Beijing [10 hours]

Professional memberships

Cambridge Philosophical Society; Cambridge University Energy Network (CUEN); Cambridge University Engineering Society (CUES); Energy@Cambridge; Energy Policy Research Group (EPRG); The Energy Institute (EI); Global Energy Nexus for Urban Settlement (GENUS); Commonwealth Scholars Alumni Association; Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP); Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Forum (CUSPE); CIBSE

Related roles

Reviewer: Energy Policy; Sustainable Cities and Society; Journal of Cleaner Production

Associate Editor: The Scholar Magazine, Gates- Cambridge Trust, Summer 2019

Secretary: Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange Forum (CUSPE)

Convenor: Global Energy Nexus for Urban Settlements (GENUS) & Cambridge University Energy Networks (CUEN)

Director (Delegate Affairs): Global Scholars Symposium - 2020 (cancelled due to COVID-19)